Prelude to Discussion Jon Fortin Becky Adams Lisa Potter Eric Rabkin Ross Smith Genesis Methodology Some Fascinating Finds TIME Cover Research Mag Cover Test Drive You Witty Participation
The GEP Hypothesis Cultural creations evolve as do biological organisms, that is, as parts of complex adaptive systems. Complex Adaptive System The whole adapts to the parts, and the parts adapt to the whole.
History of the GEP January 1998 Founders: Eric Rabkin and Carl Simon Interdisciplinary Collaborative Genesis
Complex Adaptive Systems cont’d A complex adaptive system is one in which the diverse parts adapt to the whole and the whole adapts to the diverse parts. Very Complex Adaptive System Somewhat Complex Adaptive System Simple Adaptive System Nonadaptive System Biosphere Thermostat Radio Meat Grinder
It is adequately complex It is demotic Students like to read it We have a sensible operational definition: (beginning April, 1926, with Amazing) fiction that appeared in American SF magazines We have excellent contextual data, such as: –precise dating –wide variations in format –observable advertising content –letters to the editor –letters from the editor –Astounding’s “Analytical Laboratory” –circulation figures Why Choose Science Fiction?
Problems With Coding Gen.1  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.  And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. ALICE was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, "and what is the use of a book," thought Alice, "without pictures or conversation ?” Preposition v. noun? The same third word? World building?Works published in two parts? Water imagery? Characters with purely internal motivation? Who talk to themselves? How do we address these problems with coding?
Methodology Becky Adams
Dialectical Database Design Traditionally, you: –Choose your output (e.g., invoices). –Select the fields and values you need. –Build your database once and for all. But we: –Build a provisional database. –Test plausible fields and values. –Explore possible outputs. –Repeat these steps indefinitely.
Body Count Methodology
Genre Genre Content -The element in the story that would make most readers recognize the story as Science Fiction and without which the story might not be generally considered to be science fiction by ordinary readers. Genre Form -The basic form, or skeleton, on which the story is built. Methodology
ICR, ICA Inter-Coder Reliability -Agreement between researchers on codings -Pair discussion Inter-Coder Accuracy -Correctly identifying and agreeing on codings -Group discussion Methodology
Some Fascinating Finds Lisa Potter
“The Medical Lessons of Science Fiction”
SF Stories by Dominant Science Using GEP tacfile of 12/18/00N% of 1836 % of 1094 Expected random distribution of 1,836 total unique texts Expected random distribution of 1,094 science- designated unique texts Unique stories, dominant science = pedagogy Unique stories, dominant science = physics Unique stories, dominant science = medicine (p<0.0001)
Reprinted Medicine Stories Reprinted Stories, dominant science = medicine# of Reprints “Flowers for Algernon” (Keyes, 1959)19 “Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand” (McIntyre, 1973)17 “The Planners” (Wilhelm, 1968)8 “The Last Flight of Dr. Ain” (Tiptree, 1969)7 “The Miracle of the Broom Closet” (Norbert, 1952)2 In each story, note both the role of the doctor and the outcome.
Fascinating Finds: The Medical Lessons of Science Fiction WHY?
Fascinating Finds: The Medical Lessons of Science Fiction How have these hypotheses held up?
Discussed in “The Exaggerated Reports of the Death of Science Fiction” Judith Berman, “Science Fiction Without the Future” May Science fiction authors are getting older. 2.Science fiction is now nostalgic. 3.Science fiction now portrays technology in a negative light. The Future of SF
Berman Hypothesis #1 Science fiction writers are getting older. The Future of SF
Average Author Age at Publication (1940 – 1997) The Future of SF
Berman Hypothesis #2 Science fiction is now nostalgic. The Future of SF
Percentage of Stories Set in the Past The Future of SF
Berman Hypothesis #3 Science fiction now portrays technology in a negative light. The Future of SF
Comparison of Texts Based on Setting Time, Outcome, and Technology Content The Future of SF
“Bad” Outcomes and Technology The Future of SF
Why has the science fiction magazine declined? The Future of SF
Where SF May Be Found…
Magazine Covers A New Frontier for the GEP GEP: Magazine Covers (GEPMC) TIME Covers Project
TIME Magazine June 9, 2000
Further work: TIME Magazine
Pulp Magazine Covers Relationship to short fiction Editorial control “Interest grabbers” Same methods, new medium Why Study Them?
Pulp Magazine Covers Concrete Data: Ready to Capture - Cover information - Setting - Agents Abstract Data: A Work in Progress - Initial impressions, Optimism vs. Pessimism - Sexism? Racism? Militarism? The State of the Instrument What would you investigate?