IAH 221C Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Apocalypse, Imaginary Voyage, 6 Years

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24 Feb 2020
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IAH Notes part 3:
What are some common themes of science fiction?
-alien encounters
-artificial life
-time travel
-utopias (good place)/dystopias (bad place)
-disasters and apocalypses
-evolutions
Common SF Topics:
-race
-gender
-colonialism
-class
-nature and the environment
-commercialism and the media
-religion
-satire
-science and technology
-family and relationships
-psychology
Utopia and Imaginary Travel:
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-because they depend on radically different social conditions from the author’s known world,
utopian stories also overlap with the genre of imaginary voyages, fanciful tales of journeys to
imaginary and often bizarre lands. As with utopias, imaginary voyages often have an element of
satire
The Influence of The Gothic:
-a final element of the history of science fiction is the gothic, a reworking of medieval romance,
popular in 18th and 19th centuries, such as Horace Wapole’s Castle of Otranto, and Marry
Shelly’s Frankenstein, perhaps the 1st true work of SF
-gothic stories feature dark themes, and settings in castles, ruins, graveyards, and deserted
lanscapes. The gothic is seen as an early revolt against rationalism and….
Defining Science Fiction:
-the SF genre is speculative mode of thought that might be compared with the scientific
method or pictured as a complex or unique interaction between a story and its readers
-SF has been described as the literature of change; it can be seen as a response to the industrial
revolution…
SF: Science fiction of speculative fiction?
-sometimes difficult to separate the genres of fantastic fiction. Writers and scholars of SF have
adopted the boarder term, speculative fiction
However, there are some genre distinctions of SF:
-although each SF universe is predicated on difference-physical, social, or
psychologicalthe world of speculative fiction tends to be governed by principles of causality,
physics, and human nature that we…
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