An Exploration of Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Weekly Blog (from Silent Discussion) week of April 30th April 30, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — nstremming @ 3:41 pm

Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup (unknown author).

Two Tasks: I & II (scroll down for II)

I.  By 11:59 pm Thursday, please answer one of the following prompts (total of 10 points).  Remember: this is an academic writing; therefore, it is vital that you write a complete essay.  Be mindful of the following: spelling, grammar, sentence structure, capitalization usage, comma usage, essay format, paragraph format, MLA formatting & style, etc.  This type of writing assignment is to help you develop both your writing skills and your analytical skills, both requisite in higher education and in the work force. 

Minimum Length:  500 words

1.  Are schools building minds or machines?  Provide evidence to support your opinion.

2.  In what ways has Fantasy changed your way of thinking?  Provide evidence to support your opinion.

3. Why do people read and/or watch Fantasy?  Please explain your answer.

4.  “Withholding information is the essence of Tyranny.  Control of the flow of information is the tool of the Dictatorship” (Bruce Coville, n.d.).  Write a response to the above quote.  Provide evidence to support your opinion.

5. How does one read and write Effectively?

6.  Is society prejudiced against Fantasy?  Provide evidence to support your opinion.

Task II: By 11:59 pm Sunday, May 6th read your classmates postings, choose two that stand out, and respond to the chosen two (total of 5 points).  In your two responses, make sure you provide critical feedback.  Minimum Length: 50 words

https://i0.wp.com/thecalmspace.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/the-pheonix-lunch.jpg

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Battle Royale: Weekly Blog March 2, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — nstremming @ 7:10 pm

BATTLE ROYALE (2000):

What would you do?….

Must See!  – Battle Royale Trailer by Joe Smith-Cupani

In an alternative future Japan, junior high students are forced to fight to the death! L to R (Western Style). Koushun Takami’s notorious high-octane thriller is based on an irresistible premise: a class of junior high school students is taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian program, they are provided arms and forced to kill one another until only one survivor is left standing. Criticized as violent exploitation when first published in Japan–where it then proceeded to become a runaway bestseller–Battle Royale is a Lord of the Fliesfor the 21st century, a potent allegory of what it means to be young and (barely) alive in a dog-eat-dog world. Made into a controversial hit movie of the same name, Battle Royale is already a contemporary Japanese pulp classic, now available for the first time in the English language. A group of high school students are taken to small isolated island and forced to fight each other until only one remains alive! If they break the rules a special collar blows their heads off.

__________________________________________

For this Weekly Blog, please answer one (1) of the following questions/prompts, using evidence from both the film watched and novels/ articles/etc. you have read.  Remember, this is an academic response; therefore, it is imperative that you following the appropriate formal writing format and style.  Be mindful of spelling, capitalization, punctuation, sentence structure, paragraph/essay format, and in-text citations (use MLA).  Please review the Rubric so you are familiar with my expectations for a 10/10 writing.

 

Here are the nine student-created questions from which to choose.  Note: they have been modified by this instructor.

 

1. In the three mediums Battle Royale (BR) has been published in (book, manga, and movie) there have been slight plot differences between the three.  One of the major differences is the government’s publicly-stated reasons behind the B.R program itself. While the movie states that it is a way to control a violent, delinquent student populace, the manga states that it is an economic policy meant to raise capitol through the sale of related merchandise. The book puts it as a form of military conscription (mandatory military service).  Question: What do you think are the deeper or secret reasons for the Battle Royale program?

 

2. For those of you familiar with Collin’s The Hunger Games (2009), is the The Hunger Games a rip-off of Battle Royale?  If so, does it matter?  Read information from this website to help you answer this interesting question(s).

 

3. If put in the same situation, what would you do?  What would be your justification?  Think about mob violent mentality.

4. Think about it: what does the winner actually win?

 

5. Hypothetical: Explain how you would survive a Battle Royale with your current Senior English class?

 

6. If you were in a Battle Royale-like “game”, would you show any kindness?  (would kindness be considered weakness?)

 

7. In what ways is this film an allegory of what it’s like to be a high school student?

 

8. The smiling girl who won the game (we saw her in the beginning of the film) seemed twisted.  Did the game change her or was she always like this (i.e. her true self came out)?

 

9. In what sub-genre does Battle Royale belong?  How so?

___________________

Due Date: By 11:59 pm Sunday, April 15th

Responses to Classmates’ Postings: By 11:59 pm Wednesday, April 18th

 

Weekly Blog: Week of March 19 – 23

Filed under: Uncategorized — nstremming @ 7:10 pm

Task One: Due by 11:59 pm Thursday, March 22/ Task Two: respond to two (2) classmates’ postings due by 11:59 Sunday, March 25th.  Seriously – Complete both of these Tasks.  One – this will assist you when you write the book review; Two – this helps with your writing skills development; and Three – this helps refine your Critical Thinking Skills.

 

Please choose one (1) of the following to respond to.  Remember: this is an academic assignment, so please make sure to follow the proper paragraph and essay format.  Also pay attention to grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and sentence form. Minimum Length: 350 – 400 words.  Use this time to provide examples (i.e. reasoning, support, etc) to your answers.  These can probably then be used in your Critical Review #2 (due Friday, April 6th).

Note: When you respond to your classmates’ blogs, make sure you provide the author with critical feedback, feedback that could help her/him write her Critical Review.

  1. Watch the Film version of your novel: Do a compare analysis – what are the similarities and/or differences?  In addition, which version is more effective in telling the story?
  2. What are the settings?  Explain the elements of fantasy that you see in the setting.  Which sub-genre of Fantasy does this novel belong?
  3. How does the author enable you, the reader, to enter the fantasy world?  Are there realistic elements?  Discuss some of these and how they affect the story.
  4. How do trips to other times and worlds help the characters cope with their time?
  5. Is there a struggle between forces of good and evil?  Who wins?  How do you know?
  6. What special powers do the characters possess?  How do they use these powers?
  7. What does the character learn about their self?
  8. What character traits does the main character have that you see in yourself?
  9. How do the ideas and themes in this book connect to other fantasy books you’ve read?
  10. How has this book changed your thinking?

 

NO Weekly Blog – Week of March 12 – 16

Filed under: Uncategorized — nstremming @ 7:09 pm

There is no Weekly Blog for the week of March 12.  Please, use your time focusing on your Second Fantasy Novel.

-Stremming

 

Weekly Blog for the Week of February 27th – March 2nd February 27, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — nstremming @ 11:53 pm

Task One: Due by 11:59 pm Thursday, March 1st/ Task Two: respond to two (2) classmates’ postings due by 11:59 Sunday, March 4th.

Please choose one (1) of the following to respond to.  Remember: this is an academic assignment, so please make sure to follow the proper paragraph and essay format.  Also pay attention to grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and sentence form. Minimum Length: 350 – 400 words.  Use this time to provide examples (i.e. reasoning, support, etc) to your answers.  These can probably then be used in your Critical Review #1 (due Friday, March 9th).

 

Note: When you respond, provide the author with critical feedback, feedback that could help her/him write her Critical Review.

  • What are the settings?  Explain the elements of fantasy that you see in the setting.

  • How does the author enable you, the reader, to enter the fantasy world?  Are there realistic elements?  Discuss some of these and how they affect the story.

  • How do trips to other times and worlds help the characters cope with their time?

  • Is there a struggle between forces of good and evil?  Who wins?  How do you know?

  • What special powers do the characters possess?  How do they use these powers?

  • What does the character learn about their self?

  • What character traits does the main character have that you see in yourself?

  • How do the ideas and themes in this book connect to other fantasy books you’ve read?

  • How has this book changed your thinking?

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Weekly Blog: Examining Your Current Novels February 22, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — nstremming @ 8:07 pm

http://majjal.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/habibi_05.jpg       https://i0.wp.com/www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/schools/argylems/portfolio/web_design/weba_b/pd3_critic/karl_yee_criticsiteproject/images/bilbo.jpg

Task One: Choose one (1) of the following questions/prompts and respond in a well-written, strong, and academic essay.  Minimum Length: 450 words.  Remember: this is in the Category of Weekly Writings, which is 25% of your final grade.  Please do your best.  If you do not receive a liked-score, then you can refine (i.e. revise) your blog for higher score.  Just conference with your instructor. Task Two: By 11:59 pm Sunday, the 26th read your classmates’ blogs, choose two (2) that stand out to you and respond to each (each response must be at least 50 words)

1. What is the strongest parallel you see between the events of the novel you are currently reading (The Hobbit, The Hunger Games, Game of Thrones, Habibi, Harry Potter #1, or The Looking Glass Wars) and our society or history? In addition, do you find any comparisons to events that have been part of your own life?

2. Violence as entertainment plays a large part in The Hunger Games, and the novel itself is both violent and entertaining. What shocked you most about the book? What important points do you think the author makes about violence and its effects on society? violence in the media? violence and children?

3. “When you play the Game of Thrones, you either win or you die” Cersei claims early in the novel. There are consequences (often severe and final) when you question or try to claim power. However, the events of the story would seem to show plenty of room for partial victories and less than total defeat. Is a playing a Game of Thrones an all or nothing proposition?k

4. For those of you who have read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which magical subject would you be most excited to study at Hogwarts, and why?

5. The Hobbits are Tolkien’s idyllic race of Everymen.  In what ways do they personify the purest ideals of Human Nature?

6. In what ways does the story reflect and present on society?

7. Habibi was written and illustrated by Craig Thompson, a white male author.  As a white male author, how do you think he handled the portrayal of women? And the portrayal of middle eastern characters?

8. In what ways does Habibi (by Craig Thompson) work within Orientalist Fantasy? In what ways is it a mix of orientalist fantasy and ethnographic realism.  Note: this one is a challenge – in order to answer this questions properly, you will need to do a bit of online research.  Search the following concepts on Google: oriental, orientalism, orientalist fantasy, and ethnographic realism.

9. Regarding the Looking Glass Wars, why do you think that Alyss’ imagination wouldn’t work in the “real world”?  What is the author implying about society in the real world pertaining to imagination?  Do you think that imagination is important?  Why or why not?


https://franklinsciencefiction.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/hungergames.jpg?w=300

https://i1.wp.com/comicsmedia.ign.com/comics/image/article/735/735533/looking-glass-war-hatter-m-20060914024754494_1159310035.jpg

 

 

Pan’s Labyrinth: Escapism February 7, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — nstremming @ 6:18 pm

TASK ONE: By 11:59 pm Thursday, February 9th  Updated (2/10 @ 0831) By 11:59 Monday, February 13th – please post a response to one (1) of the following prompts.  In your response, please make sure to include personal experience, textual, and film support (reasoning) for your ideas. You may need to do a bit of internet research ( for example: Spanish Civil War; Pan’s Labyrinth: About the Story; Fascism; Spanish Civil War Videos; Guenica).  NOTE: Here are two (2) movie review that I believe with help you address the prompts: Pan’s Labyrinth reviewed by Enrique Ajuria Ibarra, Review by Paul Julian Smith (from Film Quarterly, Summer 2007, Vol. 60 no. 4).

ANNOUNCEMENT (updated Fri, 2/10 @ 0825): I agree that more of the film should be watched in order to answer the prompts if your answer(s) were intended to connect with the film (i.e. using examples from the film to support your answer).  However, I do believe these tasks can be completed while we are in the process of watching the film.

Ofelia is using Fantasy to help her escape (unbeknownst to her, yes) a foreign, dominant new father, a new home, and her mother’s illness.  In addition, the story is set during the time of the Spanish Civil War – Ofelia uses Fantasy unintentionally to escape from the life of War.  Think about your own experiences when you had to “escape” from a difficult situation – a time of personal tragedy (maybe).  In addition, think about how children have to live through horrible times of war – men, women, and children living through (and dying in) times of constant death (for example: the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia; the Holocaust; Darfur; Iraqi Kurds Gassing by Saddam Hussein; Armenian Genocide pre-WWI; Rwanda Genocide; unfortunately etc..).

I understand that this is not a Political Science class, Human Geography class, or a History class, but the theme of whether Escapism is Essential (using Fantasy to cope..) we are exploring with Pan’s Labyrinth can connected to societal and global issues.  The overall question is whether escapism is essential in society.  Another question we are exploring (perhaps indirectly) is how fantasy presents/reflects on issues (political, societal, religious, personal).

Please take your time (not too much though) to answer the question, so please respond to a prompt (or more for Extra Credit).

 

Man’s Inhumanity to ManThe Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the Holocaust.

MINIMUM LENGTH: 450 WORDS

1. How essential is Escapism in Society?

2. Can Fantasy Rescue Us from Trauma?

3. Can Fantasy Be a Form of Protest?

4. “No One Is Coming To Your Rescue.  And That Is a Good Thing”.  Should a Person Abandon His/Her Rescue Fantasy?

Student-Created Questions:

  • What did El Capitan mean when he stated his ideological premise of a “clean, new Spain”? What does this remind you of?
  • What insight does the film have regarding gender and expectations?

__________________________________

Task Two: By 11:59 Sunday, February 12th UPDATED: by 11:59 Wednesday, February 15th: please respond to at least two (2) of your classmates’ responses.  Each response must be at least 50 WORDS.

I look forward to reading your responses.

-Stremming

https://franklinsciencefiction.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/arte_guernica_2.jpg?w=300

For More Information on the Above Painting, Click on the Link Below (FYI – the painting is Priceless, meaning it is too expensive to put a price on it.  armed guards stand on both sides in the museum in Madrid, Spain)

Picasso’s Guernica

____________________________________________________________________

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