Science Fiction

Description of the Genre

Science Fiction is also known as Speculative Fiction and explores the human condition by placing human beings in worlds that are different to ours. This includes all stories being set in the future, alternate world stories or those set in the historical past that contradict known facts, stories set on other worlds and stories that contradict the laws of nature such as time travel.

If the story is set in a universe that follows the same rules as ours, its Science fiction; it is about what could be, but isn’t. Whereas fantasy is about what couldn’t be, for example magic.

Several structures could be adopted in constructing a Science fiction story. The story could be character based and begin when the main character is so unhappy, impatient or angry in his present role that he begins the process of change. It ends when the character settles into his new role or gives up the struggle and remains in the old role; happily or not.

Alternatively the story could be event based. In this case something is wrong in the fabric of the universe; the world is out of order. The story starts when the character whose actions are most crucial to establishing the new order becomes involved in the struggle.

Science fiction stories can also be centred on an idea. The story begins with a question and ends when the question is answered.
Readers need to connect with the characters before caring about saving the world of the story.

Text 1: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld pp 16 – 20


Exercises
a) Questions
Read the excerpt from Uglies below and complete the following questions
in your Reading Journal. Or make your responses more interesting by trying one of these online tools:

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1. What do you think is happening in the extract?

2. What do we learn about the characters in this extract from the following?
    • What they say?
    • How they are described

3. Peris has clearly 'evolved' since their last meeting and is now 'pretty' . These are words which usually have positive connotations. Do you
think that the author has used these words to create a positive mood. Explain your answer.

4. Tally's contact reveals to her that he has undergone more than just a physical change. What clues are there about how he has changed?
What clues exist that Tally has not 'evolved at the same rate?What hints do we have that there is a connection between them which is
going to continue in the future ?

b) Discussion
Respond to the following discussion.
Subject Author Replies Views Last Message
What do you learn about Tally and Peris? guidars guidars 0 119 Dec 9, 2010 by guidars guidars


c) Genre Features
Open the Word document below and use Track Changes to complete this activity by using the highlighting and comment tool.

How many of these features appear in the story?
  • robots
  • androids
  • time travel
  • extra-terrestrials (ETs)
  • inventions
  • genetic engineering
  • post apocalyptic


d) Creative Writing
Length: 200 – 300 words
Complete the activity below:
Rewrite this meeting between Peris and Tally from Peris' perspective in several paragraphs, writing in the first person.

Text 2: Mortal Engines pp 3 – 4 by Philip Reeve


Exercises
Mortal_Engines_.jpga) Questions
Complete the following questions in your Reading Journal. Or make your responses more interesting by trying one of the online tools listed above.

  1. What do the novel's title and chapter title suggest to the reader about the subject matter of the book? i.e. what might the book be about?
  2. What tells you that this is a different world from ours?
  3. London is described as being like an animal. How is this done and what does it tell you about what London has become?
  4. This passage contains a lot of long sentences which are broken up by commas. What do you think the writer has chosen to structure his sentences this way? What sort of rhythm and effect is being created and how might this connect to the subject matter being described?


b) Genre Features
Open the Word document below and use Track Changes to complete this activity by using the highlighting and comment tool.

How many of these features appear in the story?
  • robots
  • androids
  • time travel
  • extra-terrestrials (ETs)
  • inventions
  • genetic engineering
  • post apocalyptic


c) Creative Writing
Length: 200 – 300 words
Complete the activity below:

Choosing 3-4 features of the city in the extract above. Write a description of Melbourne where you imagine that it is a Traction City like the London of the story.

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Ender’s Game by O S Card

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2001, a space odyssey by A C Clarke

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Nightpeople by A Eaton

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Brave New World by A Huxley

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Mortal_Engines_.jpg
Mortal Engines by P Reeve

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Frankenstein by M Shelley

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20,000 Leagues under the Sea by J Verne

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The Time Machine by H.G.Wells

uglies.jpg
Uglies by S Westerfeld

Leviathan.jpg
Leviathan by S Westerfeld

Triffids.jpg
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