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Exploring Science Fiction, Quarter 2

Welcome to Quarter 2! Do you need to go back to Quarter 1? Forward to Quarter 3 or 4?

Day 46

1. Today read chapters 13-15 of “The Caves of Steel.”
2. Summarize the events of today’s reading in your document.

Day 47

1. Today finish “The Caves of Steel” by reading chapters 16-18.
2. Summarize the events of today’s reading in your document.

Day 48

1. Write a 1 page essay about “The Caves of Steel.” You can choose from the topics below, or select your own.

  • Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics
  • Prejudice and Xenophobia (Earthmen vs Spacers vs Robots)
  • The Relationship Between Humans and Technology

Day 49

1. Watch the video about Fahrenheit 451.
2. Read pages 81-90 of “Fahrenheit 451” (1953) by Ray Bradbury.

Day 50

1. Watch “The City on the Edge of Forever” (Star Trek: The Original Series: Season 1, Episode 28)

Day 51

1. “Star Trek: The Original Series” made a lasting impact on society in many different areas.

  • Optimistic Vision of the Future: At a time when Cold War tensions were high, “Star Trek” presented a future where humanity had moved beyond its divisions, coming together with different alien races to explore the galaxy. This optimistic vision inspired countless viewers to believe in a brighter, united future.
  • Technological Advancement: Many modern technologies we use today were either inspired by or closely resemble devices from The Original Series. For instance, the communicator can be seen as a precursor to the flip phone, and the PADD (Personal Access Display Device) is similar to tablets like the iPad.
  • Promotion of Diversity: “Star Trek” was groundbreaking in its portrayal of a diverse crew, featuring people of different races and nationalities working together. The iconic scene where Captain Kirk (a white man) kisses Lieutenant Uhura (a Black woman) was one of the first interracial kisses on American television, challenging societal norms of the era.
  • Popular Culture Impact: The series spawned numerous catchphrases, such as “Beam me up, Scotty” (even though this exact phrase was never uttered in the series). Furthermore, the Vulcan salute and the saying “Live long and prosper” became part of global popular culture.
  • Scientific Inspiration: Many scientists and engineers have cited “Star Trek” as their inspiration for entering their fields. This includes individuals like Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space, who was inspired by Lieutenant Uhura.
  • Fandom Culture: “Star Trek” conventions began in the 1970s, kickstarting a trend that’s now common for many franchises. This allowed fans to come together in real life, creating a sense of community and paving the way for modern fandom culture.
  • Discussion of Moral and Ethical Issues: Episodes often delved into profound ethical and philosophical dilemmas. “Star Trek” tackled issues ranging from war and peace, authoritarianism, the rights of the individual, and even drug addiction. These episodes prompted viewers to reflect on these themes and their relevance to contemporary society.
  • Environmentalism: Episodes often reflected an awareness of the importance of nature and the environment. For instance, “The Paradise Syndrome” showcased the beauty of an unspoiled planet. Such episodes echoed the growing environmental movement of the 1960s.
  • Space Exploration Advocacy: “Star Trek” inspired many viewers to see space as the final frontier truly, leading to increased support and interest in NASA and other space-related initiatives.

2. Watch the video “Star Trek Was Always Political.”

Day 52

1. “The Twilight Zone” (1959-1964) began in the late ’50s, but its influence carried well into the ’60s and beyond. Created by Rod Serling, this anthology series tackled various sci-fi, fantasy, and horror themes, often with a twist ending and a moral lesson. With its compelling scripts and focus on character-driven narratives, “The Twilight Zone” demonstrated that television could be an artistic medium on par with literature or cinema. Many “Twilight Zone” episodes are remembered for their unexpected twist endings, which became a hallmark of the series. Numerous filmmakers, writers, and TV creators cite “The Twilight Zone” as an influence, including Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Stephen King.
2. Today watch “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street” (Season 1, episode 22 of “The Twilight Zone.”)

Day 53

1. We can’t move past the 1960s without mentioning “Doctor Who,” the longest-running science fiction series in the world. “Doctor Who” debuted on November 23, 1963, on the British broadcasting channel, BBC. Created by Sydney Newman, C. E. Webber, and Donald Wilson, the show was initially conceived as an educational series. The Doctor’s time travels were intended to explore historical events (to teach history) and futuristic scenarios (to teach science). However, the show quickly evolved into a sci-fi adventure series with the introduction of alien races and distant planets.
2. One of “Doctor Who’s” most ingenious plot devices is the Doctor’s ability to “regenerate” when mortally wounded or aging. This allows the character to take on a new appearance and personality, allowing different actors to play the same character. This concept of regeneration has provided a unique way for the show to reinvent itself over decades.
3. Today watch the 40th Anniversary “Story of Doctor Who.

Day 54

1. Watch the video about the origins of “Dune” (1965) by Frank Herbert.
2. Read an excerpt from “Dune.”

Day 55

1. Watch the video “Dune – Plots and Plans.”
2. Watch the video “Dune – Wandering in the Desert.”
3. Watch the video “Dune – Muad’dib.”

Day 56

1. Watch the video about Ray Bradbury and his role as a precursor of the “New Wave” of Sci Fi.
2. Watch the video about Philip K. Dick.
3. Read “Come Into My Cellar” (1962) by Ray Bradbury. This story is also titled “Boys! Raise Giant Mushrooms in Your Cellar!”

Day 57

1. “Dragonflight,” the first book in Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series, is often categorized as fantasy due to its prominent inclusion of dragons, their riders, and a pre-industrial society. However, at its core, “Dragonflight” and the Pern series as a whole are rooted in science fiction. Anne McCaffrey herself was adamant that her books were science fiction and not fantasy. She saw the science behind the dragons and their bond with riders, the backstory of Pern’s colonization, and the genetic manipulation as key elements of her narrative.
2. Today read from the Introduction to the end of page 29 of “Dragonflight” (1968) by Anne McCaffrey.

Day 58

1. Read pages 30- ?? of “Dragonflight” (1967) by Anne McCaffrey.