The novels we have read this semester share more similarities than not. For example, in “The House of the Scorpion,” we are presented with a beast. I find it ironic that in all the novels the most normal kind of “animal” is a clone and yet his surroundings deem him to be a beast. I feel as if the term best is more cruel than monster or the unidentified “they” in Lilith’s Brood when referring to the Oankali. Nevertheless, in most of our novels there has been a creature of some sort that is inserted into a society where their unnatural and unusual characteristics cast them out of the normalcy of society. With every creature comes its creator. In “Frankenstein,” “Lilith’s Brood,” and now “The House of the Scorpion” we are entangled in the messy relationship between the two opposing forces. We are able to see just how unreal and deformed their relationships are. I get a bit creeped out when I actually sit and think of some of the dialogue used between the creature and creator; how disconnected Frankenstein wished to be from his monster, to how creepily in-tune El Patron is with his younger self. Isolation becomes a major theme in most of these novels as well. Most of the time at least in “Lilith’s Brood” and “The House of the Scorpion,” a prison of some sort is forced on the one opposing party whether it be the “normal” society or the estranged alien society (whatever normal is). Matt is locked away and treated with animal-like surroundings whereas Lilith is not harmed but rather cured in her isolation. The monster in “Frankenstein” isolates himself all thanks to the horridness of his persona which in turn is his creator’s fault. Another interesting aspect is how the “normal” society resists the alien like intrusion but comes to terms with it eventually over time, once they show they are no harm to them. This does not prove true in “Frankenstein,” but it does in the other two novels. All three isolated creatures, depending on who’s view you are looking at, yearn for companionship which becomes a conflict of some sort in each novel. Lilith yearns any kind of companionship but would prefer a male; the monster demands a female for a companion to roam the mountains with; Matt yearns for Maria’s loyalty from her siblings.
I have been drifting for eternity. Drifting into nothingness full of stars, darkness, and space. I had been unaware of my appreciation for the silence, the loneliness, until only days ago. I wasn’t entirely sure what could have provoked them, but the end result was a huge gaping hole in my underbelly; exposed to the space the empty darkness. Now I treasure the thought of being left alone, unharmed. The worst part is, they think they are smarter, more capable than us. My inhabitants are unique, special while their inhabitants are simply simple minded.
So I have a gaping hole in my body, the pain is unbearable, ruthless at its worst, but I will heal, and they will be returned the favor. My body is a quick reactor; fast in the sense that humans could never understand. I have no need for medicine, surgery, electrical engineering; that shit is for the birds and I am better than that. My body is invincible, godlike in its capabilities. The poor little humans will not see what is coming. They are unaware, blind to the advanced technology in which I have. The day will come when their curiosity will kill them. It is only a matter of days until their wonder peaks and I will have the upper hand. They feel as if they have had victory through the production of this hole in me, but patience is key, and I will have my victory above them in the end.
Days passed. I could hear the humans prepping for their invasion as they called it, sadly I was prepping for my inner walls for their retaliation. I gazed at them through their pathetic spaceship completely aware of their soon to be failure, but nonetheless, they proceeded to prepare for their adventure; their adventure in which I saw coming, where their curiosity would most definitely be satisfied. My walls were ready.
The humans decided to proceed through their victory hole, into my inner core. I could sense their tension in the way they breathed. I knew it would take little to offset their adventure bound personalities. Surprisingly, I felt only ten feet. I had thought they would have sent more. I had thought they had been more intimidated by me, had felt the need for more preparation, but only five sad bodies were trembling inside of me, tickling the walls of my inner core, poking around as if they were feelingless.
Poking grew old, tickling became aggravation, retaliation became necessary. There was a female body in the midst of the group. I decided she would be my first victim; showing no pity for gender would sure scare them into thinking I was an evil, haunted being.
She stumbled toward a dip in my wall, ran her fingers across the skin of my core; I saw opportunity. I opened my walls, teeth barring, as the others watched closely behind her. They witnessed her immediate murder. Pain was minimal, as I had numbed her on contact, but the others didn’t know that. In an instant she had become a part of me. The others attempted to escape, using their communication to initiate their moves. I disabled their radios, and slowly moved the walls closer and closer together until they were enclosed, with nowhere else to go, no where else to run to. They were too a part of me. I will no longer be harmed.
I chose this passage because towards the beginning of the novel I felt pity for the ship. I mostly felt pity for the ship because I had imagined it was a living thing like the Oankali’s ship. With that being said, the ship retaliated a bit more than an Oankali ship would have but I felt it was necessary for the ship to be in control and protect itself.
“When the fate of the world hangs in the balance, you want to keep an eye on anyone whose career-defining moment involves consorting with the enemy.” (page 187)
I began to see a theme of trust emerging in the novel from its very onset, or rather a lack of trust. Vampires, prospects, other worlds, home and foreign locations all seem to evoke a sense of “on your toes” living situation and manage its way into the minds of this society or community. Since the community is under constant evolution, new experiences are thrown into their view, creating a reactive type approach rather than a prepared approach. This being said, a leader has to emerge, Bates, as far as I can see is the leader of this community, whether some oppose it or support it. Amanda Bates comes off as the most dominant character, soothing in a calm voice to those disheveled while inside Rorschach. The consistent mentioning of sight I found interesting, but could only relate it back to their sincere need for a leader. While I felt Bates took on this role, I also couldn’t help but notice she had to be leading them completely blindly, or was she? Was she leading them because she had a sense of familiarity in the so called foreign space structure. Did she feel connected to it in a sense that compelled her to its overall being? Why wasn’t she embarrassingly terrified of the structure and its overly cruel exterior?
“Career-defining moment.. keep an eye on them”… No one knows who to trust; no one knows how to handle the situation; no one understands why their sight has disappeared, but yet they are “seeing” things, understanding things. Since this “adventure” is so groundbreaking, a career defining moment is on the verge– why trust anyone? To be honest, this one sentence gives me chills. I find it to be the most disturbing sentence yet because it taps into your own psyche, it is relatable, it is reality after all.
Day 232 on Earth
Our village of Phoenix received visitors today; large men who brought with them a stench almost unbearable to be near. Near their feet, a baby stumbled along, bearing a hopeless, emotionless expression on its face. My heart reached out to the child, knowing he had been mistreated. It took all that I had to not run to him, protect him, as if he were my own. The sight of him instilled a new sense of faith in me, a sense I had barely recognized since I hadn’t felt it since before the war. My partner held me back, placing a sturdy resisting forearm across my chest, he was my own protector, the person I related trust to, if that even existed in this “new” world of ours. The men approached us and at last I was able to appease my own curiosity. I scooped the child into my arms trying to express kindness through both my touch and my eyes; clearly the child had been deprived of that ever since it was captured. The men seem to be disconnected from the child, the “it”. Unnatural powers or not, this being was the closest thing any of us had seen of youth since before the war, “it” was something to be treasured, marveled, not tossed around as a piece of garbage. My discontent towards the mistreat of the child grew rapidly and so did my hate towards these cavelike men. We were human; taught and well aware of how to treat beings and yet they disposed this intellect as useless knowledge.
I knew this child, this thing, had to be mine. I had to save it from its current cruel captors. Resister or not, our community would not allow unjust treatment, I wouldn’t allow it. Now, I only need to convince my husband this child is worth the fight, the trade.
As a female, I placed myself in Lilith’s situation and found the most alien aspect of the situation would be unaware and unconnected to my own body. Women have been advertised and known to be one with their bodies, emotionally and spiritually connected to their bodies in a way that men aren’t. By having the Oankali population break that boundary, alienation of oneself becomes possible. You could relate the invasion of Lilith’s body to that of the experience a surrogate mother endures. A woman, is inserted with a foreign being, or organism, has zero relation to the cause of it, but is continuing to carry it for the future betterment of someone else’s family. Lilith seems to be doing just that. Her constant internal questioning as to whether or not the Ooloi had injected her with other foreign chemicals or organs while they were removing the supposed cancer they had found. Had they removed it solely out of the concern for Lilith’s health, or was their main motivation in removing it for the own betterment of their alien society?
If I were in Lilith’s shoes I would be analyzing and second guessing every bump on my, now 250 + year old body. A woman knows her body, and after such a long period of time, with or without age-preventing plants keeping you young, a body will become foreign to a woman. Knowing that someone has invaded your body without permission, being the main concern, is unsettling. How can someone or something know what was best for you especially when they aren’t even allowing you the opportunity to make a decision by Awakening you? In blunt terms, I feel this alien population has raped Lilith of her womanhood; her ability of choice, self-assurance, and security were erased when they “preserved” her against will.
Pagae 25, is a continuation of the scene where the doctors are introducing the rats as a team who ” work” together and are capable of assembling a jet engine in 48 hours. These graphics interested me in particular because it is the first place where the reader sees the modification that has occurred. This scene introduces not only the cruelty the modified animals can create, but the cruelty in the eyes of its beholder as well.
Page 25 is divided into four segments. An interesting aspect is that two of the four segments are identical, only magnified. Through magnifying the graphic, the reader is forced to focus on it for more than a glance, forcing the reader to recognize this particular action displayed in the graphic as riveting and memorable. Also by displaying the image at a distance first, makes the reader focus on the main difference between the mirroring rats; the left rat being modified with a mechanical screwdriver as a head, and the opposing rat, simply staring back at him with the same body language. As the graphic is magnified, you can see the facial expression of the opposing rat in comparison to the motion of metal nearing his body. Another interesting aspect of this graphic is the expression of terror in the rat’s face. In this moment, the rat becomes humanized and the reader can relate to it through empathy. The opposing rat also expresses his terror through the action of dropping the screw that was in his possession. In the first graphic, you can barely see the screw, but through the action of the rat dropping it in the second graphic, the reader can infer that the rat is disassociating itself with the world of modification in which his fellow rats are currently immersed in. Also the position of the other rats surrounding them has changed as well. The rat’s tails are in a fleeing direction from the scene rather than surrounding them in the first graphic.
As you continue down the page, the third graphic changes from the view of the human–modified rats to the sleazy smile of a man. The beard alone implies sketchiness, a sense of un-keptness. The dialogue associated with his grin says it all, “say hello to man’s new best friends.” The man couldn’t be any grimier a character.
In this particular frame, and the following two frames, the rats are being humanized while the humans are becoming rats, and furthermore, inhumane.
The very last graphic, after the killing of the rat by his fellow rat, the “doctor” offers the senator a shot at controlling the rats, here a divide between humans exists, where right and wrong is shown through the morals of individuals
Incomprehensible sums up the first six chapters of this novel. The jerking of scenes, unique language, unfamiliar surroundings, unsure time setting, and inability to relate to any of the characters in any form cause this novel to be difficult. I began to think after the first few chapters I would begin to understand and find a trend between the characters, but no. Gibson has created an inept world where emotional capacity is limited while death and fear dominate.
To start with the explanation of why this novel creates such difficulty for me to understand is present in the very first chapter. Understandable novels create a sense of setting and relate the opening scene to the foundation of the following chapters. Neuromancer did nothing of the like. The opening chapter started with a bar but simply jumped to describing Case’s relation to women, the bartender, drugs; nothing was threaded to an ultimate understanding. You get the sense that Case is from a future world full of robotic parts, modern science, and drug addicted beings, but then language like “cowboy” and “coffin” are used which completely throw me off from what I thought was the right track to understanding the basis of the novel.
I can applaud Gibson on his use of imagery and color relation; but only to a small extent. He creates this world of simplicity by using a thread of “normal” colors; black, white, pink, red,blue. He mostly uses black and white to describe surroundings in which the beings are such as the domes, and he uses pink to describe Ratz’s arm or other bodily like pieces. Red and blue are used to present emphasis on emotion in a sense. When Case is having an orgasm blue surrounds him, a vivid color full of depth. I thought I was onto a cohesive thread, but then Gibson threw a curve ball and chose burgundy for Molly’s nails. Why the color of burgundy? Why not stick to the theme he had already so diligently made? I want to know why Gibson chose such inconsistencies? Why does he want this novel to be so hard to understand? Why does Gibson want to create a world where no one can relate in the simplest way? Why does he create characters that seem so far away from reality?
When reading the short story, The Comet , i instantly linked it to the relatively new movie, I Am Legend with Will Smith. While I haven’t seen the move in its entirety, many aspects of this short story reminded me of the movie; for example, the entire race being eliminated through some freak accident, (in the movie, a virus), the only man left living being male, and his constant search for other living beings. I found it interesting that in short story, Jim stumbles upon a white woman while in the movie, his sole companion is a female dog, Samantha. In either cases, both a male and a female were left living.
This post raises the question of why throughout the short story. It mainly focuses in on the use of a comet as opposed to other freak accidents such as an earthquake or a flood. I think in comparing the short story to the movie, what made both of them so interesting was the theme of what if.What if this were to happen? Could it be made possible? While I am relatively sure that a comet has not yet hit a population and wiped it out, I am also relatively sure that a virus has not wiped out any population as well. This shared characteristic of instilling fear through possibility is entertaining for us and therefore draw us into these forms of art.
Secondly, the post raises a question of whether W.E. B. Dubois was playing on the theme of Adam and Eve. Back in the 1920s, the relationship between a man and female was vital but in comparison to today, and to the movie, the theme of companionship seems more significant as a whole rather than focused on the male and female relationship.
Throughout the novel, Victor Frankenstein completely disassociates himself with the wretched monster and claims his only connection to him is being his creator. He can by no means relate to the monster due to his devilish, inhumane ways. I found it interesting that as the novel progressed, similarities between the two characters became apparent. The monster is constantly saying he is alone in this world, no one can bare his existence, he cannot communicate and have relationships, hence why he needs a companion. Once the monster demands a female companion from the hands of his creator, the similarities between the two of them are astonishing to me. “I have endured incalculable fatigue, and cold, and hunger; do you dare destroy my hopes?(192). In comparison to Frankenstein, as he embarks on his torturous adventure in the ocean, he also endures fatigue, weather conditions and loneliness. Once he arrives to Ireland, he is greeted with disgust and judgment, views from which the monster has encountered from his creation. I found it interesting that the monster chose Clerval to murder in his first attempt at vengeance, rather than someone intimately related to Frankenstein. I think “an eye for an eye” theory can be used for an explanation; the monster saw his possible future companion destroyed, so therefore destroyed Frankenstein’s dearest companion.
After reading the first volume of Frankenstein, I developed an entirely different opinion about the book. Before cracking it open I had established many reservations about the book due to previous publicity on the subject as well as the fact that it is a novel we are reading in Science Fiction class and to this day, I am still unsure if I am a fan of the genre or not. I had assumed this novel would be either a tough read for me due to scientific language or provide me with absolutely no entertainment and leave me dragging through chapter by chapter. After putting my assumptions aside, I dreadingly embarked on my reading. The first few letters to his sister still left me uneasy, but as the story developed I became engrossed in Victor’s beginnings. Without these letters, the novel would seem empty. I can’t imagine the story without them now. The letters provided me with such a large background of where he started to where he became scientifically developed. Without his family pushing his education at such a young age, I feel Victor may have never progressed to this stage. He would have never developed such an interest in science if he wasn’t given the opportunity to study both the history of science as well as modern science. I was surprised to have liked reading it as much as I did and am curious as to why our culture decided to leave these letters out entirely? If anything I think they should have reinvented them in a way that would be more appealing to the masses but not eliminate them.