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Dystopian Dreams of Dying Worlds: A Trio of Original Science Fiction Stories and an Analysis of How Science Fiction Examines the Other

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dc.contributor.author Neyens, Desiree
dc.date.accessioned 2021-02-15T15:39:08Z
dc.date.available 2021-02-15T15:39:08Z
dc.date.created November 7, 2019 en_US
dc.date.issued 2021-02-15
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/3618
dc.description.abstract Among myriad definitions of science fiction and just as many differing opinions about how it operates, two scholars and authors offer helpful defining characteristics of the genre: Professor James Gunn writes that, “Science fiction is the literature of change” (vii), and Professor Christopher McKitterick adds that, “more than just a literary mode. SF is an ongoing conversation” (19). Some scholars believe science fiction to be prophetic, others simply view it as a form of escapism, and still others see it as a genre that investigates the changing human species. This thesis concerns itself with claims that science fiction is a genre that grants its readers the ability to examine the other and the process of othering. In the critical foreword of the project, the research of Edmund Husserl and Janelle Marie Evans will be utilized to define these two terms, “other” and “othering.” Husserl places the other in opposition to the self and defines the other as all an, “individual considered deviant, abnormal, outside of the real or fathomable, and therefore inhuman” (Evans 151). Based on the work of Husserl, Evans defines othering as, “a phrase that indicates negative differentiation between any given person or persons and another group of individuals” (151). Analyzing two short stories, “Desertion” by Clifford Simak and “The Streets of Ashkelon” by Harry Harrison, and the novel, Perdido Street Station by China Miéville, this foreword posits that science fiction may be uniquely equipped to examine and subvert notions of the other because of the genre’s ability to be interpreted both literally and figuratively. Samuel Delany described the science fiction sentence as one which, “might be interpreted one way, but that, if [it] appeared in a mundane text, might be interpreted another” (139). A literary technique employed by science fiction is the cultivation of empathy for the other by situating stories from the perspective of the other. Science fiction also makes use of a seemingly innocuous stand-in for a person, organization, or concept in the real world to facilitate examination of challenging issues, such as stories that focus on immigration issues but use aliens from Mars as the stand-in for refugees. The three original stories contained in this collection all investigate the other and othering. “Broken World, Broken Hearts” interrogates humanity in a postapocalyptic world through the eyes of the other, a cyborg detective. “The Garden” posits that the other doesn’t have to be an alien, machine, or monster; the other are humans who value individual profit over communal creativity. In “Death’s Queue,” the other is a seemingly immortal being who is gradually gaining humanity to its own detriment. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.subject “science fiction”, othering en_US
dc.title Dystopian Dreams of Dying Worlds: A Trio of Original Science Fiction Stories and an Analysis of How Science Fiction Examines the Other en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.college las en_US
dc.advisor Amy Sage Webb en_US
dc.department english, modern languages and literatures en_US

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