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ENGL208B Final Exam
Terms in this set (180)
Definition of singularity and its influence on SF
a point where the future is no longer knowable. The end of paradigms.
This creates anxiety. SF is born of anxiety and helps us deal with it
History of Literature: pre 1800
meant "practice writing"
like schoolwork passages
History of Literature: 1800s (3)
Madam de Stael
Came up with 4 genres: philosophy, politics, science/ natural philosophy, other / literature
Literature as a classification category
History of Literature: Late 1800s (7)
- Create university system
- Literature as a field of study
Sitting Tests in British Parliament
- Britain created a democracy + monarchy without power
- anyone could have a parliament but the sitting test had lit Qs - only people who went to uni (the rich) would know
Cannon: implied the first list of "good" books
Who tried to define literature?
What are the 5 definitions of literature
1. Literature foregrounds language
- makes lang defamiliar and strange
- you want it to be ambiguous and open ended
2. Lit uses various aspects of language
- knowing all the bells and whistles of writing
- focus on technical writing
- not a great definition
3. Lit is fiction
- but there are other types
4. Lit is an aesthetic object
- it's pretty
- books referencing other books
- suggests that lit builds off other lit
- problem: accepting conformity
What is the key point of defining literature
Literature is undefinable
What are the 7 ways of defining science fiction?
- whatever the publishers defines for sales purposes
2. Examine relationship of symbolic and material in language
- material symbolism is building symbols from tangible and scientifically possible things
- SF vs. fantasy
- SF is lang of possibility
- Fantasy is lang of impossibility
- Fusion is fantasy and DR in same space
4. Darko Savvin
- must have estrangement (ovum) and cognition (familiarity)
5. Rober Scholes
- Fabulation = similar to estrangement and cog, but you don't need familiarity, you just need the message to relate back to our world
6. Broderik - Postmodern
- SF speaks to techno anxiety
- primes us for the future
- novum can create distance, which gives us a pass to discuss taboo subjects
Who is the father of english SF?
Herbert George Wells
Who is the father of french SF
What is a common experience among many SF authors?
infirmary for a few months around ages 6 - 10. Forces them to develop imagination and read
Who taught HG Wells about biology
Proponent of evolution
Aldous Huxley's grandfather
What was the first SF book? (not counting Frankenstein)
The Time Machine in 1895
What was HG Well's career like?
He was very productive for 6 years
People starting to think he was a prophet and then he believed he was a prophet and things got weird
Why is the first paragraph of The War of The World regarded as one of the best? (5)
A lot of foreshadowing / themes of the text
Arrogance of humans - major theme is knocking humans down a peg
Detached inhumane Martians. Martians are British Colonialism
- take controversial subject and make it a metaphor
Even though Martians are tough, they're vulnerable.
Discuss the theme of "humans getting their ass kicked" in WOTW (3)
Progressive decline. Main character is suicidal by the end
Degradation and humiliation gives us better understanding of a conquered person
Bacteria was a fluke - the narrator is not responsible for winning. It's not a victory
What is Wells trying to say about the church via the curate?
The church was very important for colonialist propaganda
"what good is religious if it collapses under calamity"
religion as a burden - the curate was noisy thus putting them in danger
suggest that the church has problems
What is Wells trying to say about the military via the artilleryman? (4)
Wants the narrator to join his safe house, planning underground society. Eugenic vibe
very elitist and classist
vivid fantasy - wants to take over tripod and die in a blaze of glory
He's childlike: it's a trop to take villains power and use it against them
What does the narrator's brother in London represent?
Wiping out high society
People believed that British high society was the pinnacle of human achievement
When the city goes to shit --> civilization breaks down
What is the novum from Frankenstein?
corpses can be animated
What is the story of how Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein?
horror writing context between some writers while in Switzerland holiday
Percy Shelley forced an open marriage on Mary.
They had a stillborn babe --> abandonment and loss
The Monster represents obligation and love
Victor symbolizes percy and master symbolizes stillborn baby
What is a homonculous
non human brought to life
What is the metaphor in Frankenstein
the responsibility of scientists to their science
What is victor's endeavour portrayed as? (5)
Fanatic / delirious
Defying nature = power
How does Shelley moralize science in Frankenstein?
has a negative view of science
science = power hungry, ego, evil
Shelley compares scientist to deadbeat dads and power hungry monsters
Science in the 1800s (3)
Transition from natural society (religion and science got along)
In 1859 the origin of species created dissonance between science and church
In 1882 Nietzsche wrote the death of god
- change in paradise
- no external force to give life meaning.
- life is chaos and meaningless
Tech changed the game by giving sudden, radical power
This forced people to re-evaluate their worldview
Science in literature became the enemy
Geek stereotype (3)
Created in 1800s till 1984 (when personal computers became normal)
Mad science and science as the bad guy
SF tried to work through this anxiety
Depiction of science in WOTW
Science is okay, or even good.
It allows for a villain, but isn''t the villain itself.
Scientist is cool-headed. He is not responsible for tragedy, just the witness.
What is the metaphor of the Martian invasion
Coming of the Martians = coming of age of science
Pre-martian --> Martian
Complement --> enlightenment --> afraid (but honest)
Martians gave humans knowledge to achieve flight. Why did Wells do this? (5)
1. Silver lining
2. Tech advancements are unpredictable
3. Technology advances during wartimes
4. Spirit of science - free of morality
5. Foreshadows that Martians are the human's future
How is main character of the Gift different to that of Frankenstein (5)
Brophy is like Victor
They both make mistakes
Both haunted by mistakes
Have similar drive and obsession
They both have a second change at science
How is the Gift different to Frankenstein? (4)
how the main characters change their approach the second time
Confronts science instead of avoiding it
Science is not innately good or bad
Updated view of scientist in history
Background on Metropolis (4)
First SF full length movie
At time, most expensive film made
Overt political message
Still influences visual representation now
What is the value of metropolis? (3)
1. Trainwreck element
2. World building
- ahead of its time
3. Applicable message
- we need to connect ruling and working class
Who is the mad scientist in Metropolis?
He was the first person to be a mad scientist
What is Rosslyn Hayne's defining characteristics of a mad scientist? (5)
1. Physically marked
2. Sexually frustrated
3. Socially isolated
4. Selfishly transgressing natural laws
5. Doomed pursuit of attention (childlike)
Metropolis metaphor of head / heart / hands
The head must connect to the hand to understand their pain
- Robot maria = devil symbolism
- they want a leader so bad that they'll accept her
- she used sexuality for evil
Use of christian imagery in Metropolis
Technology = sins
Robot maria = devil
The tower of Babel
- Bible story
- language and interaction
- slaves used to build
- head doesn't connect to hand so they tower falls
Tech leads to wealth
Paradox of SF
science is seen as literally evil
but the selling point of movies is the cool science
How did the cultural context change between Wells to Asimove
The Golden age of SF was from 1938 - 1965
SF was under radar, you could do things without worry of censorship
Pulp Era = mainstream, but lowbrow
Formation of genre expectations
How was Foundations published?
published in sections since 1942
The published as a full book in 1951
Wrote the beginning part last
3 books (technically 7, but the last 4 are bad)
How was WOTW published?
in 3 parts
What is the contradiction of foundations?
The whole point of psychohistory is predicting mob mentality.
All major plot changes are individuals going against mob mentalities
what are the 3 personalities of all characters in foundations?
1. Smart guy
2. Naive student
3. dumb villain
What did Foundations do for character
de-emphasize character, which set up the genre
who the character is. Pivotal to literature
A process by which the author expresses who the character is
Saying the character should change over the story. Shakespeare started this. Thus impresses significance of events
The foundation itself changes
A bunch of characters coming together to make 1 big character
Ex. the foundation
Ex. all the characters in Harry Potter
Off the shelf character
Can give character without characterization
Ex. country bot that has never seen the city
Ex. action hero guy --> Bourne, Batman, Rambo
Opposite to character
Can be used to establish contrast and help us understand the character
Ex. Betty & Veronica
Created cyclical history.
the idea that history keeps repeating itself
What does the foundation represent?
The Holy Roman Empire
Hiding knowledge to preserve and keep away from dark ages.
What do nucleus represent?
Monks use knowledge of language = power
What is Marxist Determinism (4)
History is not about great men, it's about daily life
Belief that society (as a mass) is predictable
The opposite of free will and great people
What is the predictable stages of society? (5)
1. Upper class exploits lower class
2. Gap increases
3. Reaches a tipping point and the lower class rebels
4. Bring rich people down
Explain "a sense of futility and awe"
everyone is ultimately powerless. This makes you feel futile.
The futility makes you feel awe and comfort. It absolves you of responsibility
Seldon is analogous to God's plan
Both comforting and horrifying
What is the council of newton
society should be ruled by the smart people
What legacy does the foundation leave?
Legacy = what values do we save?
What we save = what's important
They choose to save science / intelligence
Is Sheldon good or bad?
He could be a true altruist - he wanted to save civilization and becoming God is a consequence
Or he's an egomaniac and just wanted to become a God
What real life invention did Arthur C Clarke come up with?
the idea for geosynchronous satellites
Satellite that's fixed to a place on earth
Instant communication - telecommunication
How does "The Star" decontextualize Christ's story
The star that shone over Bethlehem was a galaxy dying.
It puts a negative spin on a positive symbol.
Undermines portion of morally righteous God
Faith as a casualty of science
"It is 3000 light years to the vatican"
- establish contrast between new and tradition
- can religion and future / tech cohabitant?
How does The Star juxtapose religion and tech (3)
1. Making the star over Bethlehem a dying galaxy
2. Symbolism of a cross hanging over a computer
3. Narrator being a jesuit (christian but scientific)
Significance of the ending of The Star
"The ancient mystery is solved at last. God why did you do this?"
Concludes that he doesn't believe in God, then still talks to God.
Shows desperation of narrator to believe in God, even with contrasting evidence
What is the plot of 2001: A Space Odyssey (6)
1. Apes touch the monolith and can use tools
2. They find a second monolith on the moon
3. Monolith sends beam to Jupiter
4. They go to Jupiter and find a third monolith
5. That creates the "starchily" (a giant baby)
6. Monolith is a symbol for human evolution)
What religion does 2001 play off of?
Origin of Nietzsche's Theory (god is dead) --> evolution
How does HAL appear human? (6)
1. Demonstrates curiosity
- asks questions
2. Frank senses something strange with HAL
- you don't get intuition about machines
3. HAL ignores orders
- capable of free will
4. HAL gives Dan an explanation before killing him
- he also hesitates before he explains
5. HAL is scary
6. HAL is tragic
- his death is sad
3 theories why HAL is human-like
1. He is broken
2. He is following orders
- he is just doing what's best for humanity, but maybe going a bit too far
3. He is evolving due to proximity to monolith
Why is the monolith so nondescript? (3)
1. Blank slate - can allow people to project their interpretation on it
2. Transcendental life form - pure matter / energy
3. Religious - ZA symbolism
What is the main point of super toys?
What is our obligation to the machines we create?
What did John Ruskin create?
Pathetic Fallacy = projecting emotion on to inanimate -objects
Books are just dead trees, but you can feel things if you look at it long enough
What is the uncanny valley
Curve of how much something looks human and how creepy it is
We are okay with things that look totally non-human and totally human, but not the stuff in between
What is fridging?
throwing female character under the bus (killing her) just to motivate the male characters
Who was Ursula K. LeGuin
The daughter of Alfred Kroeber, famous anthropologist
She wrote essays about how regressive SF was.
What effect did Ursula K LeGuin have? (3)
Her essays worked! Women started writing SF, and started social SF.
Philosophical paradigm shift away from Cartesian philosophy
Success of SF for feminist allegories
New Wave SF (6)
2. Started with Dune
3. Response to stagnation of golden-age. People wanted new ideas
4. Non-science people started writing SF.
5. SF became more literary, softer, and more artistic
4 examples of New Wave authors / texts
Brian Aldiss - super toys
Robert Silverbeg - passengers
What did plato say about mind-body dualism?
Said that the mind matters more than the body
What is the cave metaphor?
If you're locked in a cave your whole life and only see people's shadows. One day you leave the ave and see people. When you go back to the cave and tell people, they don't believe you and they get hostile.
What is cartesian logic?
I think therefore I am.
How do you know that reality is real?
Self = thought
Mind and body are separate
How did Freud contribute to mind-body dualism?
Contribute to mind-body relationship
Genitalia defines your integration with the world
Study of Lacan
Penis envy as phalic economy
Society is favourable to men
Genitals are important in our interaction with the world.
Female genitalia is passive; vagina = sheath
Bordo and mind-body dualism (6)
body is a text.
We look at someone's body and make judgements
Our bodies change how we interact with the world
Technology complicates this because we can change our bodies
--> writing our own text
But there isn't one ideal. There are 2. Male and female.
Gender changes physical experiences (sports, sex, dance)
Lacon and mind body dualism
You're not a person until you can recognize yourself as a single person - separate from others
Essential Feminism (3)
You are brain and body
Being a woman changes how you interact with the worlds and your experience
What is mind-body dualism
Mind and body are the same thing. They are equally important
What is it called when you use allegory or a ovum to say things you can't say directly?
What does When it Changed say about men and women (1)
Men have more strength and therefore power. Women are viewed as second class
Who wrote "when it changed
Why is the planet in "when it changed" called "while away"
they know that the planet is temporary.
Isolation from men in the world are also temporary. Women only spaces are temporary and contested
Gender roles in When it Changed
Could go either way
That even in a same-sex relationship, people fall into the nurturer-hunter relationship.
Or it could be that the roles aren't as strict. They can e filled based on characteristics, not gender. The gatherer is also a fast driver, and the hunter is also a mother
women are only bugged by men because they have what men want --> the ability to give them children
Talk about Octavia Butler
Won the MacArthur Genuis Grant
Looked androgynous, which gave her interesting perspective on gender roles
Allegory from Bloodchild
pressure of women to child bear - breeding stock
Discuss the significance of the game preserve in Bloodchild
Preserve = the home
It doesn't look like a prison, but you're stuck there
Like a woman in an abusive relationship
Eliminate rights under lie of protection
Discuss the significance of the parasite character in Bloodchild
Parasite = carrier
Reproductive responsibility --> you're stuck with it but the one who put it in them doesn't do anything
Questions assumption of women wanting children
Discuss the significance of seduction in Bloodchild
Idea of destiny
Still feeling loved / attached to an abuser
Discuss the significance of the eggs in Bloodchild
Aliens are placating and forcing dependence
Eggs are basically drugs (alcohol)
Discuss the significance of body horror in Bloodchild
By making the story gross, Butler is saying that the way we treat women as breeding stock is gross
What is the real name of Alice Sheldon?
James Tiptree Jr
What is the allegory in The Women Men Don't see? How do they do this? (1)
men don't understand how hard it is to be a woman
Done via fallible narrator (don)
How does legacy play into the Women Men Don't See
Ruth wants a better life for her daughter, she's willing to do desperate things
What is the Lacan Masquerade? What story does it relate to?
Women wear a mask of femininity to conform to what men expect of them
Relates to "The Women Men Don't See"
Ruths plan only worked because the men underestimated her
Give 1 example of how SF influenced society?
Stranger in a Strange Land
Inspired the hippy movement
What are 8 ways where we learn to be human?
2. other humans (social learning)
3. active teaching
6. institutions / education system
7. legal system
8. social norms
What is the cornerstone of post-colonial studies
Self / other dichotomy
Who came up with the self / other dichotomy
in the 1970s
What essay did Harraway write?
The cyborg Manifesto
considered the greatest development of western philosophy since the 1950s
What is a cyborg
organism that enhances abilities using technology
How is the female body portrayed in literature? Give 4 examples
1. The bible and how women are just from adam's rib
2. Freud and penis envy
3. Oedipus and electra
4. Goddess in Greco-Roman --> women are on a pedestal
What is cyborg feminism?
Proposed naturalization of tech. Argues that we should combine them.
We are already cyborgs. The female body is already a cyborg. There is not a natural state, therefore not an "ideal"
Tech is already a big part of us. We create false boundaries because we want to be natural, but there are no universal values, we make our own.
What is the underwater line in Driftglass a metaphor for?
the building of the railway
Where are the names 'Cal and Ariel" from in Drigtglass
story of white wizard that enslaves natives.
Cal = beast
Ariel = fairy.
Tells us that this story is about race / class
What does the drift glass represent in Driftglass?
Easy to overlook.
Like the fish people --> altered by environment in complex way.
Idea that something can be pollution and then become beautiful.
Symbolizes what the ocean has done to Cal
What is the big question from Passengers
to what extent is what the passengers do = what you did?
What is the equivalent thing in the real world to the Passenger
we sometimes forgive people when they're drunk - similar to how you're not culpable while taken over by a passender
What does "Passengers" say about mind-body dualism?
Self becoming the other
Undermines notion of bodily integrity
Body is not sacred
To what extent are experience in your body in another consciousness you?
In passangers, mind and body are not same
What does Ex Machina mean?
From the machine
What is the inversion is ex machine?
killer wants to kill his creation and the creation kills him.
Built thing becomes the builder
What is the allegory in Ex Machina
the cave experiment
The last shot is the shadows
How is Frankenstein similar to ex machine (3)
1. Relationship between creator and created
2. Both creations want humanity
3. Creator becomes consumed by power (God complex)
How did William Gibson's personal life influence SF?
he was a tippy, traveller, heavy drug user
Cyberpunk is drug heavy. Before that, SF looked own on drug use
what are 3 things that Gibson created?
The word cyberspace
The cyberpunk genre - Neuromancer
The steampunk genre - The Difference Enginer
What 2 media did Gibson write for?
Parallel thinking (definition + 1 example)
when 2+ people have the same idea at the same time independently
Ex. Neuromancer and bladerunner
a subgenera of SF and dystopian fiction focusing on advanced tech such as computers or IT + some degree of breakdown in the social order
can be a subgenera of SF, but doesn't have to be.
A bad place --> a failed utopia
What are the key elements of cyberpunk (7)
1. Consensual hallucination of cyberspace
2. Hard-boiled hero / anti-hero
- someone tough
3. Movement from political --> corporate regimes
4. Melting pot of cultures with emphasis on Asiatic
5. Self-augmentation through tech (cyborgs, transhumanism)
6. Drug use
7. Punk Culture
Key elements of punk culture (5)
Started in Britain 1960s / Cali 1970s
individuality and free though
anarchy is not chaos
expression of discontent
Devaluation of humanity - not all life is special
didn't do cyberpunk because he thought it was nostalgic - seeing the past as amazing and the future as bleak
he thought SF had a duty to be optimistic about the future
explaining one sense via another
what are companies about cyberpunk? (6)
2. since it prioritized style, it now dates itself
3. Weak female characters
- powerful but not empowered
4. valorizes criminal activities
5. columbine - blamed cyberpunk stuff
6. simplistic power fantasy for computer nerds
What is Philip K Dick's life story (2)
Had a twin sister that died in infancy
very poor. but other writers knew he was good though, so they supported him
We can remember it for you wholesale
the text is a riddle
instead of unravelling a mystery, you start with a stable premise that unravels
What is the singularity institute for AI
real life institution
how should we deal with the singularity once it starts
human thinking has a biological limit
What is the biggest problem with AI
humans interjecting our human qualities into it.
Like, neuromancer doesn't care at all about humanity
Life of allen Turing (4)
1. Father of CS and AI
2. 1912 - 1954 --> suicie
3. Cryptographer in WW2
4. Openly gay --> illegal and convicted --. chemical castration
What did Samuel Butler say about humans?
Humans are the genitals of machines
We only exist to spread machines
How does Turing say humans are like machine (3)
The definition of machine can be applied to humans
1. Divide into parts
2. Parts adjust in reaction to each other
3. Adjust movement of machine allows function
What does turing care about?
If you think it's a human, then it's a human
Argues that we often hold things separate that are actually the same. There is a discontinuity. There have been 3 in the past
- Copernicus - we are not > other planets
- Darwin - we are not > other animals
- Freus - we are not inherently civilized, we have animal urges
the current one
- humans vs. machines
- as long as we separate ourself from machines we are perpetrating a discontinuity that keeps us from learning the truth
How does Descartes feel about human / machines
If a machine imitated a human how could you tell?
argues that machines would fail because they wouldn't be able to do ALL the things humans do
People keep moving the line of what computers can do
- beat chess master
- win Jeopardy
We keep sliding the boundary so we can maintain the duality
If we value intelligence as human cross-species, we have to do it intra-species. Are smarter humans "more humans"
What are 9 arguments against machine intelligence and Turing's refute against them?
1. thinking is a function of man's immortal soul
- he doesn't believe in religion
2. this is uncomfortable, let's not talk about it
3. There are limits to MI thinking
- MI is increasing, and human I is staying the same
4. M can't make art from a genuine place
- imitation game
5. There are certain things machines can't do
- imitation game
6. Machines can only do what we tell them to
- maybe humans don't either
- biological input / output
7. Human NS is not a discrete state machine
- this can be true of machines too
8. Humans are unpredictable
- so can machines
- space invaders
9. humans have some ESP
- the imitation can be changes to stop skewing from AI
Did Armitage pass the turing test?
Case clearly realizes he's strange
Did Dixin pass the turing test?
Dizie has to remind Case he's not human
Did winter mute pass the turing test
also winterte is armitage.
What is the chinese room theory
John Searle 1980
largely disproved, but important at the time
a machine that is input-output with chinese rule book. The person inside doesn't understand chinese, but it appears that they do
Comprehension is key to intelligence
improve human experience with tech. Make people better.
Preserve humanity bu limitations
terrorist group who was mad because mechanical looms took their jobs.
Now it just means someone who is afraid of tech for no reason
We need to preserve genes.
That's the line
What does Silver say about bioconservatism
reproductive isolation is key
we cannot f*ck with human genes to the point of being a new species.
What transhumanist things have we already done?
sterilization of Down's people
you can choose sex of child
Self aware cyberpunk
Ex. Snow crash - makes fun of neuromancer. Ended the cyberpunk era
What was the first depiction of VR in SF
What is the message of the veldt
human relationship passed on to tech, undermines human relationship.
Our inability to maintain ideal once tech gives us something convenient
The Difference Engine
Written by Gibson and Sterling
In real life, during reign of Queen Victoria, Babage proposed essentially a computer. She Said no.
This story is an alternate history of if she said yes.
Origin of steampunk
SF tales that combine tech and gothic elements of victoria adventures.
Often set in Victoria London, or the American west.
When was the victorian era
Queen Victoria's reign
1837 - 1891
When england became an empire
Is steampunk an accurate representation of the victoria era?
No. It doesn't look at the historical victorian era, it looks at the perception of the era.
There isn't a singular historical truth. Perception is key.
Recognizing that there is not one true history. There are multiple histories.
- the more people believe a history, the less valid it is.
- local truth is the most accurate, but it's subjective.
What is Top Down Theory
Part of genealogy
People think that the power is at the top. but it's actually at the bottom and it flows up.
Cult of heroism
What we need from our heroes
We want to rebel, but we're scared
Liking people who rebel is a safe expression
Does this hurt the rebellion because then people are placated by their heroes? Or does it further rebellion
Post human vs. post apocalyptic
post-human is a long existed sub-genre of post-apocalyptic
post human is usually humans gradually dying out, but apace is usually humans are wiped out during a big event
Life of Brian K. Vaughn
Born in Cleveland
Worked at marvel
Married a canadian
born in croatia
moved to canada as a kid
started in marvel's x-line
Why did Canada form?
French and english canada joined together because they were afraid of americans
mostly british or french
The beaver wars - popularity of beaver hat, so they fought over land where beavers were
Tried to ransom canada to free ireland from britain
but partly why canada doesn't like americans, they didn't stop the fennians
russian sold alaska to USA
Roosevelfy asked for a panhandle to alaska in Canada
Canada said no, and roosevelt sent warships
Originally Britain supported canada and then completely flipped, and we don't know why
not a good idea to invade a country
best way to invade is to do it culturally
explores relationship between humanity and its environment
focus on setting
SF set in a world with a lot of resources and no problems
Going Native Trope
Guy from the "bad guys" comes to indigenous people and ends up becoming the best.
Relationship with nature determines if you're a good person
Shower scene in WSOG
absence of water, but she's showering.
Naked, showing that she's good and natural as opposed to the tech/ unnatural americans
symbol of canadian unity
American just put a sloppy use flag over it with an offensive casualness
use of superman in WSOG
sense of cultural anxiety
we love to point out that a canadian illustrated superman
created what we think about spaceships in media
created ships in hollywood
main marvel illustrator
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