WALL-E offers a unique perspective on religion in a post-human world. WALL-E can be seen as Adam and EVE (as the robot is subtly named), can be seen to represent Eve. Together, they bring new life to the Earth, just as Adam and Eve did to the original world. The writers of WALL-E went beyond this traditional story by adding in a post-apocalyptic world. While Adam and Eve were created in the Garden of Eden, a paradise, WALL-E and EVE must re-create a paradise for people to live in again.
Other elements of spirituality are also present throughout the film. WALL-E and EVE can also be interpreted as an allegory for Noah’s Ark. After the Earth is destroyed (or in the case of the Bible, after a flood), WALL-E and EVE bring a plant back to Earth to restore life. This is strikingly similar to the dove which carried an olive branch to Noah after the end of the rainstorm. As such, it is evident that the film offers a number of biblical allegories to make the message relevant for younger audiences and to offer a new, post-human perspective on this message.
How do characters in “The People of Sand and Slag” see the landscapes of their world? The story contains some lengthy descriptions, so focus on one or two particular visions.
Does “Johnny Mnemonic” see advantages or disadvantages in a society that freely reshapes bodies? What is one point in the story that influences your thinking?
The Los Angeles of Blade Runner combines images of the antiquated with the highly futuristic. What are some of the impacts of that set design? What does the contrast between (or fusion of) the old and the new say about the world of the movie?
Mad Max: Fury Road touches on a timely element of science fiction that was we saw touched on in Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower: climate change. Mad Max envisions a world in which humans, through excessive use of technology and fuel, have depleted the earth of its natural resources and left earth’s inhabitants in a bitter struggle over the remaining water and petroleum. The battle over the earth’s resources leaves the humans in a barbaric state, in which the men treat women and other men as slaves. The lack of resources forces severe competition between factions, which is dramatically shown throughout the film.
Earlier science fiction does not focus on this topic since climate change had not entered the public eye and was not in popular discourse. As we have seen throughout this course, science fiction is a reflection of the issues and ideologies prevalent of the era; as such, it is unlikely that writers in the 40’s and 50’s would have written extensively about an apocalypse resulting from climate change. However, Mad Maxis one of the first works of science fiction we’ve seen from the 21stcentury, where climate change is one of the most pressing issues of the day. The characters entire lives revolve around finding and controlling the water and petroleum, and they are willing to risk everything to try and gain control of them.
SF has a long history of utopian and dystopian imaginings. If the larger world of Parable is clearly dystopian, would you say the Earthseed community emerging at the novel’s end has utopian traits? Why or why not?
Octavia Butler published Parable of the Sower in 1993, twenty-five years ago, as a critique of political and economic trends of the moment. Can you think of an element of Butler’s world that could be seen as a critique of our present politics and/or economics? Don’t feel obliged to talk about more than one similarity or point of comparison.
Ursula LeGuin intended for her Gethenians to appear genderless when outside of kemmer. Do you think she succeeds? Do you see these people as male, female, or gendered in some other way? If she succeeds, how does she convince you of their genderlessness? If she fails, is that a problem intrinsic to the text or a simply insurmountable difficulty insofar as many readers, (like the narrator of Chapter 7) find it extremely difficult or undesirable to avoid seeing gender wherever they look?
LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness probably creates the most fully realized of the alternative worlds and futures we have seen so far this semester, but it’s not an easy world to comprehend. What do you think is the single most important thing to know about this world? Why is it more important than other facts or customs to a reader’s understanding?
What are one or two specific ways in which Delany believes that SF is fundamentally different from what he calls “mundane literature”?