Clone, that does matter in science fiction:)

 In the novel, The House of Scorpion, Matt serves as a protagonist through the novel.  A young figure,Matt, finally survives and defeats the evil power by helpers around him and by his own courage. Also, since the author of this novel is a female, there is no action-fighting scenes. However, it indeed gives readers large amount of exciting aspects, such as a fast proceeding of a story.

 Anyway, the thing that I want to focus on in this blogging is that the protagonist, Matt, is a clone! Yeah~ A clone! He was born in order to provide with the organs, which are in need, to his model, El Patron. The novel depicts the process of being borned  of Matt and his growing up. In the process, Matt begins to question about himself. He seeks for his true identity! Lots of people treat him as a filthy being, once they know that he is a clone. Althouth there are several characters who help Matt and treats him with a warm-heart, Matt shows his confusion on his identity as the plot goes on. But after all, Matt defeats the vice characters, takes part in the riot with the exploited children  and then releases the slaves who were working under  El Patron’s reign of the leading country of producing opium.  Considering the results, Matt indeed plays an important role far better than the humans in the novel. And through the directly-opposed characters in the way of treating Matt, the question of  “Does a clone deserve to be treated as a real human, or no?” rises. In this novel, since Matt is described as a positive protagonist who saves the people and the society, it could be said that such a clone should be treated as fairly enough as a human. However, the purpose of the clone’s production was to provide with the organs, so the clone  might be also thought just as an object which is a sub-creature of a real human. And that is why many people disrespect Matt in the novel.

 The very aspect of ‘clone,’ can be discovered in other sceince fictions, as well. Since the technology of cloning is a probable technology that could be realized, some of sciecne fictions use this as a material. First, Frankestein! Although the monster Frankenstein is lack of human appearance in some degree, it is definitely a clone of doctor Frankenstein! And there is also a process of its creation. And for Neuromancer and Blade Runner, there come  some characters who are not totally humans, but somewhat seem as  humans, though they are lack of recognition and are composed of mechanical things. But they are not completely a clone of someone else, as Matt or Frankenstein.  Anyway, related to the cloning, it is interesting that Matt is concerning about his identity. Matt indeed has a thinkable ability and that could be counted as a human feature, though the purpose of the production(?) of Matt rebuts the humanity. ..

Okay, this matter of ‘cloning’ or a ‘clone’ was what I thought similar to the matter of some other sceince fiction novels:)

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Sympathy for Sarasti!

p.319-(Rewrite in Sarasti’s view)

[There was no sound. I felt sort of uneasiness through the weird expressions of the holograms. But I soon called the entire hominid tree into existence around me, and was quite astonished by their range of features. There was Siri, too.

Siri asked me, “My God, what is this?”

I didn’t know why Siri is so astonished about that. Siri seemed frightened, as well.

But then I just answered as, “Statistics.” and added, “Rorschach’s growth allometry over a two-week period. ” I just said what it is true for then, and said the holograms as the statistics which are necessary for studying our enemy, Rorschach. But Siri continuously seemed rather frightened. He uttered, “They’re faces…” I thought, “Of course, they are faces! Holograms!” So I nodded and looked at a woman with no eyes. “Skull diameter scales to total mass. Mandible length scales to EM transparency at one Angstrom. One hundred thirteen facial dimensions, each presenting a different variable. Principle-component combinations present as multifeature aspect ratios.” I explained more about what I know to Siri, objectively. Then I faced to Siri. Siri seemed to wonder. So I explained about them more, because I thought that Siri would be more surprised by what I say, ” You’d be surprised how much gray matter is dedicated to the analysis of facial imagery. Shame to waste it on anything as—counterintuitive as residual plots or contingency tables.”

Then I felt that Siri is quite skeptical and more frightened by my explanation. Siri asked me, “And the expressions? What do they represent?” As I have been done, I could not help but explaining and answering as it is about what Siri wonders….]

I picked this scene for my rewriting assignment, because I wanted to show the real mind and emotion of the vampire captain, Sarasti. Here in this re-written scene, I omitted all the feelings and frightened emotions of Siri. In the original scene, there are many lines that indicate that Siri himself is so astonished about the holograms and feel rather upset by what Sarasti explains about. But Sarasti keeps explaining it as he thinks, the facts. Also in the original text, there represented Siri’s fear for Sarasti through the depiction of “torture faces,” or “ I felt my jaw clenching.” However, in the re-written version, I rather focused on the emotions of the vampire. Although there is a fact that almost all of the humans are afraid of the vampires in that the vampires might feed on humans, the vampires could have humanities, too. Not all “humans” are a “human,” in this novel. Rather, modified humans are more lack of humanities. As Siri reflects on Sarasti at the end of the original novel, Sarasti saved Siri’s life. Siri thinks Sarasti as an important being to him :

I can’t miss Jukka Sarasti. God knows I try, every time I come online. He saved my life. He — humanized me. I’ll always owe him for that, for however long I live; and for however long I live I’ll never stop hating him for the same reason. In some sick surrealistic way I had more in common with Sarasti than I did with any human.

But I just don’t have it in me. He was a predator and I was prey, and it’s not in the nature of the lamb to mourn the lion. Though he died for our sins, I cannot miss Jukka Sarasti.

I can empathize with him, though. At long long last I can empathise, with Sarasti, with all his extinct kind. Because we humans were never meant to inherit the Earth. Vampires were. They must have been sentient to some degree, but that semi-aware dream state would have been a rudimentary thing next to our own self-obsession. They were weeding it out. It was just a phase. They were on their way(p.343-).

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“…we’re feeling machines that happen to think(Watts, 194).”

“Jesus, Siri. People aren’t rational. You aren’t rational. We’re
not thinking machines, we’re—we’re feeling machines that happen
to think.”

 There are lines said by Pag as above, in the page of 194.

 This short comment of Pag indicates the most evocative and compelling thematic aspect  of the novel.  If the study of inspecting every single objective priciples of the universe is ‘science,’ in the novel, Blindsight, there is no agreement on such a ‘science.’  For instance, a human: human has a cognition ability, so human can recognize or realize something. Thus, humans have considered their such ability as the utmost feature among all of the other features of creatures in the world. However, as I commented in Twitter last time, Cunningham, one of the characters in the novel, denies this assumption. According to his argument, which could corresponds to that of Peter Watts, the speciese of Rorchach is far much better than the humans in terms of adaptability to the environment.  Since the cognition and realization of the humans evokes lots of mistakes and illusions, humans are inferior to the other species .  The author handles with the idea of that our(humans’) superior awareness which we think as the best is not that big thing. Thus, this novel makes us reflect on our species. This kind of experimental idea is well melted in the sentences above. We, the humans, are not the thinking machines. We are not rational! We are just feeling as it is. And when we think, that is just when it happens to think. The definition of  a human, as “thinking animal,” is totally denied here. The author indeed clashes against the humans, or himself, by his novel and this is what made Blindsight be impressive to many readers.

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The diary of Nov 2nd, 2901.

Nov 2nd. 2901. weather:little bit cloudy.

*I created some parts and just rewrote about the occasions which could be possibly happening after kidnapping Akin:) 

 This early morning, my father and I went to the village meeting. There were whole people  of our viallge and we discussed about Akin, whom we recently kidnapped to our town. Akin was right in front of us, sitting on a chair. There were some guards keeping the eyes on Akin. Still as a young figure of a construct, Akin, seemed gloomy. Since the day when he first came here, he has never been happy, according to my observation. He can speak and hear. But he rarely smiles. He is always surrounded by our chiefs of the village, and is forced to behave appropriately. In other words, he is always educated by our chiefs. He learns about humans’ features and our history. I already learned that kind of stuffs when I was young, from my father. My father is one of the chiefs. Whenever my father comes back from teaching Akin, he worries about him very much. My father worries about his future. I couldn’t understand why he worries so much about that somewhat alien figure’s future, rather than mine! But soon, I found  out that Akin is so special to our species. He holds the authority of our future. He is the very first construct  between the human and the alien who is spreading its reign towards our world!

 So after the meeting this morning, I approached to him. His alien face frowned little bit. I was little bit scared by his response. He seemed to dislike me because he knows that my father is one of his strict teachers. But I showed intimacy toward him, starting with handshaking. I said that I want to be his friend. He didn’t seem to understand me. He just kept ignoring me. I didn’t give up to talk to him, and continuously asked him about him but he never answered. Giving up finally, I decided to go back home. But I just stayed behind his space for a while, because I just wondered  what he would do after I leave. And…!!! I saw he speaks strange words to himself and…..I definitely saw something crippy alien creature coming towards him from the bush. It resembled to Akin’s alien appearance little bit. I finally recognized that he was also keeping in touch with his half-parent,known as the dangerous creature, Oankali!!! Oh my god. I saw it first time in my life.Should I report this to my father? I was so confused…

And still, I’m confused .. I’m writing this diary alone in my room. My father is cooking now and I’m not sure if I should tell him about this. I don’t know. Maybe tomorrow, I will try to ask Akin about this one more time and then I’ll decide what to do.. Akin, Akin, Akin, what is our future? What is gonna be our human’s future..? You should protect us..!

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Reverse: Humanness might be an alien aspect in ‘Lilith’s Brood’

   Lilith, one of the protagonists of the whole three stories in Lilith’s Brood as a black woman, faces an alien species named ‘Oankali,’ as soon as she wakes up from the 250-year-long-sleep. This was a shocking opening act to me. Even before the novel begins, the whole earth was in the state of being alienated and all the humans are seemed to be extinct on the ground! However, few people survived and they maintain their humanity and humanness, opposing the alienated features on their earth. In this respect, the real humans’ this kind of conducts made me think about the real meaning of humanness. The humans who appear in the story are seemed to just feel the hostility towards the alien species. They also oppose to Lilith, considering her as an accomplice. The humans keep considering their own cultures and bodies as the best only, attempting to preserve their genetic structures, gender relations, or religious practices.

  I rather  felt skeptical at this aspect, because I was too accustomed to the circumstance of the earth depicted in the book as I read this. I felf kind of languishment on the humans who remain on the ground. I rather thought that they should accept the alien aspects and try to modify themselves in a positive way to survive! And surprisingly, my thought was similar to that of Akin or Jodahs, who are the broods of Lilith. So I thought that the most single alien aspect about the world of this book is after all, the strictness of humans, although at first I felt shocked about the horrible circumstance of the earth…

   In addition, in  Dawn, the protagonist Lilith mentions about the alienation of human bodies, saying “…we used to treat animals that way” (Dawn:3).  Humans’  bodies have been altered to live longer and already have been internally modified in various ways, like they had done to the animals long time ago(according to the book’s time period) at laboratories. And their environment in Earth is also changed to be a home for the alien creatures.  However, the surviving humans still resist and fight against the alien, which I thought as a new human model , to call for purity and reject alienness, under their strict faith on humanness.

  Indeed, although the overall setting and background are alien to the readers, I felt that surviving humans’  stubborn persistence is rather alien, paradoxically, as the story proceeds.

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for Freedom!

This scene is what I thought the most vivid and impressive scene through the book, We3.  Here depicted the very scene of the animals’ escaping from the laboratory. They escape to pursue their freedom. They want to go “home,” which literally means the place where they come from, but behind it, the “home” could mean the ultimate environment which they are originally from as “wild animals,” not as “pets.”

 Anyway, in this scene, the illustration skill is awesome. The illustrator of We3 illustrated this scene with amazing method. He depicted the process of fleeing from the lab and the moment of urgency by using close-ups and lots of small panels in one page. What a tension!! The small panels and the variant of colors in each panel seem like showing the intensive pulsation of the heart. Also, I thought that the splitted panels in each cut show the image of wings. The wings of a bird! Symbolization of Freedom! The three animals are running  toward a freedom and their exact dream is expressed as an image of wings composed of small panels. It feels like the time  is paused in that moment.

For these reasons, I thought this scene is the most wonderful and implicative one!:)

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Is body inferior to mind?

 At first, for a difficulty, I was kind of confused through the novel whether which part is based on reality and which is based on cyberspace. And since the ‘cyberspace’, which William Gibson first used through this novel, is an abstract image, I had a difficulty in imagining the structure of cyberspace. But soon, I came up with an image of the movie, Matrix, and then it was little bit easier to make an image of cyberspace where Case jag in and out from the reality.

 But reading this novel, i just wondered about our existence. In Neuromancer, I got an image of a contrast of a weak body and a super-ultra mind. Usually, almost all of science fictions which deal with cyberspace consider the intelligence as an important thing. The protagonists’ bodies are laid down on a chair something like that and they just access into the cyberspace ruled by an AI(Artificial Intelligence), mostly. Here in Neuromancer, Wintermute and its half side, Neuromancer ,are all AIs and the human protagonist Case is governed by them. The AI is superior. Even though those AIs are produced by human’s technology, they do rule the humans through cyberspace, in reverse again.

 In the novel, there is a description of a body. The body is referred to as a “meat(12)” and furthermore, the reality is depicted as a “The prison of his own flesh(12).” These are all negative expressions. And here is another passage describing a body as a sexual desireful thing:  ” ‘Not if I remember to take  my pills,’ he said,  as a tangible wave of longing  hit  him,  lust  and  loneliness  riding  in  on the  wavelength of amphetamine. He remembered the  smell of her skin in the overheated darkness of a coffin near the port, her locked across the small of his back. All the meat, he thought, and all it wants. (17) ” This is what Case thought about his body. Case doesn’t affirm any sexual desire produced by his body. He just asserts that all the physical desires are valueless and vulgar.

Opposing this view of a body, however, I think we can recognize ourselves by our physical things. So in my opinion, body should not be ignored or disgraded. Also, I thought that focusing on intelligence rather than our bodies is rooted from Descartes’ theory. Descartes argued that the human identity can be only found from their reason, the intelligence. I think many people too became accustomed to the way of thinking as Descartes. I do think that mind and intelligence is important. And it is true that humans are distinguished from other creatures in that humans have intelligence, we can think! However, ignoring bodies and considering them as inferior ones is not a proper way, I think.  Our body is well organized and for reproducing, of course, it is way important.

 Anyway, it is true that cyber things will be more flourished in our future and even today, we are living in cybersapces in lots of aspects, through Internet . Although it is modernized way and we are on that process inevitably, we should remind ourselves of our great and miraculous bodies!

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The comment on Kevin’s post:)

  I definitely agree on Kevin’s post of “Race Relations in ‘the Comet’ .”  As Kevin, I noticed that the author of the work, Du Bois, is a civil righter for the black. So I became to read the Comet more thoroughly in terms of the race theme. As Kevin felt, I also felt that it is interesting to put the radical two characters, Jim and Julia, in the main stream. Jim is the black whom at first Julia thought of as a ‘nigger.’ His family lives in Harlem in NY. And Julia is a white woman. These two dinstinctive black and white characters are left in NY by themselves. They think that they are the only survivors among the world. But afterwards, it revealed that it was just the New York that was attacked by the comet so nobody but them are saved only in New York.

 At this point, I want to put little bit more my observations of this story in addition to Kevin’s thoughts. As I read, I was little bit surprised that when Julia first encountered Jim, she felt kind of uneasiness toward him. Because he was a ‘black’ ‘man.’ Julia has been taught to consider black people as an inferior race. Moreover, Jim was a black guy. So at first she avoided him. But Jim, in the contrast, tried to give her help. Jim thought her as a ‘human,’ not as a ‘white woman.’ For that aspect, I thought that Jim, as a black man, has a generous mind and represents his race as a good one, not as an evil one. Also, perhaps that was the purpose of the author, as well.

 It was interesting that the authour puts this sort of serious race problems and messages in the genre of science fiction. Du Bois set this situation and depicted Jim and Julia’s  process of surviving and making a journey. So he chose these characters  as significant ones, who represents each race. The situation of the only two  characters being left among the world(after, it revealed that only New York was damaged, though.) could be possible only in science fiction genre. There can be a disaster(as a comet hit here.) so then the circumstances can be made.

  And after Julia’s father and her fiance come to them, Jim is abandoned again. He just becomes to return to his previous position in the world. The whites just avoid him or just consider him as an evil race. Even Julia, who got lots of help from Jim, doesn’t look back him again. That is what Kevin made about at the end of his post. And I think that strikes the readers  a lot-the difficulties of solving these kinds of race problems.  So complicated! Also, it was impressed that the author did not put a victory of the black, but rather put the reality of what it was to be as before at conclusion of the story. Seem so gloomy as well… 

 Anyway, this is what I thought through Kevin’s post and this story made me think quite seriously on racial problem in our world.

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Significant Structure in Frankenstein!!:)

 When i finished reading the Frankenstein, i came to realize that this work has a significant structure. I was quite abosorbed into the main story, that of creation of Frankenstein and Victor Frankenstein’s tragedy. However, when i reached the end of story, i finally came back to the initial plot of Walton. Observing the whole work, there are three layers , and all of those  are narrated by a man.

At first, the outermost story is composed by letters which Robert Walton captain writes to his sister, Mrs. Saville. Robert Walton captain is towards the North Pole and he is writing letters to his sister who is living in a stable home. As Wilton is captured by the ideal of  contributing to the mankind by pioneering an unknown area as North Pole, an uneasy and frustrating atmosphere is building up and a revolt by crewmen is also threatening. Ignoring all these situations,however, Walton keeps proceeding toward the North Pole and on his way, he accidently meets Victor Frankenstein. Wilton listens to Victor’s contrite and depressed confess. And after that, he gives up his pursuing of ideal and decides to go back to warm home. 

Frankenstein  is providing a recovering conclusion by putting Wilton at the outermost of the whole story. And inside of the Wilton’s story, Shelley put the story of Victor Frankenstein. Victor’s enthusiastic creation acts ,the downfall, and chaos…… Then, at the innermost, there is a story of the moster, Frankestein, who became a incarnation of revenge after being abused for his ugly appearance.

This three-layer structure gave me a significant strike. Though Wilton defends the story of the monstor quite orderly, the story of Victor Frankenstein and his creature Frankenstein has still a powerful impact on me or, readers. Wilton’s outermost position helps the horrible monster story to be wrapped up, but ironically, it makes the monster’s story be more emotional resonance. I could think about the destruction of an evil, and how horrible the suppressed nature could become…..

 At first, I planned to focus on rather a significant word, but after i finished reading the whole story, i really wanted to write about the overall structure that stroke me deeply….:)

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Frankenstein’s ‘invisible hand’

 Frankenstein!! Awesome!! This was my first time to read Frankenstein in English because i’m a Korean. And in Korea, i’ve just heard about Frankenstein as a frightening monster story. Through reading the novel, however, i’ve just found out that this science fiction is not just a horror or thriller, but rather a deeply-significant tragedy between man and man’s creature(Here, Frankenstein). I’m so impressed by this fiction and i think there are quite a lot of significant points to discuss on or to be lectured.

 Anyway, beyond that, i would rather consider the phrase ‘invisible hand’ which Frankenstien said himself when he was staying with De Lacey’s. This phrase that i picked up could be heard like little bit awkward or too ideological. But that is my reason to pick up these two words. They just made me think about the author’s intention of using that kind of phrase.

  ‘Invisible Hand’! How economic! I definitely know that ‘invisible hand’ is used in economics as a tool which operates in the markets and it was said by A.Smith through his work, ‘The Wealth of Nation.’ According to my research, the book was published in 1776 and Mary Shelley had written Frankenstein in 1818. So that makes sense that Mary Shelley could possibly quote that term into her novel.

 To think about the words, ‘invisible hand,’ Frankenstein used it when he worked for De Lacey’s family. He secretly worked for the family and helped them to go through the harsh period.  De Lacey is a blind elder man and there are his son Felix, and his daughter Agatha.  Safie, who is Felix’s wife, is actually Turkish and she left her country for her lover. And since Felix helped Safie’s father, Felix’s properties were deprived of from the government. And when Safie left, she brought some of her property so the family of De Lacey could live together not that really affluently, but peacefully. But then, the monster Frankenstein was happened to stay near  the family and with a hope for being friend with them, he helped them a lot, of course, by stealth. And by stealing a glance and overhearing, he could learn vocabularies and could speak. However, the happiness of De Lacey’s family was rooted only from the abundance. They just did not care much on Frankenstein. Oh poor Frankenstein!

 From these contexts, the expression of  the ‘invisible hand’ could be interpretated as a poor and helpless situation of Frankenstein. As ‘invisible hand’ is used in capitalism and among that sort of society, there are many workers and they usually have many difficulties for living. So  it could be said that Mary Shelley reflected the image of tortured workers of capitalist society unconsciously into her text here.

 Well, this is what i thought about Frankenstien’s ‘invisible hand.’ It could be argued that he described  his hand ‘invisible’ just because all of his efforts which had been done by the hands disappeared at once. But i just thought further more in the context of the social and economic situation of the time when Mary Shelley wrote this novel.

 Hope it would make sense!!:)

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