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Unformatted text preview: Taralynn Carter English 344 4/17/08 Outline: Comparative analysis of Science Fiction I. Science Fiction: One author’s opinion A. Sci-fi as mythology B. Sci-fi as a tool for understanding C. The conventions of sci-fi a. Set in the future b. Tests the limits of human ability c. The idea as hero II. Division of Topics: 3 conventions of sci-fi A. Set in the future a. Modern perspective on action and understanding b. Replaces mythology in modern society c. Plays into testing the limits of human ability d. Examples 1. Jules Verne, “An Express of the Future” 2. Robert A. Heinlein, “Space Jockey” B. Testing the limits of human ability a. Analytical, moral, psychological, and physical ability 1. William Gibson, “Johnny Mnemonic” 2. Isaac Asimov, “Robbie” b. Incomprehensibility of suffering 1. “a contemporary form of Eliot’s objective correlative” 2. Samuel R. Delaney, “Time Considered as a Helix of Semi- precious Stones” 3. Octavia E. Butler, “Speech Sounds” C. Idea as hero in sci-fi a. Little character development b. Frequent shift in narrator c. Examples 1. Harlan Ellison, “”Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman 2. H.G. Wells “The Star” III. Conclusion A. Summation of three prevalent conventions of sci-fi a. Future setting b. Testing limits of human ability c. Idea as hero B. Why these are the defining characteristics of sci-fi C. Why modern audiences relate to sci-fi because of these conventions Science fiction, as a genre, is relatively new. It is a genre that developed out of our need for mystery and mythology in an increasingly technological, scientific world. As Hoppenstand puts it, “Indeed, despite our pleas for rationalism, our calls for progress, our conviction in the “scientific explanation,” our need for mythology is so great, so compelling, that we have forced out culture to provide us with a new mythology—and this modern mythology is taking form in the literature of science fiction” (pg. 754). Additionally, just as mythology used to, science fiction provides us a means to understanding the human condition. The themes and moral dilemmas posed in science fiction stories are veritable “what if” questions, and allow writers and readers to posit possible reactions to situations (if improbable or even impossible) that may arise in the future. In order to serve these functions, science fiction relies on three basic conventions to be found in nearly all examples of the work: a futuristic setting, a theme involving the testing of human limits, and an idea that functions as the hero of the story....
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