Briefly describe the Main Concern of Speculative Fiction.
In this first unit for the class, we have looked at two international classics of science fiction: Roadside Picnic (Russia/USSR) and Solaris (Poland). While they might be coming from an unfamiliar perspective, these two novels engage with many of the familiar concerns of science fiction: the dangers of technology, what it means to be human, and just what alien contact would, could, or should look like. Based on plot development, character dialogue, and any other evidence you can find from the text, formulate an argument exploring the novel’s overall message about one of these concerns, based on the following prompts.
“Solaris and Concerns Over What is Human: In the novel’s treatment of Rheya, we find a character who seems both human and inhuman. Looking at how she is characterized by various characters, including herself, construct an argument that explores how human she is. In other words, based on how you read the novel, do you feel that Rheya is human? As you answer this question, explore the standards you and/or various characters from the novel use to either establish or dismiss her humanity.”