O’Brien’s Lives Of The Dead Book Review
The inter-relationship between fiction and imagination are critical in the defining the Vietnam war in O’Brien’s book. War is real although the soldiers are fictional. The realities of war and its devastating effects are clearly defined from imaginations of the reader as depicted by the imaginary characters. O’Brien purportedly asserts a piece of information to be factual and later confesses to it being fictitious is evidence that he is consciously aware of the use of both fact and fiction in writing his book.
While advocating that stories can bring dead people back to life the dimensions of imagination and reality are further realized. In context dead people can only be imagined to be alive and live people will factually continue to exist as alive or dead people are actually dead and will factually remain to be dead. O’Brien continually reaffirms to the reader about the authenticity of the story of Rat Kiley slowly killing a baby water buffalo and despite the fact that the reader knows pretty well that it is fictional they actually accept it as factual.
The existence of social codes and contracts in the platoons become arbitrary. Thieves for example are punished by others to create fear in others in committing the same bad unacceptable acts in society. The relationship between Jensen and Strunk and the social contract they make is much evidence of the increasing social pressure caused by the ravages of war.
Most of the social pressure in the book is evident in the quests to prove one’s bravery. Another good example of the social pressure is in the intensity of war and honor is revealed when in chapter eight Curt Lemon has a tooth pulled out just to prove he is not afraid of the dentist. In chapter four Tim chooses to go to war to be seen as brave despite his fear and shame. Tim also feels the guilt and shame of killing a young man and sees nothing brave in the act. Most of the men join the army out of a need to fulfil their social obligation to society. Norman Bowker joined the war out of popular cultural pressure and the need to impress his father and the society with medals. He succeeds in getting all the medals except one and the social pressure continues to haunt him even after returning from the war evidenced in the need to be a good citizen and hold down a job and have relationships.
The story on the Rainy River shows evidence of social pressure as he receives his draft notice and does not want to fight in a war he does not believe to be just. His peers have a motivating factor in his decision about the war and O’Brien has fear of being ashamed before his peers. The decisions that O’Brien makes to fight in the war and not to flee into Canada arise from the social influence his family and community have on him and what they would think of him if he does not fight in the war.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 History
- 3 Nature of Science Fiction
- 4 Common Elements
- 5 Hard versus Soft Science Fiction
- 6 Soft Science Fiction
- 7 The Differences and Similarities between Science Fiction and Fantasy
- 8 Subgenres
- 9 Science Fiction Studies
- 9.1 Conclusion
- 9.2 Works Cited
Science fiction is one of the genres in the speculative fiction; it focuses on the concepts that are imaginative. This includes technology, time travel, parallel universes and futuristic science. The area of science fictions deals with the exploration of the scientific effects and innovations; other scholars refer to this as the literature of ideas (Gross 933).
The field does not focus on with supernatural forces in comparison with the fantasy counterpart. Previously the discipline has been grounded on the idea of the actual science, but currently, it concentrates on the hard science fiction (Suvin 11). The scientific fiction entails various subcategories and themes; it is what we direct at, when we utter something, one may not explain it but may know what it is after encountering, could entail stories that are interesting with prophetic vision and scientific facts. This paper seeks to create the understanding of science fiction as speculative fiction.
Science fiction is a means of creating understanding about the planet, it is done through telling stories and speculation; the history can be traced back to period dividing myths and actual history. For instance during the second century by A Syrian known as Lucian which is the satirist, it consists of various themes that are also compatible with the modern scientific fictions such include taking the journey to the other world, artificial life and interplanetary warfare (Suvin 13). This can be considered to be the original novel that expounded on the concept. The development of the current science fiction began with work of Johannes that was produced in the 1620s; this was formed by reasons featuring the protagonist adventure with places that are fantastical indicating a journey to the moon and how planet earth is observed from the satellite (Gross 932). Much development took place in the 18th century as the vital tool in the written work, for example, the story about the fight in the moon spread in the 19th century. With telegraph and electricity during the 19th-century significant improvement was observed due to powered transportation. The most important subjects that emerged in the 1990s include environment, biotechnology and internet as indicated by Neal Stephenson’s.
Nature of Science Fiction
The area focuses on writing significantly based on rational thinking about the alternative kind of life, future and worlds. Although it is related to fantasy, it also differs; this is mainly about the ideas in the story. The ideas that are discussed can be scientifically implemented or through the physical law despite some aspects of the story being dominated by speculations that are purely imaginative and almost impossible to accomplish. The setting is always against what many people agree, although others may rely on disbelief suspension which is perpetuated in the mind of a leader through solutions that are dependent on scientific explanation to the different factors or elements. The subject of science fiction always generates some good judgment of wonder since its appeal to rational and lies both combined, miracles with believable hence appealing the sense of wonder.
Science fiction has the future as the time setting, historical past and alternative timelines, this contradicts the already known historical realities and the archaeological records. It applies the paranormal capabilities that include telekinesis, telepathy and the controlling of the mind, the expected history in the nearby future is always exaggerated, because of the more advancement on the planet due to the innovations that are facilitated by the human beings (Gross 933). The perspective employed is that of entirely different happenings in aspects of life, without ignoring social and political issues, such may include post-apocalyptic, dystopian, post-scarcity and utopian. It will always involve principles and scientific theories whose explanation and applications deviates from the commonly accepted laws for instance; wormholes, time travel and communication. It expound s on the upcoming technology that entails humanoid computer and teleportation machines, this is seen to be plausible. The setting in the outer space cannot be avoided in the other world, with characters that include; mutants, aliens robots and androids, this may involve characters emanating from the expected evolution.
The expected and developing technology has and continued to receive a lot of criticism at the same time it strives to commence new advancement in technology and innovations. Artists are to more considerable extent impacted by the technology this is precisely how they portray their fictional characters and subjects. However, it receives broadening of the imagination from the actual technology. The hard science fiction is characterized by the extensive attention to cater for details as prescribed in the natural science such as biology, chemistry and astrophysics. It indicates the most advanced technology hence making it possible. On the other hand, soft fiction forms the basis of the social sciences that include economics, anthropology, psychology and political science. It focuses on the emotions and character pertains to nature described.
Hard versus Soft Science Fiction
Hard science fiction refers to the science fiction that revolves around hard sciences also referred to as natural sciences. These are the three essential subjects’physics, chemistry and biology. It also involves complex nanotechnology and alien physiology. The main idea of this fiction is creation of the world that is a practical due application of scientific logics. Those who focus on this area love studying new things, talking, visiting and talking the idea. The authors are required to operate within the limit of the ideas they intend to communicate to the world. The problems being studied are scientific so does the solution suggested.
Soft Science Fiction
This category of science fiction focuses on social sciences such as history and sociology. It may contain sophisticated political structure, complex economic systems and studies relating to antiheroes. The primary objective is to create a planet consisting of healthy culture and society. The authors will always indicate philosophical problems that are difficult to comprehend; it reflects on the time frame, for example, expounding on the civil war with an indication of the challenges encountered by people during that particular era which may not be in the novel produced before the specific event occurred. Solutions to help solve problems identified by soft fiction are based soft sciences application the issues are apparently political emanating from the lousy governance which can be countered through military insurgency.
The Differences and Similarities between Science Fiction and Fantasy
The two aspects conduct the exploration of various realities instead of our own. In this regard, the concern of the human being is whether the idea being propagated is worth, the differences in the insetting and environment. Illusory is the core difference. For instance, science fiction has rivets while fantasy has trees. Transcendence and aspiration is also another evident dissimilarity, this is fundamental (Schneider 87). The human being can be able to reflect on the types of achievement being propagated by the science fiction and also examine the consequences associated with dystopia in future. In fantasy, our brains are engulfed with dreams that are not possible to accomplish, perhaps can be fabricated. Through science fiction, our world is much expanded which is significantly transcended by the fantasy.
Possibilities and impossibilities, science fiction, relies on the existing knowledge which is applied as a springboard to formulate imagination about future development expansion and the effects of the same. It relies on things that are possible despite being improbable. On the contrary science, underpinning is not required while dealing with fantasies, the effects are in most cases magical and rely on the impact of the supernatural being, and it rarely caters to apply rational justification, through the application scientific justifications. (Schneider 83). Science fictions will always strive to employ logical and proven theories to explain a craft. For example, in the fantasy, a character may suddenly start flying and inexistence abilities, this occurs without technological justification.
Fantasy and science fictions by the internal rules, since impossibilities happen in the fantasy, it, therefore, does not mean that it occurs randomly. The parameter of the story is laid down by the author, and some regulations are indicated (Allan 15). The application of rules is also possible with the science fiction even though it is dependent on the existing knowledge in science and its form. In both instances it is within the discretion of the author to determine the rules he or she would wish to apply. In the fantasy oriented stories, for example, if the human being develops the ability to fly, the explanation of this supernatural power can only be explained by the spiritual person or any other magical method.
Climate fiction, this fiction focuses on the climatic changes reactions as the fundamental theme. The films and novels under this category are set shortly, present or even distant future; it is also possible to place them in the past. Climate fiction creates awareness about various threats that are presented by climatic changes and global warming to the human beings and earth. Apocalyptic and Post-apocalyptic, the apocalyptic focus on with ending civilization using war especially on the beach, impacts of astronomy, disasters emanating from the ecology, pandemic and the global disasters (Stockwell 358). Here, the emphasis is put on the aftermath of the problem and the accident itself. On the other hand, post-apocalyptic fiction expounds on issues starting from the close result and extends two hundred years in future; the genre is familiar in video games series.
Bio-punk subgenre concentrates on subversives and biotechnology, the main idea the stories is attempt changing human body and engineering individuals for the identified reasons by enhancing molecular and genetic makeup. Various topics include; human experimentation, synthetic biotechnology and the biotechnology misuse (Allan 7). It may also entail human cloning and the existence of the clones in the human community in the coming years. Comedy science fiction concentrates on the parody that concerns other scientific invention and the underpinning events, for instance, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Spaceballs. Anthropology aspects are also well elaborated in the concept, the subgenre expounds and absorbs the human being investigations and anthropology such valid examples is Hominids. In this sub-discipline, there is joy and luxury as the answer to various anthropological sciences is provided such as describing the meaning of man, learning how to flame the response is critical. Anthropology has been observed to be the study of man by giving the chronology of events that start from ends at spaceman from ape- man through the explanations of the continued historical events.
Feminist science fiction raises questions that touch on social issues, for example how gender is socially constructed and the role played by gender, the importance of reproduction in defining sexuality. Other aspects include inequality regarding power both political and personal between men and women. This adequately described by utopias in the investigation of the society of the society where difference due to gender does not exist (Stockwell 351). The study of the community where gender inequality is extreme, as a result requiring the extensive work by the feminists is known as dystopias the work of Joanna Russ can be classified under this group. The military science fiction, it highlights the conflict s a context specifically between interstellar forces and interplanetary, characters are usually fighting men and women (Allan 13). Technology in military, history and rituals dominates in the elaboration, they are often drawn in parallel to the recent conflicts, and these captivations are common in the storybook and movies.
Science Fiction Studies
Study of the science fiction refers to the accurate interpretation and assessment and also the discussion new media, fandom, film and literature. This review is geared on creating understanding its dimensions and how it closely related to technology culture and political issues. Research indicates that science fiction influence how people how people think and conduct themselves towards science (Parrinder 46). Across the globe, countries have developed this genre, with United being the most developed followed by the United Kingdom and Canada, it is a global phenomenon. Many are working hard to promote various nations like a commonplace, for instance, the Algerian, Mohammed Dib has documented about the fiction allegory regarding his country politics Africans in Diaspora have also written about their motherland continent. This is particularly Afro-futurism which pertains to the work written in science fiction that has been written down by the African Diaspora in the United States. The Indian fiction was first printed in the English Language in 1945 the Journal of 48 hours. This story was political and received credit from many people.
Science fiction is characterized by alien societies, Romanticization and commentaries that are socially instigated. It is of paramount importance to note that, that this tale differs significantly from fantasy due to the application of life realities through science and technology expected in the future, it operates on the principles of science as observed with both soft and hard science fiction. The science fiction is ever future based (Parrinder 104). The plot identifies situations that differ the current circumstances and things that occurred in the past. Some work involving this kind of invention in the 20th is that of George Orwell written in 1984. The value of this genre cannot be underestimated; it indicates the changes that the human being has been undergoing such as discoveries technologically due to the new technology innovation, societal changes and natural events. The genre also helps in the identification of import values in various fields.
Allan, Kathryn. “”Introduction.”” Disability in Science Fiction. Palgrave Macmillan US, 2013. 1-15.
Gross, Rachel. “”Fact meets fiction.”” Science 349.6251 (2015): 933-933.
Parrinder, Patrick. Science fiction. Routledge, 2013.
Parrinder, Patrick. Science fiction: a critical guide. Routledge, 2014.
Schneider, Susan, ed. Science fiction and philosophy: from time travel to superintelligence. John Wiley & Sons, 2016.
Stockwell, Peter. The poetics of science fiction. Routledge, 2014.
Suvin, Darko. Metamorphoses of science fiction. Peter Lang AG, Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften, 2016.