Thursday, April 28, 2016

Week 15: The Future

Throughout this course I learned a lot of things that I didn't know existed. It definitely made me open my eyes and broaden my perspective on many aspects of literature and even life! I personally think that the future will hold even more technological advances than now. In the path we're going, I don't see any other future. We have advanced so much already and we only continue to discover new possibilities. For example, the other day I stumbled across a video that showed scientists are working on contact lenses that can allow you to record and recapture moments. I'm not entirely sure how accurate that video was but the idea of that amazes me. I think designers, scientists, engineers, etc. will keep working hard to come up with different ways technology can interact with humans on more personal levels.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Week 14: Satire and Sci-Fi

This week's final theme was Satire and Sci-Fi and I listened to "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". It was interesting because I usually just read either short stories or novels, but this time I was able to experience a radio show version. After listening to part of it I realized that the author had a very dark vision of what the future may hold. It was however dark humor because part of it were actually comical. It's obvious we are having a lot of issues with climate change and the slow but inevitable destruction of earth, including war, deforestation, and uncontrollable acts of nature. We may not necessarily be headed toward the future that is described to us in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, but it is possible that this was a warning of some sort or a wake up call telling us we all need to take better care of our planet.

Week 13: Literary Speculation

This week I read The Distance of the Moon by Italo Calvino. The setting takes place in a time when the moon was so close to the earth that visiting was a daily occurrence. In the short story's opening paragraphs the narrator recalls everything with a childlike joy, remembering how fun it was when they were able to shift themselves to the moon's gravitational pull, and collecting moon milk which was thick resembling cream cheese. The narrator even recalls when a young girl was caught in the moons gravity and got covered with little surface sea life. Throughout all these scenes, the intrigues of the human heart are consistent: jealousy, infatuation, and infidelity. Seems as though the more things are different, the more they really are the same. The main point of the story seems to be the moon pulling away from the earth and how hard it becomes for everyone to get back safely, one of which isn't able to return (the captains wife). The infatuation the main character has for the captains wife keeps him waiting for a month to pass so he can finally save her and bring her back to earth. Calvino definitely evokes nostalgia; the narrator looks back on his experiences with the moon and treasures them. I very much enjoyed reading this because it was a different type of love story, and one that doesn't have a happy ending. I think Calvino wasn't trying to recreate an adventure story, but instead allow the reader to look at universal experiences and emotions in a different perspective.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Week 13: The Aquatic Uncle

In the short story "The Aquatic Uncle", the main character's are used as a prominent symbol for modern themes such as prejudice and the differences between generations. It suggested that even from the beginning of time, racism and pride in ones upbringing was a major factor and played into how you were viewed. Qfwfq was essentially embarrassed because of Lll's purity and the fact that he was part of both land and sea. Not only this, but scientific progress is also a major theme in this short story.

The connections I made with this story is that everyone always has that one family member that they are afraid of introducing their significant other to. For example, I have grandparents that are always last to meet a boyfriend of mine simply because of their standards and what they think. Different generations play a significant role in this short story as does it in real life. Then again there are those grandparents that have all the new, modern technology and then there are those grandparents like mine that still have flip phones. I think this stems from the fact that change is feared. What they see as safe and reliable throughout all these years is what they stick to instead of trying something new.

I'm having trouble seeing this in another medium because it's a short story and I can't really imagine it as anything else. What I love about this story is the theme of evolution. I'm sure this can be turned into a movie with human actors, however I think it'll take away from the story and how the readers visualize it. The best way I would say it an animated piece, because given the right style and approach it could definitely compliment the story's creativity.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Week 12: Diverse Position Science Fiction

This week I read "I Live With You" by Carol Emshwiller. I was fully aware of what was going on in the story, however I couldn't figure out who it was that lived with her. At first I thought it was from an animal's point of view, however, when I came across the part where they said all her clothes fit just the right size, I knew it was a human. When I kept reading it occurred to me that maybe it was all in her head? There were some strange parts that made me assume so, for example, when the main character was in the bedroom with the man and they kept switching where one would go under the bed and then lock them inside. It was confusing, but entertaining at the same time because you want to know who it was that lived with her and created all these scenarios.

Week 11: Cyberpunk & Steampunk

This week's theme was cyberpunk and steampunk, and I read "Johnny Mnemonic". At first it was very hard to follow with what the story was about, but as I kept reading and rereading some parts, I had an idea. At the end of it I had to check if I was on the right path by googling the summary. In some ways I did enjoy it and in others I didn't. It was interesting to see this world come to life, however, because I had difficulty in understanding everything, it took away from the experience. I do believe however that in the future we will have similar worlds to those portrayed in these types of books, movies, short stories, etc. Technology is developing so far ahead that I completely see us headed in this direction; whether it ends up being utopian or dystopian is obviously unknown. I like to read and watch movies about both worlds because at the end of it all I reach the same conclusion, there will always be malfunctions in technology no matter how advanced it is.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Week 10: The Fiction of Ideas

This week's theme was the fiction of ideas, and I read a short story by J.G. Ballard "The Drowned Giant". The story features many of Ballard's eternal themes such as, physical deformities, and the interest society has with them; alienation, the juxtaposition of life and death, and a sense of bleakness that pervades the human condition. In the short story, the narrator, along with many other random onlookers, witness the appearance of a dead giant that washed up on shore. Everyone takes part in exploring the giant and observes how it decays, undergoes many mutilations, and is then distributed all throughout the city. I think Ballard was trying to make a statement in terms of body horror and inconsistency of identity. For example, there is no explanation for the giant's corpse, where he came from, who he is, etc. The story is less about solving the mystery of the giants appearance than it is about exploring the towns fascinations with distributing its body parts. In some ways, it's kind of sickening to think about the fact that the public was more concerned and entertained with selling the giants body parts rather than figuring out any bit of information. Everyone seemed to be okay with tearing the limbs off of the giant and it makes it clear that Ballard is commenting on the dehumanizing effects, on both the observer and observed. Eventually nothing is left of the giant other than his skeleton, and his identity was never known.