How Sci Fi-Fantasy-Horror Literature and Film Explored and Shaped the Human Condition.

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“May the Force Be With You.”

“Live Long and Prosper.”

“Up, Up, and Away.”

“You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”

“Expelliarmus!”

“Bow Ties are Cool.”

These quotes from Star Wars, Star Trek, Superman, The Incredible Hulk, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who are just some of the examples of how human culture has been influenced and, in some ways molded by the world of Sci-Fi Fantasy and Horror Literature and Film.

As Halloween comes this October 31, most of the top costume choices come from the world of these genres be it a:

  • Marvel or DC Character.
  • A character from Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter series.
  • An individual from the Doctor Who, Disney, Star Trek, and Star Wars Universes.
  • Good old fashioned ghost, witch, werewolf, vampire, or Frankenstein’s Monster.

What should also be recognized, as we inaugurate the 2019 holiday season with Halloween, is how much Sci-Fi Fantasy and Horror Writers and Filmmakers have contributed to the understanding of the human condition by using their craft to explore and comment on humanity and what drives and moves us.

Examples of this exist throughout World History in literature and film.

Exploring and Commenting on the Human Condition through Sci Fi-Fantasy and Horror Literature. 

Writers from the authors of the Arabian Nights to Stephen King have often probed and offered glaring comments on humanity.

Think about:

  • The human drive and quest to exploring new worlds like Verne’s Journey to the Center of the World and From Earth to the Moon.
  • The depiction of vile antagonists in the Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm to the stories of Edgar Allen Poe whose fates illustrate what happens to those who are evil.

 

  • The theme of growing up and being human explored in books like Collodi’s Pinocchio or Asimov’s Bicentennial Man.
  • The exploration of good and evil in works like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or even the Harry Potter and Lord of the Ring’s series.
  • The examination of humanity’s quest to push to the next level of technological prowess and how it has sometimes not worked out well like in Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, The Hulk, or Jurassic Park.
  • The parodying of human actions and power struggles like in Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels or Orwell’s Animal Farm.
  • Characters like Captain Nemo in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Edmund Dantes in The Count of Monte Cristo who personify troubled souls who lash out at those who hurt them.
  • How individuals with special powers, gifts, and strengths like Batman, Superman, Spiderman, and their adversaries use those attributes responsibly or foolishly.

Exploring and Commenting on the Human Condition through Sci Fi-Fantasy and Horror Film. 

Similarly, in film, visionaries in that medium produced classics that delved into the human condition and offered moral parables. Examples of these are:

  • Fritz Lang’s silent film classic Metropolis which showed the dangers of a dystopian society of haves and have nots.
  • Jame Whale’s Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein showed the misunderstandings (with disastrous results) of not understanding the other (in this case the Creature) and the consequences of playing God.
  • The original Planet of the Apes from 1968 which showed an astronaut running away from the corruption of humanity having to defend it against a futuristic  Ape society that shares those views. The ending with the Statue of Liberty is one of the best in cinematic history.
  • Anthology series like The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and The Ray Bradbury Theater. Episodes like the Zones “Eye of the Beholder,” “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street,” and “The Howling Man” from the Zone or “I, Robot” from the Limits are excellent lessons for students on how to discuss perception, what is humanity, what is beauty, mass hysteria, and how you can tell evil from good.
  • Star Trek in all its incarnations. Two original series season one episodes illustrate this:  “The Devil in the Dark” with the misunderstood Silicon creature protecting her young and “A Taste of Armageddon” where two societies fight their war with computers and send the casualties willingly to disintegration chambers.

These works have helped shape the world we live in today.

These products have given the people an opportunity to explore and comment on the issues that celebrate and confront humanity.

School teachers are wise to utilize these works in discussing the human condition with their students and applying these themes to current events and, unfortunately in some cases, the true horror stories humanity creates on its own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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David Gordon
Living in Arizona since his family moved to Tempe from New York in 1982, David Gordon has three degrees from Arizona State University and the University of Phoenix in History, Political Science, and Secondary School Administration. A highly qualified Social Studies instructor and Certified School Principal, Mr. Gordon owned his own charter school, Grand Canyon College Preparatory Academy from 1997-2016. The school served students in grades 6-12 in the East Valley of Maricopa County. Many of the graduates of GCP earned college credit for free while still attending high school, some completing the first year of college before graduating. Among the speakers at the school's graduations were noted figures in Arizona Politics like Harry Mitchell, David Schweikert, Juan Mendes, Andrew Sherwood, and John Huppenthal. Mr. Gordon also participated in the revisions of the Arizona History and Social Studies standards. In January 2017, Mr. Gordon started the political blog Twenty-First Century Progressive Bull Moose. It has a global following and routinely comments on the political events of the day. Mr. Gordon also helps administer the Facebook page Living Blue in Arizona. He is also currently writing a series of Young Adult science fiction novels which incorporate the themes of time travel and its impact on history. Mr. Gordon is very happy to be asked to join the Blog for Arizona team and hopes to spread the progressive word to make Arizona a better place for everyone.

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