Science Fiction Genre Essay

572 words - 3 pages

Science fiction is a modern genre that has developed in tandem with technological developments of the past century. It is very braod and generally covers fiction that involves aspects of science or technology in its facets.
It is often abbreviated to ‘SF’ or ‘Sci-Fi’ and has a large fan base across the world, reaching across the globe through books, television, film, art, games, theatre or any other new media.
In contrast with fantasty, most elements imagined within sci-fi are largely possible through established scientific developments – and through scientifically appropriated laws of nature. It’s largley written based on considering alternate possibilities to our realities (study of ‘alternate universes’) in a rational and entertaining way.
Sci-fi does this through several methods, including:
-involving technology or science prinicples in the story
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Published in 1973, Crash is a story about car-crash fetishism – meaning the protagonists in the story aer aroused by participating or staging car-crashes. Ballard uses formal and cold language about this ‘automotive paraphilia’ which makes the book sound like a report or journal of medicine, rather than a novel. This highlights the focus on technology Ballard has – enabling the fiction to fall under the genre umbrella of Sci-fi. Its inclusion of the social sexual study encourages the sub-category of soft sci-fi.
The narrating character is named after the author, but the story focuses on a ‘former TV-scientists, turned nightmare angel of the expressways’ Dr Vaughan. This involvment of Tv, Science, and automative systems is a direct correllation to science fiction. Ballard meets Vaughan after a car accident involving himself near a major London Airport. Vaughan is surrounded by a group of people, all of whom are previous crash-victims, who follow the perverted pied piper in a pursuit to crashes of celebrities, and experience "a new sexuality, born from a perverse technology".
The novel studies technological and social themes involving the transformation of human psychology (consciousness) through technology (science/technology), and the fascionation of consumers with celebrities (sociology) and technological developments and commodoties (technology). The humans come across as isolated, cold, and without passion, unable to be aroused unless involving a kind of technology. The book comments on why our society, which is commonly acknowledges as ‘enlightened,’ can accept such a “perverse technology” – that kills a vast number of people yearly – as such an integral part of our culture. It questions our dependence on tehcnology to eh point where we are not so much interacting with the other humans on our planet, as interacting with technological developments.
“the ultimate role of Crash is cautionary, a warning against that brutal, erotic and overlit realm that beckons more and more persuasively to us from the margins of the technological landscape.”

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