All posts by Benjamin Renne

Two Part Assignment

Biased Language: “from eight-year old children reading the latest edition of “Flash Gordon” by the schoolyard, to forty-year old men watching the newest episode of “Star Trek” in their parent’s basement, science fiction appeals to a wide assortment of people.”

I can correct this fallacy by amending this sentence to talk more about generalizations of science fiction and not specifically the culture itself. “Forty-year old men” are not a necessary part of this paper.

Hasty Generalization: “Through mythology we learn as much about ourselves and the world around us as we do through science.”

I can correct this fallacy by finding a source that supports this conclusion. Or another option is omitting the sentence completely.

I envision my poster to look like an 8th grade science fair poster board, except way cooler. Haha, just kidding Professor Sample!

I imagine my poster to contain the most salient points of my paper. In specific, I plan on including the definition of science fiction, or at least what I have pieced together, and the name of the work that I have identified as the origin of science fiction. In addition I plan on including intriguing visuals such as colorful pictures of spaceships and book covers to grab the attention of those who are passing by. Perhaps I will also include one or two excellent quotes from scholarly sources that I have found throughout my research. In terms of design I am going to try to make it colorful and fun, yet still serious and scholarly; Word Art is a must have.

My Awesome Presentation

By putting together the power point presentation I began to coherently formulate the basis of my project. Before, the concept of my research question was vague and ephemeral, whereas now doing this presentation has forced me to make it much more concrete. Doing the presentation also forced me to more clearly see and understand the “They Say” part of the argument, something I had been rather confused about previously.

The questions after my presentation helped me to realize that I really need to find a definition for my topic (science fiction). A definition will help in pinpointing an origin for the genre by giving me a solid background from which to work off of.

If these sources were any more promising they would explode!

Evans, Arthur B. “The Origins of Science Fiction Criticism: From Kepler to Wells.” Science Fiction Studies (Jul1999, Vol. 26, No. 2): 163-186.

Gomel, Elana. “Shapes of the Past and the Future: Darwin and the Narratology of Time Travel.” Narrative (Oct2009, Vol. 17, No 3): 334-352.

Kincaid, Paul. “On the Origins of Genre.” Extrapolation (Winter2003, Vol. 44 Issue 4): 409-419.

Slusser, George. “The Origins of SF.” Science Fiction Studies (Jul2009, Vol. 36 Issue 2): 200-201.

Westfahl, Gary. “Evolution of Modern Science Fiction: The Textual History of Hugo Gernsback’s “Ralph 124C 41+”.” Science Fiction Studies (Mar1996, Vol. 23, No. 1): 37-82.

I think of these five very promising sources the last one, by Gary Westfahl, is going to be THE MOST promising because of the title. The “Evolution of Modern Science Fiction” is almost word for word my thesis, which is pretty awesome. Hopefully this article by Mr. Westfahl will be abounding with just the information I need (I have a good feeling that it is).

Stally boy

I think that Stallybrass is saying that no thoughts are original. All thoughts originate from a collective force or consciousness, in much the way that words do. You are not the originator of the words you say; you are merely borrowing them from a “linguistic warehouse”, of sorts, in an effort to communicate with others.

In the same way, Stallybrass is saying that you borrow thoughts to communicate ideas. However, with thoughts the media in which you express these “borrowed” thoughts are much more varried than that of words. For instance, in a research paper, a medium of written form in this case, you borrow thoughts from various sources and compile them into an organized paper for the purpose of communicating these thoughts themselves to other people.

Research Topic Thing

I am interested in researching the origins of science fiction

Because I want to find out how the genre has evolved throughout the ages.

And this is important so that humanity may learn, not only from the past, but from the future as well.


1. What specific authors? Seminal science fiction authors, or what?

2. Ages? Perhaps narrow down to within the last 100 or 150 years or so?

3. What is it important for humanity to learn?

Enola Gay and the Bomb: Life’s a Bitch and Then You Die

In relating the Enola Gay exhibit to what we learned in class about museums, exhibits, and official/unofficial stories it seems to me that the Enola Gay is simply a metonym of the larger controversy about the war. Sure, the Enola Gay itself has a certain controversial air about it, but what it really comes down to is the symbol that the Enola Gay represents for the larger aspects of the war.

The most obvious way that the Enola Gay is a metonym for WWII is, of course, in regard to the atomic bomb. The question whether such a devastating weapon, that can destroy a whole city in one fell-swoop, belongs in the arsenal of mankind shall always be dubious. At what point do we stop? When civilians become the targets of war’s horrific nature or when we completely destroy ourselves from an imminent nuclear war? Furthermore, if such a weapon was used, why does the Enola Gay seem to stand for the destruction of mankind instead of a solemn tribute to that fateful tragedy? This question seems to be at the very heart of the controversy and shows the problem when creating a metonym, or even a simple symbol, out of an object whose purpose was so horrific that it went against the very moral fabric of humanity.

Countdown (Space Shuttle Columbia)

In the song “Countdown” by the progressive rock band Rush, the launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia on April 12, 1981 is reported both musically and poetically. The song relates the awesome and incredible experience of observing the first manned space shuttle, since the Apollo missions, begin its launch in a blaze of fire and sound. As the shuttle musically ascends towards space, one is left with the feeling of enormity and grandiosity that might have been felt by all observers.

Though the first launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia truly must have been an amazing and memorable event, the band neglects to mention the catastrophic end to the program. On January 16, 2003 (the shuttle’s 28th flight) Columbia was destroyed upon re-entry into the atmosphere due to a dislodged piece of foam that damaged the shuttle’s wing; all of the astronauts died in the crash. It is important to note this later unfortunate event when discussing the original launch, because of its impact on the entire NASA program itself.

A Poem From His Memorabilia

This poem, a quatrain to be specific, speaks of the injustice of the time, presumably slavery. It speaks of a better time, when injustice (slavery?) on earth shall be no more. Idealistic: possibly; historically relevant: definitely. It is unclear whether Douglass wrote this poem himself or whether some other anonymous poet crafted these lines. This poem seems to speak of the problems that Douglass may have been experiencing, as he longed for a time “When earth’s injustice to her son’s shall end.”

The fact that Douglass even owns the poem tells us that he valued an intellectual life (further shown in the book we read over the summer) and the benefit one receives in reading. Poetry, obviously, was therefore one piece of writing in particular that Douglass valued and respected.

The fact that the document contains no information other then the poem itself brings forth many unanswered questions. Who, if not Douglass, is the author? Why did they write it? When did they write it? Could a slave, or even former slave, possibly have written it? Did an abolitionist or sympathetic humanitarian write this? How did Douglass get a copy of it? Why is the handwriting so cool? All of these questions are avenues for further research into the origin and purpose of this document.

Ben Renne