1. In the radio adaptation, the humans’ weapons can harm the tripods, but in the film 2005 version the shields are completely impervious to our attacks. In both cases the aliens die without our attacking. All we had to do was survive long enough for them to die out. So what is the role of agency in science fiction? Is there ultimately no agency in deciding our fate? Or is there a shift? Does this change in humans’ level of agency speak to a larger cultural shift in our understanding of agency?
  2. In the radio adaptation, the scholars discuss the “parabolic mirror of unknown composition” as the source of the heat ray. But this is discussed only as a conjecture. In the 2005 film adaptation, Ray discusses the lightning phenomenon with two young men he encounters. They go back and forth about explanations they have heard. One of them says he heard they were caused by solar flares. His friend replies, “The sun does not cause lighting.” Does science fiction necessarily involve science that is not fully understood? If we understood alien technology would we have fundamentally divorced ourselves from the genre?
  3. Heat rays become plasma rays. Charred bodies become atomized bodies. Transportation by metal cylinder becomes transportation by lightning. Across the history of science fiction, our technology gives us greater and greater power, so our alien counterparts’ power grows accordingly. Blade Runner’s AI is less sophisticated than iRobots. What does the progression of technology in science fiction point toward? With examples of films like Lucy and Transcendence, power leads to a loss of humanity. Can the trend of technological progress count serve as a window to understanding science fiction’s purpose? How does this compare the the progressions in other genres? What will the science fiction of the future look like?