The comic for today, April 30th, is exquisitely appropriate per our discussion of Pattern Recognition on Monday.
What I found most captivating about Oryx and Crake was the total sense of isolation that saturates the book. The narrative helps in creating this sensation of loneliness because the reader is kept ignorant of the most recent events of Snowman's past up until the very last pages of the book. As we go along, we have the two separate periods of narration -- Jimmy's childhood and family issues, leading to meeting Crake and school, etc. and then Snowman's present.
So as much as I enjoyed the book I can't think of anything to add to what I said about it last Monday in class. As much as I would love to scrutinize the mantra "He took a duck in the face at two hundred and fifty knots" I'm finding myself particularly dry on creativity (101). I think it's all been poured into my thesis. I promise I'll have something fascinating to say about Oryx and Crake :-D
Upon reading a science fiction book that creates a new sentient species, it is always interesting to consider how that species differs from humans, as the departure from a human model is a commentary on how the author views humankind. Specifically, it usually points out the perceived flaws in human interactions, politics, overall behavior, and response to environment.
In a combination of theories and ideas that have been thrown around in a variety of classes, I have found myself writing a screenplay treatment that centers on the concept of virtual reality and the place of identity. An interesting theme that arises in Snow Crash, eXistenZ, and Neuromancer is the complications involved in creating a virtual version of oneself. In Snow Crash, there is the scene where Hiro engages in a sword fight with someone in the Black Sun.
Since it has not really been addressed yet, the question of race in Slow River is a very interesting one. As someone else mentioned, the gender dynamic is a departure from what we have been reading because Griffith creates an arguably homonormative environment where Lore's life is inundated with lesbian friends and even an uncle with a husband, demonstrating the total acceptance of gay marriage in this society. As far as race, it is not an issue in any of the main or love interest characters.
I'm gonna use my pass on this one...I'm too woozy-headed to say anything intelligent and rather nonplussed anyway.
Octavia Butler uses dialogue throughout the book to say a great deal more than one would initially interpret. She uses the Oankali and their projected image of omniscience to convey criticism of humanity and our civilization, even in situations where the Human culture is not specifically under scrutiny. Less helpful to the story is her tendency to constantly ram the "Human Conflict/Contradiction" down the throats of her readers, yet never properly investigating just what is so flawed in it.
To examine a part of the book I feel was ignored in discussion on Monday, I wanted to explore my interest in the Handdara and their philosophy. The whole concept of Foretelling is fascinating, especially as it is practiced in a religious society that considers it to be a completely fruitless exercise. There is a point early on in the book when Genly is talking with Faxe about the process of Foretelling and how useful it is, but Faxe is trying to get Genly to understand him. Faxe says "--we in the Handdara don't want answers.
Something I had been pondering in class, but didn't really get around to talking about was a comparison between the Bugs of Starship Troopers and the Gethenians. I was considering how we responded very differently, as did the protagonists, to the bugs and the Gethenians and what some of the factors are that go into that.