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Week Fifteen: Envisioning the Future

1) How do you envision the world in 2027?

Currently, human life is causing dangerous levels of harm on this Earth. With the amount of waste and pollution we produce on a daily basis, it's impossible to deny that climate change is real. Although there are still some who are ignorant, I think more and more people are becoming aware and trying to make a change. I feel there is still hope for a more sustainable future. I personally hope I would have steered myself towards the direction of green design, and that there are others who believe in making our everyday living more environment friendly through design, so that we don't end up living in a dystopian existence.

2) What about in 2050?

Hope is good, and there will always be some sort of group of people worrying about sustainability, but to think I'd be alive at a time where ice caps have melted away and the Earth would be completely different scares me. It would be a sad existence, but I fear technology will have consumed u…
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Week Fourteen: Satire and Sci-Fi

This week we were given the opportunity to listen to the original radio drama of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I thoroughly enjoyed how changing the medium brings about a whole new experience. I could now hear a more realistic interpretation of the characters and their environments. It was so much more engaging, being able to hear music and sound effects that steer your attention to a certain direction, without visually ruining the fun. At first I wondered if by not leaving the voices and sounds to my own imagination, I will miss out, but I now think it's not a better-or-worse situation, it's just a different experience - listening to it rather than reading it. Of course, not having any reading material to supplement the audio could get a little overwhelming because the level of adventure is pretty high. 
I also appreciate the subtle difference in satire sci-fi compared to normal sci-fi. The comic aspect provides the reader with space to breathe, to take in how the nar…

Week Thirteen: Revisiting The Hobbit

This week, I decided to take a break from sci-fi to go back and revisit The Hobbit as I've been trying to finish reading it over the semester. I still find it really engaging and wish I had more time to just sit in a corner and follow them on their adventure. But I wanted to note down some of my final thoughts about the novel this week.

I have now begun to see the circular nature of the hero's journey. Bilbo's perseverance and outlook has grown since the beginning and he has started to embrace his new lifestyle and family, making the prospect of returning slightly difficult to think about, yet inevitable, only now he has grown and has experienced adventure.

On another note, Tolkien makes an interesting point about race being a sociological construction, not a biological one. Each creature in The Hobbit is a different race, and there exists a hierarchy or imperialism among the races, between the dwarves, elves and hobbits. Each has is own distinct characteristics, yet that&…

Week Eleven: Cyberpunk and Steampunk

Before approaching the genre of Cyberpunk, I evaluated my understanding of it and found that I really don’t know much about it. Although I have been curious and am fascinated by the aesthetics revolving around Steampunk, Cyberpunk hasn't quite caught my attention as much. This is why I decided to try reading a Cyberpunk novel this week. I read Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.  Overall I think the read would be really engaging and gripping to a true Cyberpunk fan, however since I was new to the genre, I definitely felt like the story was rushing ahead of me at an accelerated pace. The heavy focus on the technology of the world the novel is set in, and its jargon had me struggling to follow the narrative. What I did follow however seemed captivating. 
The ideas presented in the narrative, of a computer virus infecting humans yet acts almost like a drug, appear to be scarily appropriate to our time, as humans are more and more consumed by technology. Although I found the setting to be q…

Week Ten: The Fiction of Ideas

This week's reading for me was the short story, "The Drowned Giant," by J. G. Ballard. Although I didn’t see it quite fit into the category of “science fiction” I definitely thought it was an interesting read, forward in its “fiction of ideas.” I felt the narrative was told through a very passive and objective on-looker’s perspective which made me feel like an outsider who didn’t understand the motives behind the actions of the city people. However, the detail was so vivid, in its imagery and matter-of-fact tone, that I still found I could appreciate the awkwardness of the situation.

Week Nine: Space Opera and the New Frontier

To kick off the Sci-fi chapter for this class, I decided to revisit a movie, The Martian, based on the novel by Andy Weir, from the perspective of Sci-fi literature and Space Opera. Although Space Opera revolves more around human-alien civilizations and races, possibly in conflict with each other on massive scales, across galaxies etc., a prominent element in Space Opera is the desire for exploration and to conquer the unknown. This trope is very much the foundation of The Martian, where we have humans who have set off to explore the other planets in our vast solar system, specifically Mars. There is a sense of ambition and wonder that lies behind the group of astronauts who are on the mission, as well as the ground force at NASA.

It's when Mark Watney is left behind that things get really fascinating. The use of a journal/log style of documentation, telling his story through his video journals, not only conveys his immediate thoughts and reactions to his projects and circumstance…

Week Eight: Contemporary Urban Fantasy

Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys was unexpectedly exciting for me. Having read a few of his children's stories such as Coraline before, I was surprised at the complexities and layers presented in this novel. What I enjoyed most was the sense of oral tradition and folklore that was weaved into the story. Gaiman's use of metaphorical animals and calling them "Tiger" as against "the tiger," clearly authenticated the tribal folktale nature of those stories. I could just imagine how the stories about "Tiger" and "Hyena" might have been narrated, in its expression and physical acting. Set in modern day England, the notion of the myth didn't seem outrageous because more and more, we find people with multicultural backgrounds who journey to find their roots, and I could see an element of this in Anansi Boys.

Gaiman's character development in particular, I felt successfully leant to intensifying the conflicts presented. The juxtaposition bet…