Extra Credit: The Hunger Games

April 23rd, 2012

The Hunger Games is a captivating book series written by hit author Suzanne Collins. This spellbinding series has won Collins acclaim, not only in her very large and growing fan base but also, in the science fiction community as a whole. This intense series is base on an interesting plot line filled with suspense and lots of brutal violence. In the first book of the popular trilogy, a dystopian society, made up of twelve districts must hold to tradition and partake in the annual “Hunger Games.” The rules state that one male and one female child, ranging from ages 12-18, must be selected from each area to represent their district in brutal fight to the death. Only one survivor will come out of the battle royal alive and he/she earns a large supply of food for their district. The story begins with the introduction of the protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, and continues as she progresses through the dangerous challenge to come out on top. Though I do not wish to spoil too much of this truly mesmerizing story I will tell you that in the end there are two tributes come out alive, leaving the story open and ready for the next film in the series.

Unlike many of my fellow Hunger Games moviegoers, I went to the film without preciously reading any of the books. Other than a bit of background information provided to me by my good friend and intense Hunger Games fan, Tiffany, I had no prior knowledge of the book or what the storyline entailed. I feel that going into the film blindly allowed me to really focus on the plot and how the film portrayed the characters. Having said this, I must admit that the film was actually pretty good. The special effects were on point and I found the plot to be quite interesting.

Though the overall movie was quite interesting, I must note that it was very violent. Characters die by spears, have their necks broken, or even burned alive, though, thanks to good editing, the most gruesome shots do not last very long. Despite the high body count, The Hunger Games makes a great critique of reality TV, totalitarian government, and even screen violence as a sign of entertainment. However, I would say that the part that I found to be the most interesting was the entire concept of the Carnival-esque Society. The film really brought this element to life through the depiction of Effie and her whimsical, hot-pink style choices. Also the main city, Capitol, where the actual games takes place, is portrayed as a harlequinade society. This is apparent in the fashion choices of its residence and even the modern carnival inspired architecture, which incorporates lots of sharp points and sleek edges.

Over all, I would say that I really enjoyed the movie and the fact that it is still on top at the box office certainly shows that it is a great movie. I would recommend that those who read the books definitely go see it but also that anyone who enjoys science fiction as well. I do feel, however, that this film is not intended for young eyes, the violence and blood is too much for little minds to comprehend. However, those who do see the movie and are of sufficient age will certainly enjoy it. I know that I did and I have even made a plan to read the books over the summer.

Why, you stuck up, half-witted scruffy looking nerf-herder!

April 22nd, 2012

When I was little I lived in a house with a dark, smelly, creepy attic, and it was my favorite room in the house. The ladder came down in my parent’s walk-in closet with a tug of a string, and as my head cleared the attic floor, all I could see was Star Wars. There were two big reasons why: my mom loves toys, and my mom used to travel a lot for business in the late seventies and all through the eighties. When Star Wars came out, she was the happiest newlywed in the galaxy. Obviously, she was very pleased that George Lucas decided to make playthings out of all his epic space opera characters, and proceeded to buy all of them. Not some, not her favorites, all of them. When she traveled, she would stop at any toy store she could find and buy every figurine and model she could carry home. Eventually she had every original toy in duplicate (and sometimes quadruplicate). My parents didn’t have me for a while, so she just packed up her hundreds of Star Wars toys in clear plastic tubs and put them in the attic. When I was old enough to appreciate the movies (as in, four or five years old), she took me up to the attic and let me take down whatever I wanted, break open the plastic seal that had been there for twenty-odd years, and play with them. Later, when my family went through some difficult financial times, Mom turned to eBay and started selling some of her doubles and figures she didn’t care about, but apparently other people did (in case anyone is curious, the top seller was a 1985 Boba Fett figurine from Droids in the original blister pack that went for $750). I thank her for not guilting me about opening some of the rarer toys and devaluing them considerably.

Right around the time that we started selling, I went to ComicCon in San Diego on Star Wars Day with my boyfriend. I wanted to go because they had a huge book and toy fair, along with some pretty cool panels. My boyfriend wanted to go because he heard Perry Bible Fellowship had a booth. That was it. I spent the day running around trying to get into cool panels and talk to sellers about pricing on original Star Wars toys, and he spent the day complaining about being tired. But even with all his whining and obvious displeasure, he was the one sellers wanted to talk to, not me. When I told one guy that I had a rare X-Wing I was willing to sell, he called his boss in to discuss prices with me, and his boss couldn’t believe that it was me who knew what she was talking about, not the idiot in the Batman shirt (no offense to the Dark Knight). There were plenty of girls at ComicCon, but people still assumed the dudes were the ones who were more dedicated to the genre. I love science fiction, and I love being a fan, but I also like being taken seriously. Being treated like an accessory by some scruffy looking nerf-herder at a toy booth in San Diego is not my idea of equality. Although, judging by the highly populated Princess Leia costume contest, I might be the only one who goes to conventions expecting to be on a level playing field.

What I didn't capture was the league of fanboys and their cameras rushing the stage.

Extra Credit: Doctor Who

April 20th, 2012

By: Mary Herdman

Most of the class has seen the new Doctor Who. What true steam-punk-sci-fi fan hasn’t? But the real Doctor, I believe, is shown in the old series. It is so hard for me to choose just one episode, so I’m going to give an overview of the old 26-season run. For those who have not seen it, there have been eleven different actors playing the Doctor, each one being another “regeneration” of himself. They are all the Doctor, but they are all different people. That is why I will refer to them by number.

Doctor Who is about a time traveler (the second Doctor calls himself a Time Lord in his last story, and from there they make him an alien) from a planet called Gallifrey. The Doctor in his TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimensions In Space) travels through Earth’s past and onto other worlds, discovering humanity’s history (our past, present, and future) with his companions, and defending the human race from extra-terrestrial threats.

The series is science fiction from the beginning, even though the first Doctor rarely moved away from Earth. The very first story had the Doctor take his companions back to the time of the cavemen. In the beginning, the Doctor could not control where his TARDIS took him, due to a malfunction in the circuits. He traveled through time and space, meeting such alien species as the Daleks and the Cybermen. So to answer the question in the directions: all of the above.

I have loved this series for years, and have seen every episode (even spin-offs and affiliates). I guess I could say I’m obsessed with this series, so I can hardly keep from writing an extra-long piece about it for the extra credit – sorry!!

The series has many themes, depending on the episode. Most often, however, the Doctor comes to either a Utopian or Dystopian society, and finds the major flaw to either of them. In one episode, he goes to a space station occupied by three gangs of vicious girls and one gang of elderly cannibalistic women. These were refugees from a war who had been abandoned on the station to fend for themselves, and this was how they coped: the girls were brutal, having grown up with little or no adult supervision, and the old women ate travelers to the station as their only source of meat.

On the other side, Gallifrey is supposedly a Utopian society, but the Doctor is continuously running from them. We find out when meeting the Time Lords that they are merciless, having no distinct attachment to other species. The Doctor is different, idealizing humans as perfectly imperfect, and so spends more time among humans than anyone else from his own planet.

The graphics up until the new series leave much to be desired – it is a low-budget show and it is apparent. But the story lines are amazing and the acting is superb. Given certain suspension of disbelief, the story is plausible to a degree (you have to keep in mind that it was made in the 1960s, when we had less tech) and every Doctor brings something new to the show. I highly recommend this series, particularly to you who like the new series.

Extra Credit: Back to the Future

April 20th, 2012

By Mary Herdman

Everybody knows the Back to the Future franchise. The first movie was about a kid, Marty McFly, who accidentally travels back in time to when his parents fell in love. Marty inadvertently makes his mother fall in love with him, and then has to fix it to get her to fall for his father, before he ceases to exist.

The film is science fiction, having the tried and true convention of time travel. The image of the Dolorian, with the Flux Capacitor in its engine, has become a cultural icon for sci-fi fans everywhere. This was one of my favorite movies growing up, and still is one of the most-watched movies on my shelf. Back to the Future addresses the idea of a paradox: would it be possible to date your own mother before she met your father? It also has a more subtle message about bullying. The villain, Biff, is a school bully who picks on Marty’s father and continuously hits on his mother. The classic good-guy win is when Marty’s father punches Biff in the face. This ends up changing Marty’s entire life for the better, because he returns to a time when Biff no longer terrorizes his family.

It was a great movie of its time. The acting might have been a bit over-the-top, but that only added to the comedy of the movie. Given willing suspension of disbelief over the physics of the Flux Capacitor, the plot was believable. The reaction of Marty when he finds out that his parents were not the people that he thought they were (his father was a peeping tom, and his mother was a popular flirt), and particularly his repulsion at finding his own mother attractive, was comedy genius. This movie is definitely worth watching, and if you haven’t seen it yet then get in your Dolorian and turn back time to 1985!!

Extra Credit-1

April 20th, 2012

Kat Tarr

Hunger Games Review

I saw the Hunger Games on the midnight premier. I had read all the books and knew, generally, what to expect. The Hunger Games is a distopian world in which America is split up into (originally 13 districts) 12 districts in which two children, male and female between the ages of 12-18 are sent to the “Hunger Games”. The games happen in the Capital and the children are forced to fight to the death with only one survivor. The games are horribly idealized and played up by the society’s media and the “tributes” are forced to play to the public favor to get funding for the games.

The movie is Science Fiction based on a number of different elements, advanced technology, genetically altered animals, and the storyline itself is an alternate future story (I think). All of these elements are well known to the science fiction genre and support that the Hunger Games is science fiction.

The movie and books, since the movie followed the books fairly well, are a strong social commentary about governments and the media. The story plays around with the hype we put around ‘reality tv’ and how people are used for entertainment purposes. The fact that it’s a government sanctioned ‘reality tv’ show that the people are forced to watch only drives the point home on how truly terrible our willingness to watch things can be; how strong the media can spin things to make us support it.

Overall the movie was good, as was the acting. The most trouble I had with it was the cinematography made me motion sick. The shaky camera and sometimes blurred views only made me nauseous. The plot was somewhat plausible. I can’t think of people willingly letting their children get taken away from them so many times (it’s the 74th or 75th Hunger Games); though the capital was pretty powerful looking in comparison. Over all it was a good movie and worth the watch if people can handle the shaky camera.

Extra Credit 1: The Hunger Games

April 20th, 2012

I saw The Hunger Games the night it opened in theaters. I had read the book less than a week before. In The Hunger Games, Katniss, a 16 year old girl from District Twelve of Panem, the country that has risen out of the ashes of North America, volunteers to compete as a tribute in the Hunger Games to prevent her sister from having to go. Katniss and her district counterpart, the baker’s son Peeta, must fight for survival and to somehow maintain some level of their humanity.

Hunger Games takes place in a dystopian near-future environment in which global warming has destroyed much of the world, reclaiming it for the ocean. The country of Panem rules with fear and oppression, withholding invaluable supplies from its people and pitting the districts against each other annually in the Games. This oppression results in districts who harvest coal not having enough to warm their own households and children starving in the agricultural district. The opening shots of the film show the people of District Twelve in their state of poverty going to work and back. The film also utilizes hovercraft with the capability of cloaking themselves and mutated animals, such as the tracker jackers, mockingjays, and the wolf muttations shown at the end.

Thematically, The Hunger Games explores the path that America has been pursuing of late in media. It plays on humanity’s obsession with violence and destruction and shows one possible end of that obsession through the Games. The Games are, as shown in the movie and described in the book, mandatory viewing for all of Panem, and considered a celebration in the Capitol. Capitol citizens enjoy the Games and have become desensitized to the fact that children die as a matter of fact during the Games. Only Peeta’s star-crossed lovers ploy reminds the Capitol that these are people whom others care for.

Hunger Games is also a thought experiment for dystopia, as it explores a culture in which the twelve districts are forced as part of their subjugation to send two children to the Capitol each year to fight to the death. This exploration of dystopia and the eventual act of defiance that sets Katniss and Peeta apart from the other victors of the past allows the viewer to see what might happen if we allow our society to get out of hand. Hunger Games is more than an exploration; it’s a warning.

The movie was well-made, and the actors did a splendid job. The only flaw I personally saw that I would wish changed was the amount of shaky camera work. I understood the reason behind it, but it made me slightly disoriented most of the movie. Haymitch, Peeta and Katniss’ mentor, stole the show along with Effie, their escort. As a movie it was excellent, as an adaptation of a book it was quite good. A few characters did not get the screen time or the lines from the book I’d hoped, but I understood that time constraints meant parts had to be cut. Overall I enjoyed it and would recommend it.

– Julie Allbeck

Journal 7: Memories Beyond Mirrors

April 19th, 2012

Journal 7 Prompt:

I’ll make my report as if I told a story, for I was taught as a child on my homeworld that Truth is a matter of the imagination.

Journal Response:

I’ll make my report as if I told a story, for I was taught as a child on my homeworld that Truth is a matter of the imagination. For in imagination you are safe to believe what you wish with out contest, and so I begin my tale of my adventures on the other side of the glass. In order for you to remotely try to comprehend these writings you must first hear it all from the very beginning. I feel that I must warn you, what I am about to tell you, though it may sound absurd at times is completely and utterly true.

My story begins just like any other. It was simply another tireless day in a week of monotony. I woke up then got dressed and ready for work, just as I always do. I grabbed a mug filled to the rim of coffee on my way out of the door. However, today, I failed to put the lid on my Starbucks Travel Coffee mug securely because as I took three steps out of the door and tilted the cup up to my lips to take the first sip of the robust french vanilla roast, the lid came completely off and spilled all over me and my lavender colored skirt. I rushed back inside my small but quaint single family home to change clothes. After all, I was the top curator at the Ridderman Gallery of Global Art; I could not show up to work drenched in coffee. I threw on the silky magenta wrap dress that was lying across the bench located at the foot of my bad. I had debated on wearing this morning and decided against it, tossing it carelessly on the bench. I tied the dress as I ran down the stairs and back out of the door, leaving the defective mug on my front porch and a mess to clean up later. I really shouldn’t have slept in today. It was Thursday and I had to be there when the truck delivered the new pieces for our newest exhibit, “Empyreal Treasures.” The broachers that the museum had distributed looked amazing and I was really excited to see all the new pieces. However, there was one in particular that I was the most excited to see, Emperor Xi Fu’s Golden Mirror of the Xiouo Dynasty. It was legend to hold the soul of anyone who peered into it.

When I arrived at work Mel met me at the information desk in the lobby.

“Not bad, Dee. Your only ten minutes late,” he said with a sarcastic gleam in his eyes.

I said nothing to him. I was not going to reward his sarcasm with any sort of acknowledgement. He caught onto my mood right away and began to walk with me towards the Empyreal Treasures exhibit space.

“Is it complete, or are they still setting it up?” I asked him as he followed behind my fast professional pace.

“Oh it’s all set up.” He paused briefly then began to speak again, in a more somber tone this time. “Hey, you know I didn’t mean to upset you.”

I stopped abruptly and turn to look at him “Oh sorry, Mel. I just had a late start and a bit of a setback that contributed to my tardiness this morning. I am fine and so are you.”

He smiled cheerfully and we continued to walk side by side towards the exhibit. When we reached the door, he opened it for me and we both walked in. The exhibit was amazing and the designers who coordinated the space really did a great job of incorporating all of the historical elements along with embellishing the space in pure opulence. The entire exhibit was even better than the writers made it out to be in the broacher. As we walked through the entire exhibit I made sure to stop at every piece and really examine what I was seeing. I had read and studied about these pieces for the past eight months and now I was finally able to see them all in front of me. As we neared the end of the exhibit, I realized that something was not right, the exhibit was incomplete.

I turned to Mel, “Wait a piece is missing.”

“You never miss a beat do you? Yeah there is a piece that will be coming tonight. They said it was too delicate to be brought with the others, it’s that golden mirror.”

“I knew it,” I said in an almost inaudible voice.

“So are you ever gonna tell me how you do that?”

“Do what?”

“How did you know that something was missing? I mean there is over 500 individual pieces in that exhibit. How did you recognize one was missing?’

“I have been doing this for a very long time, plus, I actually read and studied all the material we were given about the pieces,” I said as I flicked my eyes to his face dubiously.

“I read and studied just as much as you did, but I still wouldn’t have known that one of the pieces was missing. I mean, you know, if I wasn’t here when they told me.”

The day passed, surprisingly slowly and seemed never to end. Mel had packed up his belongings and went home hours ago. Of course, I had to stay and be here when they delivered and set up the final piece to the exhibit. I began to wonder what time they were going to make it. It was already a little after 8:00pm. I contemplated calling them to check but no sooner than I located the number, the security guards came up to inform me that the piece was being installed. I rushed out of the lounge to the stairs and ran straight to the exhibit. I really must have been excited because shortly after I got to the space, the security guard that had come to get me was panting and sprinting up behind me.

Once it was installed I stood back to examine it, as I had done with the others earlier that day. As I examined the massive mirror the guards escorted the installation crew out. It was beautiful and very ornately embellished with four interlocking golden dragons along the rim of the mirror. The glass of the mirror was not actually glass but instead a large brilliantly cut crystal. I stared at the piece in awe. It was so much more than what I had read about. I could see why I was so drawn to it. As I stared blankly at the piece, I began to focus my eyes on my reflection. I looked so tired. I turned my head right then left then right again, peering into my reflections glazed looking eyes. However, I noticed that when I turned my head a fourth time, my reflection was still. I stopped moving and looked into the crystal surface with unbelief. I must have been more tired than I thought. I turned my head slowly to the left. When my reflection followed suite, I felt silly for thinking otherwise. I reached out to touch the crystal just to be sure. When nothing happened I decided that I had enough excitement for one day and that I should probably head home. As I walked away from the mirror, I couldn’t help but feel uneasiness.

When I made it home, I was exhausted and irritated when I found the mess from this morning waiting for me right at my front door. I stepped over it and headed straight for the kitchen. I placed a large black binder of information on the exhibit that I had taken from work on the cold granite counter and began to cook dinner. I was so tired that I was on autopilot the rest of the night. In a daze I ate dinner, cleaned up the mess, took a shower, and got ready for bed. I must have been exhausted because I kept bumping into thing. As I stood clumsily at the bathroom sink in my warm wool pajamas, I brushed my teeth with slowly sleepy strokes. I looked at my tired expression in the mirror. When I leaned down to spit into the sink, I saw something out of the corner of my eye that startled me. I whipped my head back up to investigate. Nothing seemed to be off. I chalked it all up to stress and pure exhaustion and thought nothing more of it. I walked out of the bathroom and into my luxurious neutral toned bedroom. I quickly climbed into bed and as soon as my head hit the pillow I was asleep. When I woke to the annoying sound of the alarm clock early on Friday morning, I sleepily reached for the clock on the nightstand to the right of the bed. I was startled when my hand fell through the imaginary nightstand and popped my eyes open. There was no nightstand on that side. My eyes darted around the room only to find that the nightstand and alarm clock were on the other side of the bed. The sound from the alarm was getting louder and as I went to turn it off I noticed the strangest thing. The time on clock read “00:6.” What? I didn’t get, this was a new alarm clock I had just bought it only a few weeks ago. I pressed a button that I thought was the alarm button but when it did not turn off the alarm I was confused and looked at the buttons closely. I had not pressed the correct button but that was the lesser of my problems. The entire alarm clock seemed backwards, even the words. I pressed the “mrala” button and examined the room again. I was startled to see that everything was backwards, not only my alarm clock but my entire house was backwards. I ran to the bathroom sink and splashed some cold water on my face. When I straitened my stance and looked into the mirror at my reflection everything seemed to be normal again. I turned my body and looked back through the door to the bathroom into my room, everything was still backwards. I turned my body back to face the mirror and looked at my reflection with confusion. My reflection looked back at me and ever so slowly the edges of my reflections mouth turned upward into a menacing smirk.

Extra Credit: Thor

April 18th, 2012

By: Mary Herdman

The movie Thor, based on the comic book of the same name, is about the story behind the Norse Gods (who they really were). According to the movie, they were from a different dimension, coming to our world hundreds of years ago to rule over us. They went back to Asgard (their dimension), and now Thor is banished to our world in our time to teach him humility.

This film uses such conventions as alien dimensions, other worlds (and species, given the Ice Giants), and travel between the worlds (the “rainbow bridge”, called the Bifrost, is explained as a machine that allows dimensional travel). For anything left unexplained, Thor gives the famous quote regarding science and magic; that is, sufficiently advanced science looks like magic to any primitive race.

Thematically, this film addresses what it means to be human, as well as gives a critique of our society. Thor learns humility from his human friends, when he realizes that his recklessness puts others in danger as much as himself. He learns from the humans that a bit of humanity is a good trait to have. Thinking about others, Thor learned patience; he no longer just ran head-first into battle, instead he thought about how to negotiate peace.

The critique comes from the government agents, who take all of the human’s research on the Bifrost. The researchers could not do anything about it, and part of the movie protests how wrong it is that the government can take anything they want and claim it as “national security”.

For a comic book movie, this was great. Comic book movies all tend to have the same problem in that they are not as good as the original stories. Over the years, I have simply lowered my standards for these movies in general, and so found this to be the best yet. I recommend this film for any who enjoy reading the comic books. It is definitely worth watching.


April 17th, 2012

I’m most definitely a science fiction fan. I’m not a MASSIVE fan of science fiction though. I still love fantasy, historical settings, and other types of literature. But in terms of things that I read out of pleasure, science fiction and fantasy rank pretty darn high. Recently I’ve gotten back into comics too (Batman, The Flash and Spiderman, if anyone’s curious) after a friend of mine took me along to the comic store off of Route 1. I also play my fair share of video games with science fiction elements. I just beat Mass Effect 3, I loved Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and futuristic shooting games like Metroid Prime are always cool.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with fandom in and of itself. If you like something, why suppress your interests? My only problem is when people like something so much that they shove it down eachother’s throats. That’s kind of problematic. I had a particularly jarring experience of this kind in freshman year. Throughout the year, my friends CONTINUALLY championed Dr. Who and Firefly as “the-best-things-ever-how-have-you-not-watched-all-of-the-episodes-and-how-do-you-not-know-all-of-the-doctors-and-how-can-you-not-like-firely?!” It got tiring really quick. I still haven’t seen a single episode of Dr. Who or Firefly, and I don’t particularly want to, because I’ve just got a bad taste in my mouth regarding the series.

I don’t think being a fan of science fiction is a destructive thing, though. It’s easy to see why so many people love science fiction. Whatever our hobbies are, we do them as an escape and for personal enjoyment. It’s particularly easy to enjoy something of a fantastic and futuristic nature when practicing some escapist ideals. On that note, to me it’s always refreshing to see an author really describe in a large amount of detail what life is like in a science fiction setting. Do you watch holograms all night? Why not go into a virtual reality tank? Or fly your jet-bike?

Science fiction also allows for authors to just go and have fun. In my opinion, some of the driest and most boring literature is Victorian Fiction. Jane Eyre bored me to tears. It’s cool to see people battle with lightsabers, use magnificent machines, or travel to new dimensions! Reading the same old story about how life sucked and cholera was kind of a bigger thing back then gets REALLY old, really fast. There’s just so much more room to develop ideas in science fiction than in that period. Victorian fiction was just an example though: my point is that there are limits to some historical fiction, but science fiction is seemingly limitless.

Another thing I like about Science Fiction is that it expands on universes that fans love. I’m a huge star wars fan. If I didn’t know about all the expanded mythologies presented in the different novels and games (The Darth Bane trilogy is EXCELLENT, by the way), I would be a very sad Nico. Very sad. I’d probably resort to selling hot dogs on the side of the road. How pedestrian.

Speculative Fiction: A Community And A Psychic Cushion

April 17th, 2012

I am and will always be a science fiction and speculative fiction fan.  However, I will be the first to admit that I am not an extreme speculative fiction fan because I rarely get invovled with the speculative fiction community.  There is a large community of SF fans that gather at conventions and stay active online, whether they are writing speculative fiction (their own or fan-fiction) or engaging in discussions with others about the various stories and universes that are being created.  So much of our media revolves around speculative fiction; television shows, movies, and books make up the majority of speculative fiction (I have seen fantasy plays, but I never seen a science fiction play.  It would be an amazing experience).  Speculative fiction has become the mythology of our generation because there are so many people engaging in SF stories, and those stories are an appraisal or a critique of the culture we live in now.

With the invention of the internet, and especially with the recent increase in availability, the speculative fiction community has grown tremendously.  There are websites for people post strictly fan-fiction, there are websites for people to discuss recent SF movies, there are websites to learn and view the SF classics, and there are many more websites that enhance and further the creation and the understanding of speculative fiction today.  for example, one website that brings SF fans together to communicate in a virtual space is myouterspace.com.  While this website has recently come to my attention, I can already tell that it is a website for harnessing the Sf fan in us all.  It looks to me that once you register with the website you will be able to join and become a citizen of a planet.  there are six planets that one has the option to choose from, each paying particular attention to a specific area of expertise.  For instance, I would most likely join the planet “Creatia” because it is a planet for writers, directors and producers, and I believe that my best talent in SF (besides reading it) is in writing stories.  Other planets showcase other talents like graphic design or actors, and one of the best parts of the website is that it allows everyone to interact and comunicate with each other.  If someone is writing a screenplay for a SF film they can contact the planet that has actors and see if anyone would be interested in working on the film.  This website is a good example of the level of interactivity within the SF community.

If someone accused me of being a SF fan with an intent to hurt me, I would feel really bad for them.  I would feel bead because I would be sorry that they were unable to engage in the type of free thinking and imagination that I engage in.  I would most likely point out that whoever accused me of being a SF fan is probably one as well (I don’t think they could honestly tell me that they find all speculative fiction repulsive because speculative fiction is a part of our culture).  I also think that part of the reason why people become so invested in speculative fiction is because it is an escape.  It is a world that has its own rules, and it is a generally safe community.  With all of these factors people look to speculative fiction as a place where they can not only grow as an individual, but where they can also engage in real world issues through a new perspective.  Speculative fiction has a place in our culture that will not die because, similar to all mythologies, speculative fiction is our psychic cushion.