English 177.2: Science Fiction
Mid-Term Exam Instructions
Exams are due in Dropbox by Thursday, March 12th @ midnight (Fri, 12am)
Submit as .doc, .docx, or .pdf
Write on five of the following nine passages. Identify passages with their number on the exam. In your answer, please underline the words significance and novum.
For each passage,
1. Describe the context of the passage by identifying the speaker(s) or figure(s) involved; where in the development of the narrative the passage occurs; and what precisely is happening or being described, (5 points)
2. State the significance of the passage by pointing to specific details images, telling words, metaphors to support your account. Without these details you will not get full credit for your answer. (7 points)
3. Analyze the novum decribed or implied in the passage you have selected by situating it within the general themes treated in the text you are discussing. (8 points)
1. He continued, Your husband likes the picture. Still the gauges failed to indicate a reaction. The girl, he added, is lying facedown on a large and beautiful bearskin rug. The gauges remained inert, and he said to himself, An android response. Failing to detect the major element, the dead animal pelt. Her Its mind is concentrating on other factors.
2. Chicken pox. It did things to the Martians it never did to Earth Men. Their metabolism reacted differently, I suppose. Burnt them black and dried them out to brittle flakes. But its chicken pox, nevertheless. So York and Captain Williams and Captain Black must have got through to Mars, all three expeditions. God knows what happened to them. But at least we know what they unintentionally did to the Martians.
3. It was an impossible coincidence. NGS 549672 must be the home of the Overlords. Yet to accept the fact violated all Jans cherished ideas of scientific method. Very well let them be violated. He must accept the fact that, somehow, Ruperts fantastic experiment had tapped a hitherto unknown source of knowledge.
4. The children in this country are the one center and focus of all our thoughts. Every step of our advance is always considered in its effect on them on the race. You see, we are Mothers, she repeated, as if in that she had said it all.
5. But Im very sorry it turned out this way. I like robots. I like them considerably better than I do human beings. If a robot can be created capable of being a civil executive, I think hed make the best one possible. By the Laws of Robotics, hed be incapable of harming humans, incapable of tyranny, of corruption, of stupidity, of prejudice. And after he had served a decent term, he would leave, even though he were immortal, because it would be impossible for him to hurt humans by letting them know that a robot had ruled them. It would be most ideal.
6. You see I had always anticipated that the people of the year Eight Hundred and Two Thousand odd would be incredibly in front of us in knowledge, art, everything. Then one of them suddenly asked me a question that showed him to be on the intellectual level of one of our five-year-old children asked me, in fact, if I had come from the sun in a thunderstorm!
7. There was no mistake. The leathery wings, the little horns, the barbed tail all were there. The most terrible of all legends had come to life, out of the unknown past. Yet now it stood smiling, in ebon majesty, with the sunlight gleaming upon its tremendous body, and with a human child resting trustfully on either arm.
8. They were realists. The Ship was the Ship. It was a fact, requiring no explanation. As for Jordan who had ever seen Him, spoken to Him? What was this nebulous Plan of His? The object of life was living. A man was born, lived his life, and then went to the Converter. It was as simple as that, no mystery to it, no sublime Trip and no Centaurus. These romantic stories were simply hangovers from the childhood of the race before men gained the understanding and the courage to look facts in the face.
9. They set foot upon the porch. Hollow echoes sounded from under the boards as they walked to the screen door. Inside they could see a bead curtain hung across the hall entry, and a crystal chandelier and a Maxfield Parrish painting framed on one wall over a comfortable Morris chair. The house smelled old, and of the attic, and infinitely comfortable. You could hear the tinkle of ice in a lemonade pitcher. In a distant kitchen, because of the heat of the day, someone was preparing a cold lunch. Someone was humming under her breath, high and sweet.
These passages are from these novels:
The Time Machine, H.G. Wells (Penguin)
Herland, Charlotte Perkins Gilman (Pantheon)
I, Robot, Isaac Asimov (Spectra)
Childhoods End, Arthur C. Clarke (Del Rey)
The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury (Harper Perennial)
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick (Del Rey)
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