(2017 midterm assignment)

Model Student Midterm answers 2016 (Index)

Essay 3: Web Highlights

LITR 4368
Literature of the Future  

Model Assignments


Kyle Abshire

Literature of the Future: Knowledge in speculation of what’s to come

            Science fiction has long been my favorite genre of literature, but it was not until taking literature of the future, that I realized how closely future narratives and science fiction were intertwined. Science is often used as a medium to explain why a particular theme is prevalent in the future. Science fiction is the term used when the author relies on speculation, to infer how certain technological advancements might affect the world. Through close inspection of the pre-submitted midterms from previous years we will discuss how important the apocalypse, evolution, and alternative narratives are, and how these narratives use science fiction to tell a story that relates to the common reader. 

            Apocalypse, evolution, and alternative narratives are three different styles of telling a story which takes place in the future. The apocalypse narrative usually begins in the present and moves towards the future where there is a climactic ending. The Bible is a terrific example of an apocalypse narrative and in 2016, Vicente Garza captured how well the bible represents it. “In the Scriptures, time is laid out as a preordained series of events that have passed and will come to pass inevitably.  So as the Lord created the heavens and the Earth in seven days at the beginning of existence, one day the world will come to an end with the sinners paying eternally and the righteous ascending to the heavens to live in eternal glory.” Vicente uses scripture from revelation to show heavily the Bible depends on the apocalypse narrative. The scripture used is written with authority. The Lord is called the creator of Heaven and Earth and the destroyer. The Bibles use of authority and the apocalypse narrative is essential to its ability to sway believers. Evolution narratives can use a sense of authority to get their message across as well.

The evolution narratives often uses’ a similar path as the apocalypse narrative. However the evolution narrative will continue on after the apocalypse would have ended. Vicente Garza uses The Parable of a Sower to show how closely these two narratives are connected. “The world spirals and evolves as does Lauren.  Where the country once fell in its own apocalypse, and Lauren’s father helped to create a new community, that community too ends up falling and Lauren helps to create a new one” Vicente focused on the theme of destruction that is used in both Parable and Revelation. Both stories have an apocalypse of some sort—a destruction of everything the characters know. However in Parable, Laura is able to continue her life after the destruction of her world. The evolution narrative often takes the same approach as the apocalypse narrative, but usually concludes with a lesson learned and an evolution in ideas or thought to survive the next possible destruction. Unlike the previous types of narrative, the alternative narrative is unique in its style.

The alternative narratives take a completely different approach to future story telling. Alternative narratives usually rely on time travel to tamper with possibilities of the future. Christa Van Allen uses H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine to show how time travel is used to create alternative narratives. “There exists in the narrative, observations on what the time traveler saw, but also questions about how these things developed. You could even ask if the development of the time machine changed the future into what the traveler saw.” Christa uses The Time Machine to express how alternate realities might be observed. The time traveler wonders while looking at the future, how it came to be. Implying that a change in the past might affect the future. She also beings into account that the creation of the time machine might have affected the future as well. The alternative narrative uses alternative story lines to make us question how we got here and how we can improve our futures.

Science fiction is regularly used to explain how these futuristic novels can be possible. Many futuristic stories rely on the creation of a new technology, that alters how humanity interacts with itself. Science is used to make futuristic novels interesting because the science allows for a technological advancement that changes the way we live, for better or worse. Nikki Jones from 2016 uses Parable to explain how science fiction is used to cause a change in society to tell an interesting story. ”There is a real chance that America could in the future blunder and end up being similar to the state of the world in Parable. Also there is a realness to Lauren and her coming-of-age story that I think students just coming into their own as well can understand and relate to.” Today we are constantly warned that the technology of today is slowly destroying the planet and Parable speculates on how our future might look if we do not act. The use of a current issue with modern technology, that has run out of control is what gets people interested and coming back for more.

The three narratives used to tell futuristic stories have their own styles and techniques, but the majority rely on the use of science fiction, to relate to and excite the reader. The apocalypse narrative uses a beginning and end, or creation and destruction, defined by an authoritative style to portray the severity of the story. The evolution narrative similar to the apocalypse narrative, will rely on destruction of some sort but only to portray a sense of rebirth or new ideas. After the destruction of one reality occurs a new type of reality will be born form its ashes. Lastly the alternative narrative uses alternate realities interacting with each other to portray how the future is not already written and can be changed at any time. Each of these narrative types use technological advancements, to explain the possibilities of such situations and to attract the interest of readers.