User:Daisja30/HUMN 4472 Journal

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August 20, 2019: Science Fiction: Journal 1

When I think of Science Fiction, off the top of my head it is defined as science that is made up. Science fiction consist of ideas and conspiracies that have not been thoroughly proven by the science committee. It is like mythical ideas or phenomenon's that have been told from one generation to the next, but there is not sufficient evidence to prove it is real. For example, aliens are science fiction. This is because media has portrayed the idea of non-earthly lifeforms as giant headed, green beings that fly around in UFO's. Surely there can be life on other planets, but research has not proven the common images we see. Rather, it is just a plant of some sort. Another example would be big foot. There is no real evidence that this being exist either. Yet, there are movies about big foot, people cosplay as big foot, and some even tries to catch the beast. Therefore, based on my own knowledge science fiction are the "what if" stories that a large number of people seem to believe true.

@Daisja30: First off I like your response. I agree with some of what you are saying. However, because it is a conspiracy does not mean it's not true. A lot of people throw that term around to get people to believe the official narrative.The official narrative on a certain topic or issue is not always right. Often times than not, the official narrative is a form of deception. For instance, it is reasonable to think that aliens are not real. But if you take into account that we can only perceive visible light on the electromagnetic spectrum then it is certainly possible that the foreign life forms are operating out of the visible light spectrum. In other words, there are on a different frequency. If you look at it from this perspective then these rare occurrences and witness accounts does not seem too far off. —AmaniSensei (talk)
@AmaniSensei: I agree that all official narratives can be biased, however without sufficient evidence it can be hard to believe a story coming from just a small amount of people who believe the story to be true.--Daisja30 (talk) 19:12, 8 September 2019 (EDT)

August 24, 2019: Science Fiction Research: Journal 2

Researching about science fiction, I have realized that it is much deeper than what I thought it was. I have learned a lot about the subject, but three specific aspects I have learned is that science fiction can be broken down into two types, science fiction stories have predicted the future, and that inventors have actually used science fiction as a spark for their inventions.

In the article I found defining science fiction, it refers to science fiction in two forms: hard science fiction and soft science fiction. Hard Science fiction strictly follows scientific facts and principles.[1] The second type is soft science fiction. Soft science fiction focuses on social science. It is those stories that refer to the consequences of human behavior and/or interactions. As mentioned in the article, a great example of this would be the movie Wall-E.[1]

Hard science fiction is the type of science fiction I was not fully aware of. Hard science fiction is typically written by authors with some type of knowledge in science, therefore making predictions about the future of science. In the YouTube video "The Truth About Science Fiction (Documentary)", it mentions how stories like Ralph 124C 41+ by Hugo Gernsback made remarkable predictions.[2] Gernsback predicted things like vending machines and jukeboxes. Jules Verne's created stories of men flying weightlessly years before man walked on the moon.

Jules Verne and H.G. Wells are considered the father's of science fiction, and many of their works had impacts on scientific inventions that we know today. In Wells' novel The World Set Free he explains the idea of the atomic bomb.[2] This sparked an interest in scientist that work in chemical weaponry to actually discover how to create atomic bombs. Another example is the novel The Cybernetic Brain by Raymond F. Jones.[2] His novel featured the first cyborg, which sparked inventions in cybernetic prosthetics.

This research has truly opened up my mind about the world of science fiction. Not only can it be stories of monsters and life on different universes, but it can also be stories of scientific and technological advancements that we may see in our future.

@Daisja30: I'm curious on your ideas and thoughts on predictions. Do you really believed that Gernsback predicted the future? Or do you believe that he created it? I'm under the assumption that everything is not what it always appears to be. On the surface, it may look like Gernsback is a genius. Although, I'm pretty sure he was. Are you really a genius if you created the future? I don't think you are. Perhaps, he was smart enough to notice this. Some would say you would have to be genius to recognize this, and I would not disagree. However,this begs the question, can we also predict/create our future? Science fiction may not be as silly as it may seems. —AmaniSensei (talk)
@AmaniSensei: I understand what you are saying, but I don't think these authors actually create the future. I use the word "predict" because they were, and still are, coming up with concepts and technology that had not yet existed and creating stories based off a world with those things.--Daisja30 (talk) 19:23, 8 September 2019 (EDT)
@Daisja30: I love the Movie Wall-E I feel that this is a great example because for some reason ( I guess because it is a Disney/kids movie) I did not see it in a SyFi light. After doing out reading for this lesson I guess I can now see the movie in that light because it causes me to think of the "what if" which is one of the goals in SyFi. Im not sure that i would personally consider Wall-E soft science fiction though, the reason I say this is because though it is alot of social topics, there are also alot of realistic science issues such as the death of the planet and the shortage of fresh foods.Ambersmith5 (talk) 09:48, 5 September 2019 (EDT)
@AmberSmith5: I also agree about the movie Wall-E. I was just using the example the article gave, but I think the movie could definitely fit in both categories.--Daisja30 (talk) 19:23, 8 September 2019 (EDT)
@Daisja30: Interesting, I didn't know that they would refer to science fiction that way. I never heard of it being refered to as Hard Science Fiction nor Soft Science Fiction. That's very interesting and cool to see it being called that.Tami Marie (talk)
@Tami Marie: I had never heard of those terms either, so the article was very informative to me.--Daisja30 (talk) 19:23, 8 September 2019 (EDT)

September 8, 2019: Marker's La Jetee: Journal 3

For this journal I will focus on Chris Marker’s La Jetee. I thought it was a very interesting science fiction story with its use of storytelling through still images. This story relies heavily on its use of time travel. That being said, there are two aspects of time travel addressed in the film that I will focus on. Those are using memories to travel to the past and the process of time travel.

At first glance, using memories to travel to the past seems like a reasonable idea. In the film the scientist thought that if men were able to dream another time then maybe they would be able to live in it.[3] This is apart of a theory called mental time travel, a term coined by Thomas Suddendorf and Michel Corballis in 1997.[4] This concept also involves using memories to create a possible future. Likewise, the scientist in the film first studied the mans past having him travel to different time periods in his memories. Then, they sent him to a possible future where he was able to ask for resources to help the present. However, this makes me inquire about the process of time travel the story uses.

How was the man physically able to be two places at once? When he visited the past, the woman could hold, touch and feel the man’s presence at that time as though he was actually there with her. So, was he really in the past or was he only dreaming? Typically in time travel, one has to enter at a younger time but when they return at the older time they will be the same age as when they entered at the younger time as long as they don’t really interfere with the past.[5] Therefore, when the man entered the past, there should have been another him that was his same age already interacting with the woman. That is why, in most time travel science fiction stories, we actually see scientist build a time machine. Then, when the time-traveler goes into the machine and travels to another time period they try to avoid themselves that is actually living during that time. Therefore, I would have liked if the story explained the machine more. All the viewer could see is a mask-like material with cords coming from it being put over the man’s eyes. Even then, we see the man falling asleep and then waking up in the different time periods, but we never see the man actually disappear from the cabana he was laying in when the experiment began.

Nonetheless, as a story, I enjoyed watching La Jetee. In the beginning I did not know where the story was going to go, and it kept me curious to keep watching. Then, to intertwine the beginning of the man’s younger self seeing his older self get shot was a great way to wrap up the story and add an unexpected twist.

@Daisja30: I hadn't considered breaking down the impracticalities of how time travel worked in La Jetée. I'd just glossed over it because time travel in books and movies never quite makes sense to me. It's tough to think about for too long. You make a good point, though, about not being in two places at once. -MorganAtMGA (talk) 20:42, 8 September 2019 (EDT)
@Daisja30: Interesting ideas; keep it up. Try to use real sources, like interpretive articles and books. Do not use Wikipedia as a source. —Grlucas (talk) 13:00, 9 September 2019 (EDT)

September 8, 2019: Cheever's "The Swimmer" and Marker's La Jetee: Journal 4

Looking at the two stories for this week, it is clear that they compliment one another. They both share the common theme of time travel, however Chris Marker’s story being the more literal meaning of the idea. In both stories the protagonists want to escape their grim realities by returning to when life was good for them. In Marker’s La Jetee we see a man who has been fortunate enough to escape the gruesome aftermath of a deadly nuclear bomb but unfortunate that he has been captured as a prisoner to be used for science experiments.[6] Then in Cheever’s “The Swimmer” we see Neddy, a now divorced man who feels like he has lost everything; his wife, his two daughters, and even his house.[7]

Breaking down their characteristics even further, Neddy is in disbelief of his current situation. We see this as he reaches the Halloran’s pool and Mrs. Halloran expresses her pity for his situation by saying, “We’ve been terribly sorry to hear about all your misfortunes, Neddy” and he replying “My misfortunes?” as though he has no recollection of what has happened or his current situation.[8] On the other hand, the man in La Jetee is fully aware of his present situation. However, once he started to experience the past, he wanted to remain in that time and relive every moment of it. He seen peaceful images and met a beautiful woman, which made him want to continue to live in the past because he felt love and happiness.[9] Both protagonist want to remain in the past, but neither of them can escape the realities of their present.

@Daisja30: I really enjoyed your journal. I never really thought about the fact that in both The Swimmer and La Jette, both of the Protagonists wanted to remain in the past. I think that these two story had more in common than I originally thought. Brebre143 (talk) 19:13, 8 September 2019 (EDT)
@Daisja30: I mentioned you in my last journal entry because I can agree with you on what you are saying about both stories. The both shine a light on how time is among us and we cant stop it no matter if we try going back in time or trying to runaway from it. JShepp912 (talk)

September 13, 2019: Analyzing Doctor Who episode "Blink": Journal 5

In this journal I will be focusing on the Doctor Who’s episode called “Blink.” I have never watched Doctor Who, but as I channel surfed, I would always pass it playing on the cable program. I think this episode is a good episode to watch if someone does not initially know what Doctor Who is. While this story is not base around Doctor Who’s character, it explains who he is and how the main character, Sally Sparrow in this case, is connected to the Doctor. The episode being around 50 minutes also allows someone new to the show to get a completed episode. The original conflict is resolved within the episode, so the viewer does not feel like they have to wait to watch the next episode or watch previous episodes to understand what has happened in this episode. Two aspects of the episode that I really liked and will discuss is the unearthly creatures called the weeping angels and the way the time sequence is put together.

The Weeping Angels

As I continue to learn about science fiction, I have become more interested in the least plausible side of the stories which is the concept of monsters. In this episode, the antagonists are a group of angel statues that are referred to as Weeping Angels. These creatures are described as being quantum locked, feeding off potential energy, and abstract lifeforms.[10] They are also called lonely assassins because they are not able to look at one another. This is due to the fact that they only exist when they are not being observed. I decided to research deeper about these creatures. In a very informative video I found, the weeping angels evolved in the beginning of the universe.[11] In the Renaissance they were discovered in the catacombs of the Sistine Chapel. The first attacks were in 1916 in France and later in 1938 in New York.[12] Then, things began to get more complicated as the narrator of the video refers to different doctors from the Doctor Who series. Nonetheless, what I gathered is that the angels’ goal is to send as many people as they can back in time to create paradoxes which feeds them and allows them to create more of themselves. Yet, like every superhero and supervillain the angels have a weakness, when the angels look at one another, they become stone forever. This is how Sally Sparrow and Larry Nightingale escape the angels in the end. What led up to this ending though, was a long process of Sally trying to figure out exactly what was going on.

The Time Sequence

There is a lot that can be unpacked with how the time sequence is cleverly used here, so I will first start with the 17 tape recordings. Larry is seen throughout the movie constantly watching the Doctor’s tapes, trying to understand the hidden Easter eggs within them. Once he finally sits down with Sally to watch the videos, everything starts to make sense for him. He begins to write down her responses and says he will put them on a forum. This is exactly how the Doctor knew how to respond.[13] At this point it can be assumed that the Doctor traveled to the future received the forum and recorded the tapes before he got stuck in 1969. Then we must ask, how did the Doctor publish the tapes then? What is also unique is how the present immediately changed as soon as one person was sent to the past by the angels. The first victim is Kathy Nightingale. As she returns to the house with Sally, almost simultaneously Kathy’s grandson gives Sally the message from Kathy as Kathy is touched by an angel and is transported to 1920. The second case is with Detective Bill. The angels send him to 1969 where he comes into contact with the Doctor. Fortunately for him, Detective Bill was able to get Sally’s number and is able to contact her. Unfortunately, however, the next time they meet he is old and hospitalized. This time difference is most effective as Bill states, “It was raining when we met,” and Sally replies “It’s the same rain.”[14]

All answers are clarified at the end as we see Sally packing all of the clues she received in a folder and eventually giving it to the Doctor from the past who has not experienced the weeping angels yet. All along it was future Sally that warned her past self about the terrors to come. In the beginning of the episode the Doctor’s future was Sally’s present, but in the end the Doctor’s past becomes Sally’s present.

@Daisja30: I also thought that the way that the time sequence was used in this episode was really cool. I feel like this episode is a great example of Science Fiction in television shows for someone who isn't familiar with it. Brebre143 (talk) 01:24, 15 September 2019 (EDT)
@Daisja30: I did not decide to do further research on the angels but More so on the actual episode itself. So it was interesting to know that you found a historical reference as well to these 'monsters' in this what we believe most times to be nonfictional. However assuming from the genre science fiction it must be something of the factual relation for it be categorized as this right? --D.Sams96 (talk) 21:44, 14 September 2019 (EDT)
@Daisja30: Interesting point. When seeing these weeping angels I thought they were very creepy, rightfully so, and it was interesting to see how they would send people back in time.Tami Marie (talk) 9:42, 15 September 2019 (EDT)

September 15, 2019: Comparing Gibson's "The Gernsback Continuum" and Doctor Who's "Blink" Episode: Journal 6

Comparing William Gibson’s “The Gernsback Continuum” and Doctor Who’s “Blink” episode can be quite the challenge as it can be hard to find something that the two had in common other than the fact that the protagonist of both were photographers. Nevertheless, as I really thought deeply past the surface level of the two stories, it is clear that the main aspect the two stories have in common are their themes. Both stories theme is about a future that has not happened yet.

Theme in "The Gernsback Continuum"

In Gibson’s “The Gernsback Continuum,” the unnamed protagonist dreams up an alternate reality based on the 1930s image of how the future was supposed to look. He is able to do this through “semiotic ghost” which are characterized as “bits of deep cultural imagery that have split off and taken on a life of its own”.[15] The 1930s pictured a future with “white marble, slip streamed chrome, immortal crystal, and burnish bronze” and this is the very future the protagonist had awaken in.[16] He couldn’t understand how the future of the 1930s had become his reality. As he captured more and more of current remains of architectural attempts at the thirties envisioned future, he started to see zeppelin docks and even odd flying objects. Then he even comes in contact with the people of that dimension with their food pill belts and aluminum avocado shaped car.[17] Ultimately this future never came true because during the process of trying to make it a reality it nearly destroys the very earth through things like pollution and the carbon foot print.[18] Nevertheless, a future that was able to be successfully changed was that in Doctor Who’s episode called “Blink.”

Theme in "Blink"

In this episode of Doctor Who, protagonist Sally Sparrow has to fix a future that has not happened yet. The antagonists of this story also known as “the weeping angels” are unearthly creatures that send humans to the past to create paradoxes.[19] These paradoxes ultimately allow more of the angels to spawn and provides as a food source for them. Then Sally is given multiple clues from the past and future to help her manifest a future where she gets to live, the Doctor gets his time machine back, and a number of the angels die. If she was not able to solve the puzzle of how to return the Doctor’s time machine, then the future could have turned out very different. For example, in my last post I referred to a video that explained the history of the weeping angels. In this video it talks about how one Doctor eventually gets trapped by the angels in the future and dies as a prisoner. Yet, said Doctor is given clues to his past self so that he does not make the same mistakes. Hence when the final battle emerges between him and the angels, he jumps off the rooftop to change the future and kill a number of the angels.[20] Therefore, with the angel episodes in particular, the protagonist has to use clues to create a good outcome for the future, which is exactly what Sally does.

Both stories refer to a future that has not happened yet, and it is interesting to see the two different takes on how the storytellers decide to use this theme.

September 22, 2019: Altering Memory: Journal 7

In this journal I will be analyzing Philip Dick’s “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale.” In this science fiction story, we follow the protagonist Douglas Quail who has a dream of visiting Mars. This obsession of his was nearly about to come true as he was about to get memory implants of a trip to Mars. Yet, the very memories he wanted implanted of him on Mars were the true memories of the life he had lived before. The two most prominent aspects of this story I will be talking about is the idea of memory implants and the idea of erasing memories.

Memory Implants

In the story Douglas goes to a company called Rekal Incorporated that specializes in completing memory implants. Later we read that this is not the only company that does this kind of work, but it’s actually a booming industry. Mr. McClain exclaims that the firm does at least twenty implants a month with people who want Douglas’s same implant.[21] The only obstacle these firms face is that the people they’re operating on have to have enough space in their memory to implant the new, fake memories. When Lowe is faced with this problem, Mr. McClain tells him to overlay the implants on a vacation Douglas has taken.[22] I think this procedure has become so popular because it allows one to experience what they never would have been able to experience. As Amaya Fernández-Menicucci states in her article, with these implants ”fantasy and desire emerges” which gives people a sense of gratitude in life.[23] However, this makes me question, even though people are receiving these memories do they get the same emotions attached to those experiences that memories typically create? Like Douglas questions Mr. McClain, anyone would have similar doubts before paying for such a procedure. Yet, Mr. McClain expresses the many other actions they use to ensure the implants stay successful memories, like 3-D postcards and photos.[24] Even with all the extra props the firm uses to further convince their patients of their experience, I feel like sooner or later those memories will start to fade with age like real memories do and the person will regain memory of getting the implants. That said, the firm also erases memories of the person going to the firm to get the procedure done in the first place.[25] Nonetheless, these firms are not the only ones with the abilities to erase memories.

Erasing Memories

As the story continues, we learn that the life Douglas has been living is a lie. He is actually a trained assassin used for military purposes, yet, these memories of his life had been erased.[26] Therefore, once he was no longer needed by the government, they had to erase his memories so he would not go around discussing his governmental orders to kill a man. They decided to give Douglas a new identity without his consent, while keeping him in their surveillance. When Douglas regains his memories and is met by the Internplan Police, they tell him they can read his mind through a tele-transmitter they implanted in his skull.[27] We also see that a person’s same memory can be erased more than once. Near the end of the story, before Mr. McClain gives Douglas another shot at the implant procedure, the police official states that they have already erased Douglas’ memory of his trip to Mars.[28] Then Douglas asks about the trip, but no one responds to make sure he does not start to regain his memories again.

In other stories that refer to the concept of erasing memories, the one with their memory erased is typically able to recall the past by retracing their steps, talking to people they once knew, and reviewing any old paraphernalia/documentations of proof from their past history. Therefore, just as Douglas is able to regain his erased memories, are the memories really being erased? Or, are they simply being buried in the mind and forgotten?

September 22, 2019: Governmental Secretes and How To Recover Erased Memories: Journal 8

When comparing Philip Dick’s “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” and The X-Files episode “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space” I found it quite easy to find some similarities and common themes among them. Both of their main themes was clearly about erasing memory. Nevertheless, what I found most interesting is the methods used in each story to regain those lost memories. Also, I found that both included the governments role in the stories’ plots.

Recovering Erased Memories

In The X-Files episode we see Christin get hypnotized to enter a state of slight unconsciousness and see images of what had happened to her. In this hypnosis the doctor sits in front of the girl and just speaks to her starting with “You are feeling very sleepy”.[29] Just through his words he gets the girl to remember parts of her erased memories. In Philip Dick’s story, we see memories regained also through a semi-unconscious state. As Lowe and the other doctor are preparing Douglas for his procedure, they sedate him as most doctors do before surgery. However, under sedation, Douglas regains some of his memories of being on Mars as a skilled assassin.[30] Like mentioned in the episode, Douglas only regains some of his memories that were erased. This is why I do not think memories can actually be erased from someone’s memories, as I mention in my last post. I believe our brains are like computers, if we were to erase memories, then they would go to a part of our memory that would be like the recycling bin. However, even once a memory enters the recycling bin it can still never be completely erased but it can always be regained.

The Governments Secrets

The other similarity I found within these two stories is how the government is portrayed. In both the government seems to be keeping these secretes from society, and anyone who gets too close to understanding or figuring out these government secretes are “dealt with.” In The X-Files episode we see many characters that have come in counter with the recent alien visit, be visited by what they refer to as the “men in black."[31] The men in black try to convince these witnesses that what they have seen was not real. Later we realizes these men must be government officials since these UFO’s are really disguised governmental aircraft and the aliens witnessed were really humans in alien costumes.[32] Therefore, the government is constantly manipulating the public and erasing memories. Likewise, in “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale,” the government hires Douglas as an assassin to kill a man on Mars. Therefore, they have gotten him to do their dirty work and decide to cover it up by erasing Douglas’ memories. There are already conspiracies that the government is watching everyone and that they do have secretes they keep from the community; and both stories play into this conspiracy perfectly.

While both stories main theme is memory alteration, they also have other commonalities amongst them that also helps complete their stories. These includes regaining erased memories and how government hides thing like their dirty work or information about recent alien visits.

@Daisja30: I really like that you compare the the role of the government in both of these narratives. The fear of government control is one big topic of discussion in the science fiction genre. I wonder if it is possible for someone (maybe the government, maybe someone off of the street) to erase another person's memory. The "Jose Chung" episode suggests that hypnotism is enough and while that's a cool idea, I wonder if that's realistic. What do you think? -Cavaliergirl96 (talk) 08:30, 23 September 2019 (EDT)
@Daisja30: It is interesting that even in the advanced world that Quail lives in, memories are still not able to truly be erased, they are only suppressed or manipulated. I think this speaks to their importance and prevalence in one’s life despite their unreliability at times. -Atallent (talk) 09:22, 23 September 2019 (EDT)

Bibliography

  • Dick, Philip. We Can Remember It For You Wholesale (PDF). pp. 35–52.

Resources

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Science Fiction: Definition and Examples". Literary Terms. 2018-11-04. Retrieved 2019-08-27.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 The Truth About Science Fiction (Documentary), retrieved 2019-08-27
  3. La Jetée (1962) [english subtitles]
  4. Mental Time Travel
  5. Time Travel
  6. La Jetée (1962) [english subtitles]
  7. "The Swimmer"
  8. "The Swimmer"
  9. Time Travel
  10. Doctor Who's "Blink" episode
  11. History of the Weeping Angels
  12. History of the Weeping Angels
  13. Doctor Who's "Blink" episode
  14. Doctor Who's "Blink" episode
  15. "The Gernsback Continuum" pg. 5
  16. "The Gernsback Continuum" pg. 4
  17. "The Gernsback Continuum" pg. 7
  18. The Gibson Continuum: cyberspace and Mervyn Kihn Stories
  19. Doctor Who's "Blink" episode
  20. Doctor Who's "Blink" episode
  21. Philip Dick "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" pg.39
  22. Philip Dick "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" pg.39
  23. Amaya Fernández-Menicucci "Memories of Future Masculine Identities: A Comparison of Philip K. Dick’s “We Can Remember it for you Wholesale”, the 1990 Film Total Recall and its 2012 Remake pg.2"
  24. Philip Dick "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" pg.36
  25. Philip Dick "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" pg.38
  26. Philip Dick "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" pg.48
  27. Philip Dick "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" pg.48
  28. Philip Dick "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" pg.50
  29. The X-Files: "Jose Chung's From Outer Space
  30. Dick 1996, p. 40.
  31. The X-Files: "Jose Chung's From Outer Space
  32. The X-Files: "Jose Chung's From Outer Space