Extension 1: Science Fiction Genre Essay

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Prescribed Texts: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick, 1968 and Brave New World, Aldous Huxley, 1932

“Significant texts arise from specific social, moral and cultural concerns and possess an enduring relevance”

Social, moral and cultural concerns of an era often influence the composition of noteworthy texts that have lasting relevance. Two texts that demonstrate this are Aldous Huxely’s satirical trail-blazer Brave New World, and Stanley Kubrick’s screenplay, 2001: A Space Odyssey, composed simultaneously as the novel of the same title by Arthur C. Clarke. Both texts were influenced by major world events at the time and continue to be of significance today; Huxley by the assembly line production of the Model T Ford and Kubrick by man’s imminent departure to the moon the following year. Both texts are renowned for paving the way for the science fiction genre.

2001: A Space Odyssey was composed one year before the Apollo 11’s landing on the moon and was, in a way, attempting to feed people’s thoughts and dreams of what the future of space travel would bring. The mystery surrounding space travel was a significant topic of 1968; people would have been intrigued by the notion of exploring the universe and much speculation would have taken place. Kubrick’s timely film was largely centred on man’s being in space and the possible adventures and complications that would confront him. The introduction by J.S. Strauss’ Blue Danube Waltz radiates a romantic regard towards space travel; it is marvellous and beautiful. In “2001”, Kubrick displays, through the simple, casual greeting two men exchange upon meeting on a space station, as well as an anti-climax to the music, the normality of space travel. As the film progresses, we meet HAL, an artificial intelligence implanted in a computer who, in contrast to the computers and machines of 1969, is capable of storing massive amounts of data and performing immense tasks, primarily maintaining the Discovery One...
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