“MAN, THE FLOWER OF ALL FLESH, THE NOBLEST OF ALL
CREATURES VISIBLE … ”
1. Man: the crown of creation?
2. The Machine Stops, p. 151
HAMLET, ACT 2 SCENE 2.
3. What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In
form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an angel, in
apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world. The paragon of animals.
And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?
4. Human exceptionalism in “The Machine Stops”:
5. “Beautiful naked man was dying, strangled in the garments he had woven…
heavenly at first, shot with the colors of culture… heavenly it had been so long as
it was a garment, no more, so long as man could shed it at will and live by the
essence that is his soul, and the essence, equally divine, that is his body.”
OH, TOMORROW – SOME FOOL WILL START THE MACHINE AGAIN,
6. “Never,” said Kuno, “never.” Humanity has learned its lesson.”
HAS HUMANITY AS A WHOLE EVER LEARNED A LESSON?
7. Has humanity ever learned a lesson from technology? What are our arguments for
‘LA SCIENCE’ – ‘LE SCIENCE FICTION’? ‘FICTION’ IS MASCULINE IN
8. The covers of early science fiction magazines give us another set of ideas about
masculinity and science fiction
WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THESE MEN?
9. John w. Campell’s story, “Night” is a story about Men, and about ‘man’ and
science, adventure through rocket technology, and a strange journey. The story
focusses, as we discussed, on the end of the universe via heat death, but it also
focusses on masculinity in the 1930s.
“MEN AREN’T MEANT TO – IT’S WRONG – WRONG – “
10. What does Major Condon mean? Why does he say this?
GAZILLIONS OF YEARS INTO THE FUTURE, A VISION OF THE GALAXY –
MAYBE ALL OF THEM – DYING. ORGANIC LIFE IS OVER. 11. What are the connections between Major Condon’s exclamation and the result of
the experiment? What does the result point to about scientific experimentation?
12. The first part of the story happens very quickly, the second part slowly. The first
converges on a single event in one day, the second on the longest process in the
universe, and the last one ever.
13. Bob’s visit to the end of the universe shares narrative identity with the medieval
(and later) ‘dreamvision, in which a character has a mystical experience – is
taken our of their body – or gets to visit hell and come back to talk about it, or
medieval romance, in which a character enters a supernatural world and returns
with a story and/ oror an object,
VERY OLD KIND OF STORY, VERY NEW MATE