Essay 3: Media

Essay 3: Media2021-05-16T16:00:16-05:00

What Makes a Science Fiction and SF Genre Products in China: From Liu Cixin’s Wandering Earth to Other Works and Chinese SF Writers

Two years ago, when Wandering Earth was firstly published on the screen in China, people gathered around and flowed to the cinema for watching it. It sounds nothing important, however, that was quite big news in China — no other films can earn such total prestige with so much praise in China, especially on the screen. Some media workers called that Wandering Earth made that year became the Year of Chinese SF on Screen, as Chinese film from its first time had tried such a gorgeous and magnificent scene and make a great success. On Donban, a Chinese version of Rotten Tomato or IMDB, it earned 7.9/10, which is better than […]

By |March 31st, 2021|Categories: Essay 3, Tianyi|1 Comment

The stories we tell ourselves: Exploring the power of cultural conspiracy in Tarkovsky’s “Stalker”

When Andrei Tarkovsky’s last Russian-made film opens, viewers are transported to a haunting post-apocalyptic sepia-toned wasteland, sometime after a meteor crashes into Earth. In its wake: the mysterious creation of a vivid, colorful patch of wilderness everyone calls The Zone. With its perimeter heavily controlled by the military, The Zone is a seldom-visited place of myth, dangerous psychological traps and treacherous terrain. The only people who dare to traverse its metaphysical qualities are known as “Stalkers,” who illegally guide curious men with money to a storied place called The Room, which, as the legend goes, grants every human being their innermost desires.

In this imaginative, dystopian world, based on the 1972 novel Roadside Picnic, Tarkovsky uses […]

By |March 30th, 2021|Categories: Essay 3, Katie M|0 Comments

Exploring the Dark Reality of Online Sex Work Within ‘Cam’ (2018).

How does Sci-Fi approach sex work? Is there room for discourse around sex work within Sci-Fi? What does this discourse look like? The 2018 film ‘Cam,’ written by former camgirl Isa Mezzei and directed by Daniel Goldharber, offers a fascinating perspective on what sex work could look like in a not too distant future; and poignantly (and terrifyingly) addresses a lot of the concerns currently surrounding the sex industry. 

This psychological thriller tells Alice’s story (portrayed by Madeline Brewer), an online sex worker who is hacked by an algorithm that steals her image, likeness, and personality from the site in which she performs her shows. 

The film opens with what seems like a regular […]

By |March 30th, 2021|Categories: Essay 3|0 Comments

The Immutable Data of Interactive Television

The televised anthology Black Mirror speculates how new technologies will affect the near future. While some of its episodes play with periods and genres, the series commonly projects dystopian societies and relationships caused by humans’ growing reliance on computers. Created by Charlie Booker, the show originated on Britain’s Channel 4, but in 2015, internet and content overlord Netflix purchased the program. Production sped, and the company produced fifteen new episodes and an interactive film, known as Bandersnatch. The latter venture allowed users to uncover alternative storylines and endings for the 2018 film, as their phones, remotes, and controllers enabled them to make choices within a branching narrative. Launched in 28 languages, Bandersnatch was a show […]

By |March 30th, 2021|Categories: Connor, Essay 3|0 Comments

When Human and Tech Collapse: A Close Reading of Estrada’s “Alienation”

Alienation by Ines Estrada is a science fiction graphic novel that follows Elizabeth and her boyfriend Carlos through their daily life in 2054. The book oscillates between the utopic virtual reality filled with adventure and life in contrast to a violent physical reality of climate degradation and paranoia. 2054 is eerily tangible, offering snapshots of our present world in the world of Elizabeth and Carlos. However, Elizabeth’s reality and virtual reality collapse when she is chosen by a virus that has corrupted her GoogleGland to carry the first humanoid with artificial consciousness. She is forcefully and traumatically inseminated, both in the mind and the body. Estrada uses nebulous semantic […]

By |March 30th, 2021|Categories: Essay 3|0 Comments

Snowpiercer: A Critique on Class and Climate Change

Snowpiercer, based on the French post-apocalyptic graphic novel of the same name (Le Transperceneige) by Jacques Lob, was released in 2013, thirty-one years after the release of this graphic novel in 1982. While this movie makes many critiques on our society in its year of publication, said critiques continue to be valid even today.

Snowpiercer is set in a post-apocalyptic world where the apocalyptic events were brought about due to human-made causes via abuse of technology. These abuses ultimately caused the weather to change severely, bringing about the ice age the events of the movie are set in. Making a clear reference […]

By |March 30th, 2021|Categories: Essay 3, Shane|0 Comments

The Day After Tomorrow: The Politics of Climate Change

Climate change and global warming have been a concern for decades now. What has also been consistent, are the critics and government officials who deny the existence of climate change, humanity’s role in such changes, and whether it is concerning enough to invest time and money into preventative measures. Analyzing the years leading into the 2004 film The Day After Tomorrow gives us an in-depth look at how the debate stood then, and some takeaways for today, 17 years later.

The film is a climate crisis science fiction film, in which paleoclimatologist Jack Hall and his team of researchers predict global warming will lead to lowered salinity levels […]

By |March 30th, 2021|Categories: Essay 3, Lupita O.|0 Comments

Ex Machina: What Computers Can Do?

Ex Machina is a science fiction thriller film written and directed by Alex Garland, starring Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Oscar Issac, and Sonoya Mizuno. It tells a story of a young programmer invited to participate in a technological and psychological experiment about artificial intelligence. The director had the idea that “computers have minds” when he was 11 after learning how to code. Later in his career, he was influenced by the film 2001: A Space Odyssey and started his screenplay in Pinewood Studios with a limited budget. The film begins when the young programmer Caleb is selected to meet Nathan, the CEO of the search engine company Blue Book. Nathan lives in a remote modern […]

By |March 30th, 2021|Categories: Essay 3|0 Comments

“Dinosaurs Eat Man—Woman Inherits the Earth”: How Jurassic Park Subverts Male Power Fantasies

When the chief engineer John Arnold fails to return to the safety of the bunker in the 1993 film Jurassic Park, the character Ellie Sattler volunteers to retrieve him. The power is out and the dinosaurs are running freely through the park, causing destruction and chaos in their wake. John Hammond, the venture capitalist who conceived and birthed the idea of the theme park, worriedly tells Ellie that it ought to be him going, not her. She saucily snaps, “We can discuss sexism in survival situations when I get back.”

Ellie is often underestimated in both the film and book. It is paleontologist Alan Grant that John Hammond wants to approve his park and at the […]

By |March 30th, 2021|Categories: Essay 3, Kat C.|Tags: |0 Comments

Individualism and Collectivism in the Search for a New Home

            Earth as an uninhabitable planet seems both like fiction as well as a foreseeable future. In recent years, more and more apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic science fiction are being produced in reaction to climate change and the environmentally disastrous path we see ourselves going down with. Both Interstellar and The Wandering Earth are films within the genre. However, being produced in different cultures, the fundamental ideas they engage with are drastically different. While Interstellar approaches the search for a new home through individualism, an American ideology, The Wandering Earth approaches the same issue through collectivism, a Chinese ideology. While Christopher Nolan deconstructs the idea of individualism into love and personal connection, complexing the concept, making […]

By |March 30th, 2021|Categories: Essay 3|0 Comments

She Appreciates Power: Grimes, Techno-oligarchy, and “Miss Anthropocene”

       It was a matter of national news when Claire Boucher, better known by her stage name Grimes, and tech-billionaire Elon Musk announced the name of their child to an anxiously awaiting world. X Æ A-Xii (astounding) was born three months after Grimes released her fifth studio album. Like her child’s name, Grimes’s delightfully cyberpunk Miss Anthropocene, theoretically a concept album about the climate crisis (it mostly fails at this endeavor), is a perfect example of the slippery terrain of pop stars’ private/public lives. Though I love this album (and, frankly, the infant’s name is also too good), I can’t help but note its troubling relationship to […]

By |March 29th, 2021|Categories: Essay 3, Moira|0 Comments

Fullmetal Alchemist: “An Alchemist’s Anguish” and Human Rights

Fullmetal Alchemist: “An Alchemist’s Anguish” and Human Rights

“Alchemy should be used for the people.”

      When it comes to science fiction as a genre, we can’t ignore the influence of Japanese animation and writing. We’ve seen different popular pieces like Ghost in the Shell or Cowboy Bebop that take place in a science fiction world. Another example is the 64 episodes anime Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, based on Hiromu Arakawa’s manga. It aired from 2009 to 2010 under BONES Animation Studio, Square Enix, and Aniplex production. The story focuses on two brothers that practice the science of alchemy under the law of equivalence exchange: “something cannot be created from nothing, and so […]

By |March 29th, 2021|Categories: Essay 3, Paola E.|0 Comments

Essay 3: Fifteen Million Merits

“Fifteen Million Merits” is the second episode of the widely popular series Black Mirror that sets in stone what the show’s intents are. That is, it depicts an imagined reality based on our increasingly technology-dependent world: “the way we live now, and the way we might be living in 10 minutes’ time if we’re clumsy.” Originally aired in 2011, the episode strikes as one of the most relevant ones and hits close to home in our surveillance-capitalistic society, even after a decade.

The story takes place in a dystopian near future that exaggerates fame-driven economy. The general population lives in screen-covered rooms and toils away on indoor bikes to generate power while constantly being bombarded by […]

By |March 29th, 2021|Categories: Essay 3, Katie H.|0 Comments

Ghost in the Shell: A Transition to Postmodernism

Ghost in the Shell (1995) is an anime cyberpunk film directed by the Japanese director Mamoru Oshii. The story is set in 2029 Japan, and the protagonist of this film is a cyborg policewoman called Motoko Kusanagi. Motoko Kusanagi serves as a leader in the Public Security Section 9, and all the members in this department are cyborg humans. Their bodies are replaced with machines, and even their brain are cyber-brain, which allows them to connect to the internet. Cyborg people’s memory is stored outside their bodies, so the destruction of their flesh won’t cause the loss of their memory. However, such separation of the corporeal(Shell) and the spirit(ghost) causes Motoko to keep questioning […]

By |March 28th, 2021|Categories: Essay 3, Xiuzhu|0 Comments

Star Trek: The Original Series; A Sociocultural Sling Shot Back into the 1960’s

“The Enterprise is home.”—Captain Kirk, Star Trek: The Original Series, “Tomorrow is Yesterday.”

Gene Rodenberry’s television series Star Trek (1966-1969) was humanity’s warp drive into the future as science fiction became science fact. The television series inspired technological innovations and pushed socially constructed boundaries, exploring new sociocultural and political worlds, and yes—”bolding going where no [hu]man has gone before.” Writers of the series brought important issues into American television sets during the 1960’s, crossing many boundary-lines which included, but not limited to, the Sexual Revolution, the Women’s Rights Movement (“second wave” of feminism), Civil Rights, the Black Power Movements, anti-war movements, the Cold War, nuclear weapons, decolonization, communism, terrorism, the Space Race, technological advances, computers and […]

By |March 28th, 2021|Categories: Essay 3, Jo F. (2021)|0 Comments
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