User:Atallent/HUMN 4472 Journal

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August 25, 2019: Initial Idea of Science Fiction

I see science fiction as a genre that explores the possibilities of what is to come or could become possible. Creators of work like this use imaginative thinking to conjure up ideas of advancements in technology, humanity, and the world itself in the future as it compares to the state of theirs at that time.

The genre of science fiction has been exposed to us through various movies, television shows, and novels. My most recent encounter was through the film, A Trip to the Moon, by Georges Méliès. This story depicts space exploration which is something that did not become possible until many decades and technological advancements later.

Since they are ideas based off science, a majority of these fantasy worlds are recognized as having the ability to come to fruition, but they can also contain elements that are not as accepted such as the idea of aliens, powers, etc. Though the technology dealing with the many space related storylines might be far off, it is not necessarily impossible which makes stories like these intriguing and at times, a cautionary tale.

August 25, 2019: Learning About Science Fiction

The Truth About Science Fiction offered much insight into the history and noticeable advancements that have occurred as a result of science fiction works that I had not known before. Wireless communication, lie detectors, aviation, televisions, robots, and tanks were all ideas created in the minds of these early writers that were then transformed into their physical forms that have continued to advance and grow into these things that people use on a daily basis.

The documentary also addresses the patent lawsuit that H.G. Wells entered in to have the recognition as the inventor of the tank. I thought this was an interesting point about the ideas that are created in science fiction. Though these writers are innovators of change and advancement, the development of these life changing technologies are credited elsewhere. Ursula Le Guin discusses this concept in her introduction from which I learned that the “idea” contained in science fiction work cannot be compared to that of a scientist’s incomparable completion of it.[1]

Through Philip K. Dick’s definition of science fiction, I learned that this genre can also be set in the present as an alternate-world and is not solely exclusive to futuristic societies that differ from ours.[2] He sites the ‘’shock of dysrecognition” as the essence of science fiction, but that it must also be recognized as possible for it not to be confused with fantasy.[3] Science fiction is based on imagination and creativity, but it does contain limitations to those that are accepted within the bounds of this genre.

September 9, 2019: Passage of Time

John Cheever’s "The Swimmer" is not the typical science fiction story that I am accustomed to seeing. There is this element to the story that does not align with what could actually be possible, but is something that could be more logically explained by acknowledging that Neddy’s interpretation of events is unreliable. This element that I am speaking of is the passage of time as we encounter it in the story which has Neddy traveling from pool to pool on the “Lucinda River” during the span of one midsummer afternoon.

When reading through the story, it is natural to brush off some of the initial signs that something is off like Neddy does at first, but when these irregularities advance near the midpoint of the story, one cannot help but to wonder what has happened. Neddy clearly has no recollection of the “misfortunes” Mrs. Halloran speaks about, Eric’s operation, or going “broke” and asking for a loan from Grace,[4] but according to those around him, all of these events have happened.

It was questioned if he is losing his memory,[5] but as the reader can tell, some time has passed from the initial midsummer day he had set out on. His surroundings gradually got colder and showed signs of autumn, he lost weight and began to get weaker pool after pool. Neddy begins to forget the concept of time as it relates to the memories he has and wonders if things were “last week, last month, last year.” [6]


Septemper 9, 2019:


  1. Le Guin, Ursula K.; Attebery, Brian (1993). The Norton Book of Science Fiction: North American Science Fiction, 1960-1990. W.W. Norton & Company. p. 25.
  2. Dick, Philip K. (1981). "My Definition of Science Fiction": 99.
  3. Dick, Philip K. (1981). "My Definition of Science Fiction": 99–100.
  4. Cheever, John (1964). "The Swimmer" (PDF). pp. 733–735.
  5. Cheever, John (1964). "The Swimmer" (PDF). p. 734.
  6. Cheever, John (1964). "The Swimmer" (PDF). p. 736.