english science fiction

Humans Are Weird (Homonyms)

I just thought of something: what if aliens had no idea of what homophones/homonyms are and just get REALLY confused when they see/hear some.

 Human: Hey Alien, have you seen my mouse?

Alien: No, sorry, but I can help you find it. What species is your mouse?

Human: Oh, it’s a Logitech. I think I left it over here. 

Alien: Never heard of this species of rodent before. It must be a special one. 

Human: Rodent? Oh no no no, you misunderstood! I’m looking for my COMPUTER mouse!

Alien: *confused* Computer mouse? I thought computers worked with electricity, not animals…

Human: *confused as well* …….what?

English is the largest of the human tongues, with several times the vocabulary of the second largest language - this alone made it inevitable that English would eventually become, as it did, the lingua franca of this planet, for it is thereby the richest and the most flexible - despite its barbaric accretions…or, I should say, because of its barbaric accretions. English swallows up anything that comes its way, makes English out of it. Nobody tried to stop this process, the way some languages are policed and have official limits…probably because there never has been, truly, such a thing as ‘the King’s English’ - for the King’s English was French. English was in truth a bastard tongue and nobody cared how it grew…and it did! - enormously.
—  Robert Heinlein, Stranger In A Strange Land

Dear English Major, 

You’re going to find yourself asking “what’s the point in my degree?” at least once before you get to fourth, or fifth, year. You’re going to wonder what it all means.

An English degree means late nights and early mornings. It means showing up to your faculty advisor’s office at 8:30am with coffee and breakfast for them because you’re stuck on a paper. It means courses starting with ENG. It means American literature, Children literature, Canadian poetry, Restoration and 18th Century Drama, Science fiction literature, Contemporary poetry, Survey of Lit, Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Arthur, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf.

It means sitting in your favourite profs office crying because you don’t know what you’re going to do and you’re questioning your self-worth.

It means writing a single essay all night. It’s having one of your peers edit your essay because most of it was written after 2am. It’s constantly being asked to proofread your friends essays and not being able to escape it. It’s having an unhealthy tea or coffee addiction and bringing one wherever you go.

It means carrying a book with you even though you know you don’t have time to read. It’s actually appreciating poetry. It’s Frankenstein, Dracula, Tom Sawyer, Fiction from Ireland, British Romantic Literature, Comic Books, Edgar Allan Poe.

It’s knowing everybody that you’re graduating with. It’s tight knit classes knowing how your profs work. It’s seeing the same faces in every one of your classes. It’s reading a book for your class and already knowing what your peers are going to say. 

You probably chose an English Major because you like books and reading. You’re only going to read half of the books that are assigned to you no matter what your best intentions are. You’re going to graduate and realize you should have taken that Theatre Studies class.

You’re going to graduate and an employer is going to ask you what a liberal arts degree is worth. You’re going to graduate and probably go onto graduate studies, most likely nothing related to your discipline. 

You’re going to spend 4 years doing what you love. You’re going to have a library in your house of all the required books you had to read. 

You’re going to graduate and you’re going to be okay.

—  an english degree is the most expensive, and proudest, book club you’ll ever join
every science fiction movie ever
  • science person: *literally says anything from describing complex particle physics to "plants have leaves!"*
  • hot protagonist: In English, please!!

Nineteen eighty-four -George Orwell

I’m actually quite enjoying this book! I thought it would be denser and more difficult to read, but I’m steadily making my way through it

ID #79037

Name: Jessica
Age: 17
Country: Germany

Hey, I’m currently looking for a pen pal to get a chance to talk to people from all over the world!
I love drawing, listening to music, reading and watching cartoons. I prefer slow music and often listen to rap or jazz and I love comic books, science-fiction and fantasy novels. I’m always happy about recommendations for new books and songs. I like talking about all kinds of things, such as culture, science or even gardening, as I spent quite some time outside.
I speak german, english and some french and always look forward to improve my language skills.

Preferences: I prefer people within the age of 15-20 and I hope to find someone who is tolerant and respects others, especially from the lgbt+ community and different cultures/ religions.
Someone who is quite active and loves to have serious coversations now and then would be great to, because I look forward to a good and long friendship.

From The New World and Bisexuality

Warning: The series I am reviewing contain depictions of child abduction, disappearance, murder and violence in a future totalitarian society. It also depicts sexual violence. The show also contains relationships sexual relationships between young people. That is the trigger warning.

Leave now if you wish.

Also spoilers for  the whole series. Do not read any further if you don’t want spoilers.

I know I said I would post this at the same time as my recap of episode eight but this is finished and I want to get it out there. I will recap episode eight asap though. Also this based only on the anime, I have not read the novel nor the manga.

Are the characters in the anime From the New Word bisexual?

The characters in From the New World (FTNW) never verbalized their sexuality in terms we in our culture would use-i.e. words like bisexual, gay, straight, lesbian etc. But similarly so characters like Bo and Lauren from Lost Girl never express a label either yet from the show it is clear that they are bisexual and lesbian respectively. So from watching the anime can we tell what orientation these characters are?

First off I need to address the fact that the characters in FTNW are from a very different culture and time period to me. They are living in a fictional future in dystopia Japan. So the cultural context these characters are in is very different from my own. So how does this cultural context view sexuality? For starters most of the characters are engaged in relationships with members of the same sex. Satoru and Shun are together, Saki is with Maria. Only Mamoru is not engaged in a same sex relationship instead in Saki’s words he spends his time pining after Maria.

In their society it is presented as the norm to have same sex relationships until a certain age with Mamoru being viewed as unusually for not having a boyfriend. They are expected to later form a relationship with a person of the other sex. In other words they are expected to grow out of their same-sex sexuality. There are no adults in the series who are in committed same sex relationships. None of the teenagers in episode sixteen pair with a member of the same sex. It seems that same sex relationships are expected to be something one grows out of.

The False Minoshiro in episode three further supports this. Human society has become like Bonobos (whom have sex many partners of any sex). A society of love. This basically means that I doubt these characters are meant to be monogamous either. But I won’t be talking about that here that is a topic for another post entirely. Getting back to the subject at hand, this idea of someone growing out of their same-sex attractions happens to Queer people in the real world. In the show this is referred to as playing a game. I myself have been on the receiving end of this. Another problem with this depiction is the idea that everyone is bisexual. Because if everyone is bisexual then rather then bisexual being an identity and community it is instead a universal human experience. This is a form of bisexual erasure. Putting it into a future does not change that. So is problematic tropes the only thing FTNW offer us in terms of bisexual representation? No it’s not that simply.

For starters Saki and Maria continue their relationship when they have paired with Satoru and Mamoru. There is no problem expressed in the story or from any of the characters with this. Saki’s and Maria’s relationship clearly remains strong and even at the age of twenty six Saki still thinks of Maria. She even has a moment when she dreams of Maria and the following takes place. Maria is justifying why she left with Mamoru and one of those is ‘It’s not like two girls can start a family’. Did Saki and/or Maria want that with each? It is very possible that they did but that their society clearly does not facilitate it. Maria leaving breaks Saki’s heart and Maria’s letter clearly shows she too is devastated. In short even though their society expected them to outgrow their same sex relationship they clearly haven’t.

Saki and Maria are both bisexual women. Are they marginalized in the village for their sexuality? There is no indication that is the case in fact these two have other things to be worried about. Maybe because it happened in their youth they were accepted for the time being. Maria does not stay in village so we don’t get to see what kind of conflict if any their relationship would have caused had it continued into adulthood. That’s unfortunate but it at least does enough to subvert the whole ‘you grow out of queerness’ trope that could have been present.

So I’ve talked a lot about the girls in this anime but what about the boys? I talked a bit about Mamoru before so what about Satoru and Shun. At the start of episode eight they are in a relationship but on realizing he is becoming a karmic demon Shun breaks off the relationship rather coldly. Even going as far as to say ‘Haven’t we played this game long enough?’ Satoru is hurt by this. He later starts seeing another boy as part of a rebound or to make his ex boyfriend jealous. Shun dies soon later. Shun says he was in love with Saki.

He never says anything similar to Satoru even though there is clearly tension between them after they break up. We don’t get a enough of Shun’s perspective in the anime to really tell us how he viewed his relationship with Satoru. But we do know he was in love with Saki. The tension after they break up and why Shun broke up with him show that he did at least care for Satoru in some way. There are examples of him caring about Satoru through out the series for example in episode seven when they are reunited he and Satoru are the first to embrace. Shun may have cared for Satoru not in the same he did for Saki but in some way he did.

However Satoru is another story. There is much more information on his feelings for Shun then on Shun’s feelings for Satoru. Satoru was very much in love with Shun. Saki even saying when they spoke about Shun’s replacement Ryou that ‘(Ryou) is not the person we both fell in love with’. Satoru’s actions after he and Shun break clearly show he is not over him. He is worried about Shun and is the first to leap into action to find him when he disappears.  With Shun dead and Satoru’s memories of him erased he doesn’t think of Shun as Saki thinks of Maria. But we learn in episode twenty that he still wants to regain his memories of the faceless boy (Shun) so he can come to terms with whatever happened and move on. When Saki says Shun’s name in episode twenty five we see Satoru’s eye widen.

Is it possible he has recalled who Shun was? Very much so. The ending only further supports this when we see Saki had regained all her memories, even those of Reikio.  I like the interpretation that he did. Even if he didn’t Saki may have restored them. She clearly shows she is able to work well with hypnosis in the series. Because he is able to remember Shun Satoru is finally about to move on. Satoru like Maria and Saki subvert the toxic tropes as well. Making him not just a bisexual character but a male bisexual character. Boys who are bisexual are still so uncommon in media so it is great to see one.

There are other things the show does that is praise worthy, even with all the characters who die there are two bisexual character who get a happy ending Satoru and Saki. Happy ending for Queer characters are still so rare and it’s great to see one. The heterosexual relationships in the show are treated with respect and developed rather well. None of the hetero relationships come out of left field.

Despite the good the anime does with bisexual character there are few things that could have been done better. I wish is that the show had gone a little bit further in showing these character’s relationships. Especially Shun’s and Satoru’s romance. Since Saki is the point of view character we only get inside her mind in depth. Also this begs the question what about monosexual queers (gays and lesbians) do they not exist in this world since human society is meant to be a society of love? If that is the case how come someone like Mamoru the token heterosexual exist? Even if you make the argument that he is not straight just always in love with Maria what would the situation have been like if she was a boy? Alas we never get an answer to this.

So how does From The New World hold up as a representation for bisexuality. It is a very solid one. Does it do everything right and explore everything about queer identity in this world? No but it does more then enough things to represent some pretty cool bisexual characters including subverting some pretty toxic tropes. If you want a cool science fiction anime with bi character this is probably the best out there and well worth watching.


[ 27.10.17 / Friday ]  A Week of Spooky Reads [ 3/7 x ] :

The Invisible Man, by H. G. Wells

“Great and strange ideas transcending experience often have less effect upon men and women than smaller, more tangible considerations.”

help a college student out

okay, so, i am in mid semester of my science fiction english class up at my college. i need to pick an argument about a work of science fiction with supporting arguments and facts and such.

i decided to do the dangers of time travel in the futurama verse. my professor kind of left it pretty open ended, so the presentation can be anything. like, i could write a script and send my class into the woods for a futurama larping session. i could do an essay but i wanna do something more fun and original and artistic.

<b>any thoughts?<b>

ID #47146

Name: Elizabeth

Age: 19

Country: Russia

Hi! I’m a first-year student of the foreign languages faculty. I’m from Tatarstan but now I live in St.Petersburg because of my University. My English is quite well but I need more practise. And I think this website is a good opportunity to get acquainted with new people!
I love reading, watching films (especially science fiction, horror and drama ones). I do love going to the theatre. However I don’t have enough time for it. I have to work hard daily…my assignment…So It’s really difficult to train as a linguist-interpreter. But It’s so interesting and every day is lively and productive.
I adore walking in the streets and heart to heart talks. By the way I don’t cease to admire the architecture of St.Petersburg!
I like kind, patient, attentive , out-going people! And an ambitious person always inspires me.
I’m fond of making friends and chatting!I do want to get to know about different cultures.
I suppose that it’s enough.Oh, I don’t have any idea what I should add. You can find out more information about me if you write me :) I will wait for you!

Preferences:  Preferable age is 18-26. I don’t care about gender.

Shit can be traced back to the Old English verb scitan (which meant exactly what it does today), and further back to Proto-Germanic skit (the Germans still say scheisse), and all the way back to the Proto-Indo-European word (c. 4000 BC) skhei, which meant to separate or divide, presumably on the basis that you separated yourself from your faeces. Shed (as in shed your skin) comes from the same root, and so does schism.

An odd little aspect of this etymology is that when Proto-Indo-European arrived in the Italian peninsula they used skhei to mean separate or distinguish. If you could tell two things apart then you knew them, and so the Latin word for know became scire. From that you got the Latin word scientia, which meant knowledge, and from that we got the word science This means that science is, etymologically, shit. It also means that knowing your shit, etymologically, means that you’re good at physics and chemistry.

—  Mark Forsyth (The Inky Fool), The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll Through the Hidden Connections of the English Language
ID #47184

Name: Lacey
Age: 21
Country: United States

I’m relatively shy, really into science fiction, still love cartoons, and learning languages. Currently i am learning French, German, and Spanish. I draw and paint. I’m legally blind, so apologies advance for any misunderstandings in communication. If you’re looking to brush up on your english I’d be delighted to help, especially if you’ll grant me the same opportunity to practice and learn as well. I love snail mail, there’s something so endearing about receiving a letter in the mail, and the customization options are limitless! I love listening to music that moves other people, so please feel free to share your favorite artists with me! 

Preferences: I have a slight preference for women, but I’d love someone to practice with/learn from regardless of their gender.

Charlie Hunnam, Rhoticity and Raleigh Becket; OR, Good Sir, What Even Is Your Accent?

I am not a linguist, nor am I any sort of articulation or phonology-affiliated professional. That stated, my collegiate area of study was English Writing, which included multiple linguistics and language-history classes, I am a native speaker of North Midland American English, and I have beyond-passing familiarity with French language and speech pathology. What follows is a theory, and it may not be a popular one, but I just can’t take it anymore: I have to talk about Raleigh’s (and therefore Charlie Hunnam’s) accent, and how it pertains to characterization.

Hold onto your butts. We’re gonna get meta.

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