Textbook Notes (367,876)
Canada (161,461)
English (65)
ENG237H1 (11)

Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction NOTES.pdf

3 Pages
Unlock Document

Mike Johnstone

Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction Reading Notes Introduction: Reading Science Fiction - science fiction is less a genre than an ongoing discussion - SF can extract plot structures from many different genres - SF is often centered on what was been termed the “sense of wonder” - this is the emotional heart of SF - in early SF, the tone was primarily descriptive - SF has not remained static - from the sense of wonder we get the “grotesque” (consideration of consequences) - the “what if?” is called the “novum” (Darko Suvin) - this is crucial to SF - in SF “the idea” is the hero - this is what led to SF being called “speculative fiction” - “cognitive estrangement” is the sense that something in the fictional world is dissonant with the reader’s experienced world - to be effective, SF must be subtle - layering, embedding, and shorthand is crucial to SF - SF is concerned with romance of the universe - “Nothing could have lived up to four thousand years of waiting. Except perhaps an original theorem.” - SF is a built genre; it is its history The Icons of Science Fiction - all SF is similar in the construction of a world other than our own - the writer must in some way signal these changes, and the reader must interpret them - “icons of SF” are the signs that announce the genre - they are artistically conventional/belong to the public domain - in SF the setting is a major character - rockets, spaceships, space habitats, virtual environments - rocket = symbol of energy and escape - can be weapon or innocent - spaceship is a contained world in itself - focused less on escape, more on exploration and adventure - space habitats can have cultures and societies of their own - can be a living organism itself - locus of human relationships - virtual environment is another icon - robots, androids (and gynoids), cyborgs, aliens - robot = worker - usually follow set rules or laws - android = replicant - humanlike entity with human personality - cyborgs = human beings entirely dependent on machine parts inserted into their bodies - machine intelligence will undoubtedly become equal or greater than our own - aliens in SF often reflect issues in the real world - the issue of otherness often considered in SF - animals, vegetables, and minerals - alien plant, artifact, and planet are all vital to SF - this often draws on Earth history, culture, and diversity - the most thrilling of imagined worlds combine characteristics of “real” ecologies with authorial meaning - SF is about human culture, but portrayed through alien characteristics - mad scientists and damsels in distress - SF relies on a set of stock figures - “mad scientist” represents an idea, a discussion about the nature of responsibility, a topic for debate - hero-tales generally involve the hero being rewarded after his trials with the desirable female - modern SF has seen the emergence of the female-hero icon - today, many icons of SF are changing to keep up with the changing world - much of what ma
More Less

Related notes for ENG237H1

Log In


Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.