585_week7 - School of Communication and Information

January 5, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Psychology
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Marija Dalbello

Reading Interests of Adults Science fiction

Rutgers School of Communication and Information [email protected]

Overview _______________________________________ Introduction What is Speculative fiction? Science fiction and Fantasy: Points of comparison The literature of “What if?” World-building Fandom and fan communities History and types of science fiction Conclusion

What is speculative fiction (SF)? _______________________________________ Speculative literature or speculative fiction Umbrella term for science fiction, fantasy fiction, horror fiction, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, and alternate history Popularized by writers of the New Wave movement in the 1960s-1970s - genre as literary production Term originates from Robert A.Heinlein (1947) - synonymous with science fiction, to exclude fantasy Revival in the past decade to include fantasy - emphasis on literary and critical perspectives of SF writing

Comparing science fiction and fantasy

The literature of WHAT IF …? _______________________________________ Science fiction Imagination provides access to experience and social experiment “Access to understanding and experiencing our past, present, and future in terms of an imagined future” (Cramer 1994)

Argument for an imagined world-order

Science fiction is any story that argues the case for a changed world that has not yet come into being. (Herald 2006, 313)

Fantasy An allegorical springboard for nostalgic leaps to the past or into alternative worlds The Difficult truths can sometimes only be told through the medium of fantasy. (Herald 2000, 267)

Comparing science fiction and fantasy

World-building _______________________________________ Tolkien’s definition of the fantasy genre elements (from: On Fairy-Stories): Creation of an internally consistent secondary world (the “subcreation”) The use of Faerie (the use of magic and enchantment) World is accessed by the narrative skill of the author and the imaginative willingness of the reader

Comparing science fiction and fantasy

World-building _______________________________________ Extrapolative fiction - Science fiction Abrupt transition from our world to the fantasy world Transitions initiated by scientific mechanisms that transport us from our world to the fantasy world Evocative fiction - Fantasy Another world is presented as clean and whole Another world is the place where the reader lives in for the length of the reading We learn not only about an alternative world but also an entire and parallel world history, with myths and values, villains and heroes

Relevant approaches and theories

Fields of cultural production _______________________________________

Fields of cultural production (Bourdieu) expanded beyond the producers of texts to producers of meanings around texts Camille Bacon-Smith’s study of the culture of Worldcon conventions and fandom - ethnographic approach to describe the lived reality of science fiction community (readers and consumers of cultural products, creators and the industries) Production and consumption in science fiction connected Cultures of association exemplified in fandom - provide space outside of mainstream culture Genres: science fiction, fantasy, costumers SUCH AS IN …

Relevant approaches and theories

Fields of cultural production _______________________________________

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Historical development _______________________________________ Precursors (19th century) 1818 Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein Edgar Allan Poe, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells

Science fiction (SF) term coined in 1929 and commonly accepted by 1930s

The Golden Age of science fiction (1930s-1940s) Celebrates the world of patriarchal technological modernity Focus on the mechanical, and how machines would change the world Technology is the essence and basis for characterization, plot is subsidiary Alien contact (1950s) Concern with what is out there Gives rise to BEM (bug-eyed-monsters)

Historical development _______________________________________

The New Wave (1960s-1970s) Non-mechanical sciences (novels deal with psychology, sociology, and how humans relate to their world and to change) - 1960s Feminist utopian and dystopian narratives - 1970s Cyberpunk (starts in 1980s) Technology is portrayed as being limited Dystopian visions of technology and progress Scientific advances (starts in 1990s) New technological developments (nanotechnology, AI, bioengineering) become a visible force of the field The Future at Risk (last decade) Technology themes, dystopian visions, eco-terrorism, identities, etc.

An overview

Types and Trends _______________________________________

Hard SF Stories set in near future - focus on plausible science Scientists and their families, and those immediately affected by science Includes: Space travel and planetary exploration Utopian science fiction

New Wave Stories set in the near future - focus on the soft sciences (sociology, psychology, even religion) Focus on social order and politics (morality in focus) The “imaginative vision” for the present Literary in nature (speculative fiction)

Slide based on handout developed by Bonnie Kunzel

An overview

Types and Trends _______________________________________

Science and Sociology Social consequences of technical and scientific change Focus on biotechnology, computers, robots, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence Cyberpunk Technology of the internet and hacker culture set in the near future, including elements of popular culture

The Future at Risk Social consequences of technical and scientific change focus on disaster or socio-economic focus Includes:

Disaster fiction (response to natural occurrences such as mutation) and apocalyptic end of everything Dystopia: consequences of everyday behavior taken to extremes (a negative vision of politics, society, economy, and science and technology; feminist perspectives Slide based on handout developed by Bonnie Kunzel

An overview

Types and Trends _______________________________________

Space opera “Westerns in Spacesuits” on other planets, with stereotypical characters Including: Galactic Empires, Military Science Fiction, The Great Conflict, After the Fall

Inner space and special powers Focus on the human mind and its powers, verging on fantasy Including: extrasensory powers, religious and messianic fiction

Slide based on handout developed by Bonnie Kunzel

Conclusion _______________________________________ Science fiction is closely related to fantasy Imagining an alternative social order and society Reflecting on the consequences of technological modernity Reflecting on the consequences of techno-scientific progress Imagining the limits of humanity and its dystopian futures Imagining transcendent humanity and its utopian advancement

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