Science Fiction: Parody and Satire

Ah yes, Satire. How It is so well hidden in great comedies. There is something powerful about material that makes you laugh yet makes you think about what/who it is really making fun of and why.

Some of Monty Python’s work really points out the flaws of the human kind, and yet still makes us laugh at our own stupidity, but we are here to talk about SCY-FY satire!! In Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a work of science fiction, its funny dry humor and crazy characters are used to reflect politics, the human condition and  flaws of man-kind. What really makes novels/movies/ect. like this important, interesting, and valuable, is they are meant to be ready/watch/listened too, several times. The first time one watches it, they might find it funny and wacky, but the more that they see it, the more of the message gets through. That is how I felt about the movie Idocracy. I watched in when i was younger, and thought it was just silly, funny and down right ridiculous.But it is meant to be ridiculous, because it reflects us and society!!! I watched it again at the age of 20 and more of it is clear to me, and though it is still funny, it is also sad. The future-ristic world the movie is based in is a replica of our world and where it is headed. Even though the movie is taking a jab at our generation and our stupidity, i do find the ways we get through life relying on other things very interesting and creative. The nurses don’t know much, they just follow what the technology says. We rely to heavily on this, just like how we all use calculators. How often to people do heavy math on paper? Why would we, when we can just press a button on our phone and it does it for us? If you don’t lose it you lose it….this phrase seems very important now.

Where is our future headed? Are we too reliable on technology? Will we dumb down as our technology gets smarter? Politics will probably never change, but our technology will.

Urban and Contemporary Fantasy

Contemporary and Urban Fantasy are genres that included fantasy elements in ordinary worlds/lives that are the same as our own. These novels typically stay true to the real worlds but add a dash of magic and wonder in, that changes the whole equation taking something ordinary and making it extraordinary and believable…. as if it could actually happen, or is happening…

These forms of Fantasy are very appealing in the way it is handled. For Urban and Contemporary Fantasy, the magical, supernatural, fantastical aspects of the novels are often well hidden, and later on discovered or revealed by the characters. The genre relies heavily the wonders of the natural world and the secrets that are hidden within.

There is something very like-able about these stories because they give the readers a sense that, maybe, just maybe there are things out there that are unworldly and magical that are hidden from us too.

95 % of the world’s Oceans are unexplored. UNEXPLORED. This fact only gives life to these novels and the idea that, there is so much we have not seen yet, and so much we don’t know about, making Contemporary Novels all the more realistic.

Almost all Cultures have myths and stories about creatures they believe to exist but have not proof such as the sasquatch, loch-ness monster, unicorns, Chupacabra and so on. And it’s these myths that often fuel Contemporary and Urban fantasy in some cases. Myths and ideas that are sometimes already establish and well known such as the land of fairies.

In the Wood Wife, she doesn’t discover the wonders and magical aspects of her world until she is surrounded by nature. She finds this part of life, or it found her. Either way, this genre isn’t like full blown Fantasy where characters ride around on dragons fighting ogres, it is more about Finding the magic in our own lives and how wondrous unbelievable thing are happening without us noticing….Especially with Urban Fantasy. In the Sorcerer’s apprentice, a whole world of magic and sorcerers is revealed, yet hidden in the big city where the main characters live.

In memory and Dream, the magic comes from the character who’s paintings come to life and who’s art ‘awakens ancient spirits’. The scale of Fantasy aspects are small (in comparison to full blown fantasy) in this and other Contemporary novels, but that is what gives them their charm.

Overall Contemporary/Urban Fantasy is like a country home, it has it’s quaint charm and is simple. It isn’t as flashy and crazed with all the hustle n bustle of the big city (full blown fantasy.)

Fiction of Ideas: The Base of Science Fiction

By the 1960s Science Fiction was becoming more serious and began to be about real issues in many categories I will mention later. It wasn’t just about space ships and plasma guns anymore, it was becoming something much greater and more involved.

These new revolution in Science Fiction was: The future is not made of or about the tools and advancements in technology, it is about what has been here and always will be here…..biology, sociology, anthropology and psychology. Science Fiction isn’t even about the Future!

In the series Dune, they focus on the advancement of the human mind, and it becomes a powerful weapon. This stands out to me, because Science Fiction to me is about advanced military, weapons, and other forms of technology, but the movie focuses on the human Psych as if saying, all this shiny cool stuff aside, the natural world and its gifts are just as powerful and are important, and must not be forgotten

A certain series of books and a movie franchise bursts into my head when I think about Fiction of Ideas. This Science Fiction franchise is about how Science and advance technology can give us something we could only dream of happening/witnessing. This franchise is about human advances towards greater knowledge and achievement, but only to be grounded and destroyed under the power of Mother Nature and biology. This Science Fiction story is less about cool shiny things and what they can do, but about how no matter how advanced human’s get, no matter how good our technology may be, we can never over power the Natural World. We can never play God.

Have you guessed what it is yet?

Infomania-Jurassic-Park-007

Jurassic Park Baby.

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No Matter how awesome our advancements and inventions get, we can never beat NATURE.

This franchise is more than just entertaining, but a very strong concept about how future advancements for the human kind doesn’t mean the laws of the world don’t apply to us. When it comes down to it, the basic principles of life cannot be cheated, beaten, or out-smarted.

The New Movie coming out soon touches on this same idea. They genetically engineer Dinosaurs, because they think they have the right just because they have the ability. This theory is wrong, and the consequences will be dire.

Science Fiction took a turn, and I am glad for it. These new issues Science Fiction focuses on really bring realism to the genre, and give it more meaning.

Diverse Position Science Fiction

Is Science Fiction Changing in order to reach to a broader more diverse group of people?

This is a question, i can not answer, because I have no read enough of the new Science Fiction that is arising such a question as this. But what i do have is a response to the question….

If Science Fiction is being changed because it is becoming more diverse, i only see this as a positive.  Science Fiction does not belong to one culture, one race, one mind set, and by having many different forms and views of Science Fiction only makes it stronger. The reason we read Genre Fiction such as Science Fiction is because it is new, and about something that isn’t real, and we are taken to a new world, and by having different ‘minds’ writing the Science Fiction, it really makes things different.

Whether we like the new versions of science Fiction or not, we should learn to appreciate the different takes of the Genre.

Now i can understand people who have a hard set idea of what they want and expect out of a Science Fiction Novel or Movie, and when they don’t get it, it makes them upset or disappointed. But I personally find new versions of a set idea such as Science Fiction as very interesting, whether i like it or not, whether i agree with it or not, it is interesting to see how other view the same idea/genre as you. It is sort of an opening into their mind or culture.

Just as artists view the same thing, but portray it differently through art, whether you like their style or not, it is still interesting to see things through their eyes and how they process the same thing in different ways.

I might just be too opened minded though ha.

Literary Fiction VS. Speculative Fiction

Speculative fiction’s goal typically is entertainment. Where as Literary is more ‘serious.’ The two are sub groups of Fiction, and have been battling each other for years. But why fight each other, when they could work together?

I am a fan of both forms of Fiction, and find that, when the two are intertwined, they create a marvelous mixture called……Literary Speculation. For example, The Aquatic Uncle, it is a literary piece that takes current real world views, problems, and situations, and makes it into something Fantastical.

The best way to describe Literary Speculation is like fruit, because not only is it healthy for you, but it tastes good too. (Maybe I’ll insert a better metaphor here later on. Leave a comment if you have a better metaphor than mine.)

Speculative Fiction is about escaping reality, and being swept away into something new, whereas Literary Fiction is more how to assess our world, and how others deal and cope with reality. I see Literary Fiction as a guide, on what to do, and what not to do. It is the best of both worlds when done correctly. I imagine it is much harder to pull off, and the author has to be really good in order to manage a Speculative Literary novel.

A novel called Seven Souls seems to fit into the Speculative Literary Genre. It was a novel about living through the eyes of other people, seeing yourself from another point of view, and how one person affects so many lives for the better or the worse. The novel is serious, in a lot of aspects, and it really opened my eyes to a lot of things, however, the novel was based around a curse that allowed the main character to live through other people and go back in time and relive certain parts of her life over and over.

It was very entertaining, yet it made me think and ask myself questions. I highly recommend the novel. It is under the category of horror/thriller and other genres’ but since it is about real world problems, and about how people see one another, it makes it Literary Fiction to me. It wasn’t full of symbolism, but it still had meaning. Literary Fiction is about reality, and it involves conflict that can apply to us, and this novel really grasps something that not a lot of people think about and says ‘hey, pay attention to how you treat others and how other view you, or you could end up like this…”

I have read a good collection of Literary Fiction such as the Help, A Separate Piece, The Secret Life of Bees, and I find them just as appealing as Speculative Fiction, but only AFTER I finished reading them. It is hard to sit down and prepare for a ‘SERIOUS’ novel you know is going to connect with you on deep levels and probably awaken an emotional side to you that you aren’t ready to deal with. Literary Fiction is good for us though, especially when we are in our Youth, because a lot of Literary Fiction is coming of age novels, and it can prepare youth for how to deal with life and witness how other characters are handling a reality parallel to theirs. But of course, it is a drag to start a novel as such. Genre Fiction has us ready to read just by the cover though.

Literary Fiction is highly important, but Genre Fiction is too. And I’m glad to see the two coming together making Speculative Literary Fiction. I hope this is a trend that will lift off and continue to grow.

The Aquatic Uncle: In Class Writing

Are there any prominent symbols in the story? If so, what are they and how are they used?

In the Aquatic Uncle, some prominent symbols arise such tadpole, paws, and other physical attributes that symbol stages in life. It parallels modern life.

The main character is a ‘tad pole’ because he is stuck between the two different ‘stages’ of life. He is not completely part of the ‘new world’ and he is the unappealing side of the beginning of a ‘new way’ of life. Lll his fiancé is more ‘evolved’ and her ‘paws’ are referred to allot which symbolizes her advanced ways. She represents the modern side of today and the uncle represents the old beliefs/ways of older generations.

Later Lll leaves her fiancee to be with the Aquatic uncle, which represents that maybe our modern lives will go back to the older ways, (Lll thinks the future lays in water= the future belongs to older ways of life)

What connections did you make with the story you read? Discuss the elements of the work with which you were able to connect.

This story reminds me of my grandparents, who are set in their ways. They have a certain way of life that they stuck to, and they (much like N’ba N’ga) prefer their way of life compared to the more new way. N’ba N’ga often makes remarks and uses sayings that don’t exactly make sense or apply to the main character, and this is much like my grandfather who would say things that applied to an older way of life, that meant nothing to us.

In the story the main character, as well as ‘the family’ try to persuade N’ga N’ba to come to land and live the way they are, but he refuses. I tried the same with my grandfather, i tried to open his mind to a new way of thinking, but he was too set in his ways. My grandmother however, was eventually guided to a more modern way of doing things as well as her view of the world. This story makes me chuckle since it reflects a lot of the people who are like N’ga N’ba.

What changes would you make to adapt this story into another medium? what medium would you sue. What changes would you make?

For the fun of it, I would take this story and make it into a live action fantasy movie. The main elements of the story will remain, but the character will be more humanized. There would be a fully aquatic ‘humans’, amphibian like humans (both land and water) and fully land dwelling humans. Of course there would be an epic battle between the different ‘races’ or ‘species’. Instead of having just the uncle as the aquatic dweller, I would make a whole group of aquatics that are against moving to land and see themselves as the better species. In the end, the main character’s land dwelling fiancée, would leave him for the aquatic uncle, and leave him broken hearted. The amphibian species who are not fully aquatic or land dwelling, would be seen as inferior, where as the fully aquatic and fully land dwellers would be ‘pure blood’ and fully evolved. This might actually make a really good movie now that I think about it…..

Science Fiction part 3: Cyberpunk and Steam Punk

Despite the fact I have seen/read very little involving this sub-genre, i must say, I like it.

Personally I think I like Steam Punk more than Cyberpunk. Steam Punk revolves around 19th century industrial steam-powered machinery. I feel like Steam Punk is more inventive and creative sometimes than Cyberpunk and also it can be more fantastical. Also the design and style of 19th century is more appealing to me any way.

The only Steam Punk movie I have seen (and LOVED) is WILD WILD WEST. This movie is about  two men who come together to stop the bad guy with highly advanced technology. One of the coolest things in the movie is the ‘bad guy’ has a steam powered giant mechanical  Tarantula that he uses to take over the railroads.imagesimages-1

As for body modification, (an aspect in steam/cyber punk) the villain in the movie has no legs, and has a steam powered wheel chair that later on gets more advanced and does some pretty cool things. The only thing lacking, is the awesome steam punk Female. There is a female love interest int he movie, who can hold her own and has her moments, but she is not what I expect out of a full blown heroine.

As for Cyber Punk, I Robot will be my choice of topic (another movie with Will Smith). I Robot is a great example of Cyberpunk where technology is highly advanced, but the world is a ball of trash. The main character has a robotic arm in place of the one he lost in an accident; Body modification is big in Cyber/steam punk, but this movie doesn’t go crazy with it, but keeps it simple and reasonable, which is quite charming and realistic. The machines/robots/programs are becoming highly advanced, and at one point turn on this humans as expected. This movie is great, but yet again, it is lacking in a Alpha, badass, heroine. The female is there as a love interest, and she is not good at taking care of her self.

I hear about these leather jacket, weapon wielding, badass heroines of these genres, but have yet to see it. So if you have any good suggestions please leave a comment. Cyberpunk and Steam Punk do not need this alpha female to be successful clearly, but for some of us, that is a big part of the genre.

As for Body Modification, I think it is another great aspect of the genre besides the heroine. For Steam punk and Cyberpunk, body modifications is not about necessarily about looking better. People are not getting plastic surgery because their lips aren’t big enough, they are getting mechanical eyes, arms, and other parts as replacements. These modifications are not good looking all the time, but make great objects of defense and attack. There is something really fascinating about being fused with technology to make a ‘super human’. In the genre of Fantasy, you are either born with powers, or have to go through hell to attain them, but in Cyber/steam punk, anyone can have body modifications that give them super human abilities. If i could, i would definitely take part in the modification process if it gave me greater speed, strength, abilities, and so on. Maybe that’s just me.