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Exploring Science Fiction, Quarter 4

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

Day 136

1. Read Chapter 1 of “Leviathan Wakes” (2011) by James S. A. Corey.

Day 137

1. Read Chapter 2 of “Leviathan Wakes” (2011) by James S. A. Corey.

Day 138

1. From the early 2000s, zombies shifted from the fringes to the mainstream, largely due to the success of films like “28 Days Later” (2002) and the remake of “Dawn of the Dead” (2004), as well as the unprecedented impact of “The Walking Dead” television series that began in 2010. This surge in zombie-centric content also saw the creatures evolve from traditional horror villains into symbols for exploring themes of survivalism, humanity, and societal collapse. Video games, such as the “Resident Evil” and “Left 4 Dead” series, further propelled zombies into the limelight, offering interactive experiences of apocalyptic scenarios.
2. “iZombie” (2015), a television series that aired until 2019, offers a fresh and inventive take on the zombie genre by blending elements of crime procedural, drama, and dark comedy. Based on the comic book series of the same name by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred, the show was developed for TV by Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright. It follows Olivia “Liv” Moore, a medical resident turned zombie who retains her humanity by consuming brains at the morgue where she works. With each brain Liv consumes, she inherits the corpse’s memories and personality traits temporarily. She uses this ability to help the Seattle Police Department solve murders, passing off her insights as psychic visions. Today watch the pilot of iZombie (2015).

Day 139

1. “Travelers” (2016) is a Canadian science fiction television series that introduces an innovative take on time travel. Created by Brad Wright, the show revolves around operatives, or “Travelers,” from a dystopian future who transfer their consciousnesses back in time into the bodies of people in the 21st century, moments before their recorded time of death. These operatives, led by FBI Special Agent Grant MacLaren (played by Eric McCormack), are on a mission to prevent the collapse of society and save humanity from a bleak future.
2. Today watch S1E1 of “Travelers” (2016).

Day 140

1. “The Martian” by Andy Weir, published in 2011, is a science fiction novel that stands out for its meticulous attention to scientific accuracy and detail, combined with compelling, human-centric storytelling. Mark Watney, an astronaut stranded on Mars, relies on his ingenuity, engineering skills, and humor to survive and communicate with Earth for rescue. Weir’s novel, initially self-published, became a bestseller and was adapted into a successful film directed by Ridley Scott in 2015.
2. Today read chapter 1 of “The Martian” (2011) by Andy Weir.

Day 141

1. Read chapter 2 of “The Martian” (2011) by Andy Weir.

Day 142

1. Read chapter 3 of “The Martian” (2011) by Andy Weir.

Day 143

1. Read chapter 4 of “The Martian” (2011) by Andy Weir.

Day 144

1. Read chapter 5 of “The Martian” (2011) by Andy Weir.

Day 145

1. Read chapter 6 of “The Martian” (2011) by Andy Weir.

Day 146

1. Today read “The Secret Life of Bots” (2016) by Suzanne Palmer.

Day 147

1. Today read “As Good As New” (2014) by Charlie Jane Anders.

Day 148

1. “Stranger Things,” debuting in 2016 on Netflix, significantly influenced science fiction and broader pop culture by blending 1980s nostalgia with modern storytelling techniques and character-driven narratives. Set in a small Indiana town and revolving around the mysterious disappearance of a young boy, it introduced supernatural elements and government conspiracies intertwined with the lives of relatable, nuanced characters. Its homage to 80s sci-fi and horror resonated with both older and younger audiences, sparking a revival in genre elements from that era. “Stranger Things” prompted a resurgence in similar retro-inspired themes and aesthetics, influencing a wave of productions.
2. Today watch episode 1 of “Stranger Things” (2016).

Day 149

1. The Netflix series “Lost in Space” (2018) is a reimagining of the 1965 series of the same name. This iteration brought a fresh, family-centered dynamic to the space exploration genre, focusing on the Robinson family’s struggle for survival and unity in an often hostile universe.
2. Today watch the first episode of “Lost in Space” (2018).

Day 150

1. Today read half of “When We Were Starless” (2018) by Simone Heller.

Day 151

1. Finish reading “When We Were Starless” (2018) by Simone Heller.

Day 152

1. Moving beyond traditional space opera, the 2004 reboot of “Battlestar Galactica” explored deep themes such as the nature of humanity, existential threats, and the impact of artificial intelligence, particularly through its portrayal of sentient robots, the Cylons, who challenge the very definition of life. Its gritty aesthetic, intense storytelling, and willingness to tackle political and philosophical questions mirrored post-9/11 societal anxieties, making it resonate strongly with contemporary audiences.
2. Watch Season 1, episode 1 (“33”) of Battlestar Galactica (2004).

Day 153

1. “The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet” (2014) by Becky Chambers, originally self-published, marked a refreshing departure in science fiction by focusing on character development and interpersonal relationships over traditional space opera elements. Chambers’ novel is celebrated for its optimistic and inclusive vision of the future, where diverse species and cultures coexist and cooperate aboard a tunnelling ship in space.
2. Today read page 1 and page 2 of “The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet” (2014) by Becky Chambers.

Day 154

1. Read page 3 and page 4 of “The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet” (2014) by Becky Chambers.

Day 155

1. Read page 5 and page 6 of “The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet” (2014) by Becky Chambers.

Day 156

1. Let’s circle back around to zombies with “The Santa Clarita Diet” (2017). Watch season 1 episode 1. Do you think this qualifies as science fiction?

Day 157

1. “This Is How You Lose the Time War” (2019) is a novella co-written by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone. The story unfolds through letters exchanged between two rival time-traveling agents, Red and Blue, who begin as enemies but gradually fall in love. The novella is celebrated for its lyrical prose, innovative structure, and deep emotional resonance. It won prestigious awards like the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards for Best Novella.
2. Read page 1 of “This is How You Lose the Time War” (2019) by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone.

Day 158

1. Read page 2 of “This is How You Lose the Time War.”

Ay 159

1. Interestingly, as Marvel began to dominate the movie landscape with the MCU, DC turned to television, featuring titles like Arrow, the Flash, and Supergirl. A show called “Legends of Tomorrow” features a time-traveling team of heroes and anti-heroes assembled to confront temporal aberrations and protect the timeline.
2. Watch any episode of “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” (2016).

Day 160

1. “The Murderbot Diaries” by Martha Wells is a celebrated science fiction series that began with the novella “All Systems Red” in 2017. The series features an endearing, self-aware security android, dubbed “Murderbot,” which has hacked its own governor module to gain autonomy. Despite its independence, Murderbot prefers watching soap operas to human interaction but often finds itself protectively entangled in the lives of humans it serves.
2. Read chapter 1 of “All Systems Red” (2017) by Martha Wells.

Day 161

1. Read Chapter 2 of “All Systems Red” (2017) by Martha Wells.

Day 162

1. Read Chapter 3 of “All Systems Red” (2017) by Martha Wells.

Day 163

1. Read Chapter 4 of “All Systems Red” (2017) by Martha Wells.

Day 164

1. Read Chapter 5 of “All Systems Red” (2017) by Martha Wells.