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September 4th, 2012


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12:47 pm - F&SF essay for this week
In youth, most people have at some time or another thought about being invisible. They also may have considered how wonderful it might be for their pet to be intelligent, and able to act as would a human. Many people in younger years would have heard the adage, "In the Country of the Blind, the one-eyed man is king.", but few consider the true repercussions of life amongst the blind. I recall hearing some young friends speculate on how nice it would be to live in a binary star system with longer days or well-lit nights, but again, they thought only of the light, not the climate effects.

H. G. Wells did consider what realistically might occur in each of these cases, and explained in clear terms what these events would suggest. He did it in language that fit the Victorian Age, and was sufficiently clear that it made for good reading amongst his audience. He showed them why these events were not positive, but were, in fact likely to be serious problems for those involved. Wells' works were thought-provoking in this way, throughout his career. This was the seminal work that led to the genre now called Science Fiction, a form of speculative fiction in which one aspect of the world is changed (a man can become invisible, scientists can with vivisection make animals human) and look carefully at what the changed aspect would do to the world. Were there more changes, it would be too fantastic, and wouldn't provoke as much thought. But having only one change keeps the world mostly recognizable to the reader, and allows them to really examine the effects of that choice.

(4 comments | Speak, or forever hold your peace)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:homemakerj
Date:September 14th, 2012 03:44 am (UTC)

F&SF essay

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Are you kidding me? Did you really write your essay on LiveJournal? This struck me funny and made me laugh and laugh. It didn't even sound like you. Nice essay, though.

Hello to Forestcats. I've really enjoyed your little vacation in Wisconsin vicariously.

Just catching up on my reading.
[User Picture]
From:mycroftca
Date:September 14th, 2012 04:31 am (UTC)

Re: F&SF essay

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No, I wrote the essay on the Coursera.org website, but after posting it there, I copied it to LJ since I expect to not be able to access it. And thank you.
[User Picture]
From:homemakerj
Date:September 17th, 2012 11:54 pm (UTC)

Re: F&SF essay

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Well a journal is a perfectly good place to keep essays, poems, etc. It made me laugh because it was a good idea.

I just looked at Coursera.org. Very interesting. Thank you.
[User Picture]
From:mycroftca
Date:September 18th, 2012 02:35 pm (UTC)

Re: F&SF essay

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I originally heard about the website via NPR; it's what I'd always hoped I could find to keep me sharp, and expand my horizons, without spending thousands of dollars. It's imperfect, but still, I'm enjoying it for the most part.
F&SF essay for this week - This ain't no party, this ain't no disco... — LiveJournal

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