User:Christina.moore2/HUMN 4472 Journal

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August 16, 2019: Science Fiction

Science Fiction takes the ideas of new technology and advancement in science, as well as in civilization, to make a new and futuristic world come to life. The genre uses things like time travel, space exploration, robots, and advanced civilizations to create an idea of what life might be like in the future. For example, a Science Fiction story might show the hero traveling back to a time that, in reality is current but, seems distant, to fix a problem that has caused some issue in the future. The reasoning for a story like this would be to show there are things that need fixing now to prevent a disaster in the future as well as the steps that can be taken to improve future civilization.

August 23, 2019: Science Fiction

The genre of Science Fiction[1] is one that is difficult to accurately define. That being said, one definition of the genre comes from Fred Saberhagen in the Encyclopedia Britannica[2] 1st edition in which he stated that Science Fiction is a "genre developed in the 20th century, dealing with scientific discovery or development that, whether set in the future, or the fictitious present, or in the putative past, is superior to or simply other than that known to exist." Ursula K. Le Guin[3] questioned in her introduction to The Norton Book of Science Fiction whether or not "the non-definability of Science Fiction" is "perhaps an essential quality of it?" Perhaps she was on to something with this question. It certainly seems as though a main theme throughout the genre involves ideas that seem so far from present that they become otherworldly to those reading or watching them, but are actually not that unbelievable. Science fiction uses fears and problems of the present and creates solutions that may not exist yet. For example, in Le Guin's detailed introduction she mentions Science Fiction in the 1960's, and how it explored "failures, limits, ends, and final things."[4] While many works throughout the genre mention things like time travel, robots, and advanced technologies, many works also mention things that non formulaic, such as alternate history, psychology, and parallel worlds. James Gunn[5] mentioned in his article Toward a Definition of Science Fiction that "realistic questions are essential for full understanding and enjoyment" of the genre. So, while certain things within Science Fiction may seem outlandish it is important to really think about them because they not be as crazy as they seem. The documentary The Truth about Science Fiction[6] is a great place to really understand the previous point. The documentary talks a lot about the predictions in Science Fiction works that ended up coming true. For example, the documentary mentions how H.G. Wells[7] wrote about air warfare, atomic bombs, and watch telephones before any of those things actually existed. They seemed scary and crazy at the time, but it was not long before they became fact instead of fiction.

@Christina.moore2: Hello! I found your journal to be very insightful. As you have mentioned, science fiction has been used to predict the future and that is something I never knew about science fiction. Even from your first journal it seems like you had a pretty good feel of what science fiction was. Has the topic been something that has always peeked your interest or do you just know it from seeing it over the years?--Daisja30 (talk) 22:17, 31 August 2019 (EDT)

@Daija30: Hi! Thank you. I have always found Science Fiction interesting, but I have also studied it thoroughly in a few other classes! Christina.moore2 (talk) 15:42, 6 September 2019 (EDT)

@Christina.moore2: I too found that defining science fiction was hard. It is as though there is no real answer to the question of what it is in direct terms. I appreciate your outside sources great use of them especially at helping others to understand why it is so hard to accurately place a label on this genre. However it does seem like you have more hands on knowledge of the genre them myself. I was never one to get into science fiction other than the modern day super hero movies some like to categorize as science fiction even though they aren't. --D.Sams96 (talk) 21:11, 6 September 2019 (EDT)

September 6, 2019

Science Fiction is known to have some mind bending themes, and the short story "The Swimmer", written by John Cheever is one that certainly follows that theme. In the story, a man named Neddy decides to swim home from a party using neighborhood pools. As the story progresses, the weather begins to change from sunny and happy to rainy, as well as the condition of the pools. At first, the pools are warm and the neighbors are inviting, but eventually the pools become cold or just dried up entirely. In the article "Cheever's dark knight of the soul: The failed quest of Neddy..." written by Hal Blythe and Charlie Sweet, Blythe connects Neddy's journey to that of quest. It definently seems as though Cheever could have been making this connection. He says Neddy was "making his way home by an uncommon route", which "gave him the feeling that he was a pilgrim, an explorer, a man with a destiny".[8] Neddy is going through trials involving the stormy weather and somewhat hostile neighbors. He is clearly growing weaker as the story progressing, and by the end he was "so stupefied with exhaustion that his triumph seemed vague".[9] Even though he does complete his quest, it still seems as though he failed when he reaches his home and finds it empty. Perhaps the story is meant to say that even when things seem perfect it does not always mean they are. Neddy seems to have a very nice life, but it seems as though it has all fallen apart long ago, and he is simply living in denial of it.

@Christina.moore2 Good observation of the story. I will agree that it seems to be saying that when things may seem perfect but they aren't in reality. Good job pointing that out. Tami Marie 9:58 September 6, 2019

@Christina.moore2: Neddy wants to give off the appearance that everything is fine, but just as the audience comes to find out, appearances can only hold up for so long before one is faced with the reality of the situation that they put themselves in. Atallent (talk) 10:12, 9 September 2019 (EDT)

September, 6 2019

I see both the film La Jetée[10] and the short story "The Swimmer"[11] dealing with ontology and the issue of time. The protagonists in both stories long to live in the past. For Neddy in "The Swimmer", he is living in his memories of the past, while staying in a constant state of denial for the present. For the protagonist in La Jetée, he is prisoner of World War 3 who is being experimented on for time travel. He repeatedly travels back in time to start a relationship with a woman he once saw. In his article "The Memory of the Image in Chris Marker's La Jetée"[12], Patrick French says the film "draws on the enigmatic force of the scenario of the 'second death'". The protagonist witnesses a man dying in the very beginning, and by the end of the story it is revealed that the man he saw was himself. Similarly, in "The Swimmer" it is revealed that Neddy's family has fallen apart or, symbolically speaking, has died. in the end, he comes out of his state of denial long enough to live through that metaphorical death all over again.

@Christina.moore2: I like how you connected Neddy and the protagonist in La Jetée with the theme of death. They both are in a way going through a grieving period. There is denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and ultimately acceptance in both of the works. Neddy is in denial that he has lost his family, wealth, and friends. He bargains with his ex friends for money possibly to get his family and living situation back again. His depression leads him to drink more heavily. When he is sober he is angry with everyone else instead of himself. In the end it concludes that he has to accept his reality. His family, home, wealth, friends are all gone because he has caused the deaths of everything he had once had. The protagonist is in denial that he is in a realm of reality when he is under the influence of the drugs forced into his system. He is angry when he cannot get enough time with the woman of his dreams. He bargains for his freedom but is denied. He is depressed because he is a captive. Ultimately he must accept that his death is inevitable. MarinChristina (talk) 20:29, 7 September 2019 (EDT)


  1. "Science fiction", Wikipedia, 2019-08-22, retrieved 2019-08-23
  2. "Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.", Wikipedia, 2019-03-14, retrieved 2019-08-23
  3. "Ursula K. Le Guin", Wikipedia, 2019-08-23, retrieved 2019-08-23
  4. "Meet Google Drive – One place for all your files". Retrieved 2019-08-23.
  5. "James Gunn", Wikipedia, 2019-08-05, retrieved 2019-08-23
  6. The Truth About Science Fiction (Documentary), retrieved 2019-08-23
  7. "H. G. Wells", Wikipedia, 2019-08-21, retrieved 2019-08-23