User:Tprouty93/Humn 4472 Journal

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August 25, 2019: Science Fiction

Science Fiction is a genre of fiction where the author or creator imagines concepts that are rooted in science. Examples of this could be things like time travel, aliens, space, and futuristic technology.

August 25, 2019: Science Fiction

There are a few things that I picked up from the research I completed, the reading of material provided, and digesting of the video "The Truth About Science Fiction"[1]. Science Fiction in it's modern form came around in the 1700s. However, there is evidence of many of the elements in the w:history of science fiction that date back well before this time, such as throughout epics. A very common epic that is referenced when you start to research precursors of sci-fi is the ancient w:Epic of Gilgamesh. It is interesting to see also how much science fiction has predicted things to really happen in the future. For example, in the video "The Truth About Science Fiction" the book w:Around the Moon is mentioned. In this story, the author actually mentions the concept of weightlessness, which was at the time something they did not know. Inventors also, as well as scientist, use and used concepts and ideas that science fiction presented to inspire their own endeavors, as note in "The Truth About Science Fiction", such as helpful robots around the household, as well as the combination of robots and humans, like the w:cyborg, which was introduced to the world by w:Raymond F. Jones in his novel The Cybernetic Brains.

@Tprouty93: Hello, I enjoyed reading your post. I remember reading the Epic of Gilgamesh in World literature. I did not think to mention that or tie it in with this class. Your post is well written and free of errors. I have one question about your links. How do you get the reference section links to look how they do?--TSmith2020 (talk) 01:14, 7 September 2019 (EDT)

September 22, 2019: The Inevitable

w:John Cheever's "w:The Swimmer (short story)" is a surreal story that follows Neddy Merrill through a journey from pool to pool as he tries to get home after a few drinks with friends under the warm midsummer's sun. Though it may not be evident to the main character Neddy throughout the story line that he is continuing from pool to pool to exit different points in his life and entering new ones, the reader can begin to slowly recognize that it is the actual passage of time that is occurring, one w:theme of the short story. Neddy's physical well being and resilience changes as he goes through each checkpoint; a symbol of what is happening in his life. Though he is physically aging with each and every pool and as the season progresses from Summer to Winter, it seems as though his mind does not follow the same progression. He remains childish and unaware of the reality of the situation. [2]

Neddy feels that his journey is just a Sunday evening and just his path home, without realizing that it is actually a much longer span of time that is encompassed in this short adventure. The supporting characters' responses to his arrival allude to the fact that years pass by between each encounter, as well as the state of each property he steps on to. Time passing by is inevitable, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. Neddy chose for the majority of the story to ignore the reality that is life passing us by, and the aging that happens as a result. While he may of tried to escape it, the fact is that there is no escaping what is natural.

September 22, 2019: Time in La Jetee and "The Swimmer"

w:The Swimmer (short story) and w: La Jetée both focus very heavily on the concept of time travel, though more literal in La Jetée versus in "The Swimmer". In La Jetée, the main character is greeted in the end with the aging process and passage of time just as the main character in "The Swimmer" is. However, in "The Swimmer", the main character Neddy does not exactly know that it is time that is passing him by and his mortality that he has to accept. In La Jetée, the main character does not know that it is his mortality he must greet in the end, either. The main character of La Jetée does not deny the passage of time nor man's mortality as his childhood is marred by the image of a man he saw being killed, but did not know it was his own decisions and choices that would lead to the child version of himself witnessing a man's death, that of his own. Neddy in "The Swimmer" also is unaware of how his decisions lead him to where we leave him at the end of the short story also, being his own downfall as well, though it is that of a social death more so than his literal death. Both stories show the inevitability of the passage of time, the reality of what being a mortal human entails, and how denial can blind one from the truth. [3]

September 25, 2019: Titular Meaning

"w: The Gernsback Continuum" is set in the 1980s, parallel to a alternate universe that begins as merely a concept of a Utopian 1980s that never existed, but was fantasized by Americans in the 1930s; something that can be seen in the futuristic architecture from the time. The main character, a photographer enlisted by two London figures named Cohen and Dialta Downes to capture the architecture, begins to dive into the world and become a part of the collective unconscious, as the main character's US agent Kihn calls it, and starts to see w: semiotic ghosts. The title of the short story when further broken down can point one into the direction of just what is happening.

w: Hugo Gernsback

Hugo Gernsback was born in 1884 and died in 1967. He is best known for his publications, one of which is considered the first w: science fiction magazine. Because of his contributions to the genre as a publisher, the title of "The Father of Science Fiction" has many times appeared beside his name sake. Therefore, the title "The Gernsback Continuum" alludes to one of the biggest names in science fiction, reminding the reader that this work is pulling in concepts of science fiction.

w: Continuum

A continuum is defined in the dictionary as "a continuous extent, series, or whole". [4] The continuum being referenced in the title and that occurs in the story itself is that of an alternate universe that coexist with that of the main character, a continuous extent of the universe.[5] The main character of the story visits this continuum, the w: alternate universe of a theorized 1980s utopia, as a result of a mental breakdown and psychosis that is lead on by the use of diet pills, or amphetamines. The semiotic phantoms in this universe have broken off and taken a life of their own. Though the past is the past and has been mostly forgotten, a part of it still exist and the w: protagonist in the story line has discovered them via the Gernsback Continuum. Something that may seem as if it was simply science fiction before, but the photographer has found to truly exist parallel with his own existence.

September 25, 2019: "The Gernsback Continuum" vs "w: Blink (Doctor Who)"

"The Gernsback Continuum" and the episode of w: Doctor Who titled "Blink" both capture an essence of the past with the help of alternate timelines and characters interested in discovering the truth. Both characters that the plots center around are photographers looking for subjects to photograph. In "The Gernsback Continuum", the protagonist cannot help but go back to explore and figure out just what is happening, eventually discovering the continuum that exist. Sally, the protagonist in the episode "Blink" also digs a bit deeper into what she finds to be a continuum in itself, but one that eventually collides into one universe as she closes the paradox at the end of the episode by ensuring that the Doctor does in fact stay on track to be a part of her timeline, though he must travel into the past to be a part of the present. In "The Gernsback Continuum", the main character discovers that a utopia exist right beside his less than ideal world and that the future did in fact end up how those in the past imagined it. In "Blink", Sally's friend Kathy ended up in her own perfect world parallel to Sally from the past, but instead of it being a world theorized by those in the past it is her own world that she found herself residing in by being sent back to the past herself. [6]

September 25, 2019: Philip K. Dick vs. Quail

In "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale", the main character falls into a category that many of the protagonist in w: Philip K. Dick's writings. He lives a lackluster life, caught in a job he finds meaningless with a want and need to escape. Here, the main character named Quail wishes to find himself on a journey to Mars.[7] Further research on the write of this short story, w: Philip K. Dick brings up an interesting past for the author, that in a way tangles with his fictional character. Dick wrote a letter to the FBI in the 1970s, and is known to of led a life that was plagued by drug usage and hallucinations.

Philip K. Dick

Philip K. Dick had many friends who suffered from drug addition, and he himself would not be safe from the disease. Not only did he suffer from drug addiction, but the hallucinations that Dick would experience covered a wide range of experiences, with experience being that of a woman shooting him with a beam of light that would divulge religious secrets to him. Philip K. Dick wrote an 8,000 page journal over his visions. The author also contacted authorities, such as the FBI, over other authors, accusing them of having connections to communists or enemy forces. He also experienced a string of not so great marriages, and in one of the marriages made friends with an FBI agent after a visit from the bureau.[8]

Philip K. Dick and Quail

It seems as though Phillip K. Dick infused his life into his characters, whether knowingly or not. Douglas Quail was in a not so happy marriage in the beginning of the story. Whether Philip K. Dick's visions were real or just a product of mental disease, one thing is true, there were a few that showed an underlying need to be a grander than life individual. Like Quail, Dick also seemed to find himself intertwined with agents and the government, and a want to be a part of something bigger than himself, which he ended up being, just like Quail. Both characters experienced bouts of paranoia and being unsure of what is real or not, and both seemed to of bitten off more than they could chew at times.

September 27, 2019: Repressed Memories, Men in Black, and Trustworthy Accounts

The short story "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" brings into question the reliability of one's memory, as does the episode from The X-Files titled "Jose Chung's From Outer Space". Both also bring up the ideas of repressed memories, as well as the subconscious oozing out into reality from our own desires, thoughts, and fears. Not only are repressed thoughts a concept that is shown in both, but so is the men in black, aliens, and the question of whether or not we can trust our own thoughts or eye witness accounts.

w: Repressed memory

The use of outside methods, hypnosis in "Jose Chung's From Outer Space" and accidentally a serum in "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale", to bring up repressed memories is put to use in both story lines. In "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" the memories are repressed for the main character, Quail, as a result of his experiences by 3rd parties. Contrarily, in "Jose Chung's From Outer Space the memories are repressed as a result of possible trauma, which is often the case with repressed memories. With repressed memories, it is still theorized that the individual may not remember the incident, but that it still can affect the individual. Quail in "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" is affected by his repressed memories by having a need to experience exactly the same experience as repressed, as well as having a secret want for the world to be saved simply by his being alive, something that also comes up as being possibly true. The young woman in The X-Files episode also has her own repressed memories as a result of her trauma. Both make the viewer or reader question the validity of what is going on, bringing up the dependability of eye witness accounts.

w: Rashomon effect

The Rashomon Effect is a concept that is named after the 1950 movie, w: Rashomon. It is seen in both stories, especially in "Jose Chung's From Outer Space". The effect refers to the concept of the unreliability of eye witnesses and situations where more than one account or interpretation of something contradict each other. [9]The viewer and reader for both story lines are left wondering what is the truth, as the conflicting accounts and writers' choices to let the one digesting the material decide ultimately what is real answers some, but not all, of the questions raised as a result.

w: Men in Black

The "men in black", as well as government officials in general, are both brought into the picture for "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" and "Jose Chung' From Outer Space". Interference by the government and other questionable figures, as is classically accompanied with alien abduction accounts, play major roles. For Quail in "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale", the government is the reason for why he does not remember one of his experiences and his past job, as the government tries to hide the truth of what has happened just like in the episode of The X-Files.

September 28, 2019: Fear Driven Inference in "w: The Entire History of You"

In "The History of You", the main character Liam Foxwell searches high and low for evidence of a core instinct that his wife has done something wrong or still retains feelings for another, an individual that he finds played a bigger role in his wife's romantic history than he previously thought. Liam's "gut overreaction", as David Nussbaum and Paul Thagard refer to it, causes him to go off the deep end, resulting in over drinking, violence, and arguments between himself, his wife Ffion and the man he believes his wife likes, Jonas. Fear driven inference is the result of a feedback loop between judgement and emotional reactions, a combination of cognitive thinking and intense emotions. Liam obsesses over the idea that his wife is being unfaithful. At first he thinks that she may just have a crush on him, and this slowly builds up into him suspecting, and finding, much more with the assistance of modern technology; devices implanted in people's bodies to allow for easier memory recall, and repression. [10]

When we think on negative things, it makes us feel negatively. As a result, we begin to think even harder about what is making us feel bad and become more suspicious or begin to expect more bad things to happen. This results in heightened levels of anxiety and anger. Liam exhibits this exact cycle, going from slightly annoyed with his wife's behavior, to increasingly suspicious of her behavior and actions. In the end, he finds what he is looking for and what his gut told him, landing himself in a failed marriage and empty home without his son. [11]

Today's society's over dependence on social media can result in the same outcome, and technology has made it increasingly easier, like in this episode, to not only keep memories closer, but also discover thing within them that may not always make us feel great or comfortable. The technology can have wonderful advantages, but it can also increase suspicion and be used to make our lives, relationships, and first encounters more difficult.

@Tprouty93: I agree with your remarks. I think some people would use the grain to obsess over their past because of what their present is or isn’t. I also fear that if someone goes through a traumatic experience that they might play that memory over and over causing them not to be able to move past the trauma. I know that may sound weird, but its like looking at something that is displeasing to you, yet you cannot stop watching it.--Daisja30 (talk) 23:31, 28 September 2019 (EDT)
@Tprouty93: The grain’s abilities were showcased perfectly at the end of the episode. The technology can be used to bring back good times and it can be used to bring destruction to the present. Having access to this database of information blurs what is truly important as people begin to obsess over the past. -Atallent (talk) 12:18, 29 September 2019 (EDT)

September 28, 2019: Finding the Truth

In "w: The Girl Who Was Plugged In" and "The Entire History of You", we get a clear example of the phrase "w: curiosity killed the cat" in action, but not the additional part of the phrase "but satisfaction brought it back" as in both stories the discovery of the truth resulted in the end of the "dream" life both main characters were leading. [12] Questioning situations and having the need to dig deeper ended the married life Liam led in "The Entire History of You", and the literal life of P. Burke.

Both stories held a massive effort by outside parties to help keep the truth concealed. Liam could not help but dig deeper out of an increased growth in his anxiety. For P. Burke, the tables were flipped as she knew the truth, but the curiosity of her new found significant other brought the full and honest truth to light, resulting in her dream life not only being lost, but her actual life. Though it is not exactly stated in the episode of Black Mirror that Liam regretted his decision, it can be inferred at the end when he decides to cut the grain out of his neck after watching replays of memories from when his life was happier. In "The Girl Who Was Plugged In", Paul, P. Burke's partner, is more than likely standing more in Liam's shoes with his regret.


  1. The Truth About Science Fiction '' Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  2. "The Swimmer".
  4. "continuum".
  5. "Making Sense of the Gernsback Continuum".
  6. "Doctor Who: "Bink"/"Utopia"".
  7. "Time an Gnosis in the Writings of Philip K. Dick".
  8. "Just because you're paranoid... Philip K. Dick's trouble life".
  9. Anderson 2016, p. 249-269.
  10. Chakrabrati & March 28, 2018.
  11. Paul & July 17 2014.
  12. Martin 2019.


  • Anderson, R (2016). "The Rashomon Effect and Communication". Canadian Journal of COmmunication. pp. 249–269.
  • Canaan, Howard (Fall 2008). "Time and Gnosis in the Writing of Philip K. Dick.". Centre for Arts, Humanities and Sciences (CAHS), acting on behalf of the University of Debrecen CAHS. pp. 335–355.