Monday, August 30, 2010

"The Ones that Walk Away from Omelas"

This short story is written by Ursla Le Guin, and is generally considered a sci-fi story. We recently read it in one of my other classes. It would definitely fall under the sci-fi definition of the realm and literature of the what if.

In this story the narrator describes a festival that is going on in a society that is seeminlgy perfect and happy. The narrator states at one point: "For instance, how about technology? I think that there would be no cars or helicopters in and above the streets; this follows from the fact that the people of omelas are happy people." I think that this really brings up the question of what the purpose of technology is. Why do we have it? Why do we need it? Is it for the evolution of mankind, or is it to fill up the void created by our own unhappiness?

Taking that into consideration while reading the stories for this week I thought that it was interesting in "Zeppelin City" technology had progressed to the point that they had these Zeppelins on which they could fly around, and that society was controlled by the Naked Brains, but that one of the main characters had just invented the "Universal Tuner"... the equivalent of a modern day radio.

Also, while reading "Zeppelin City" I was reminded of the Futurama episode where the Brains come and take over by making you live out a fantasy all in your head.


John Harris said...

The technology in "Zeppelin City" was my biggest issue with the story. It felt like some weird, unnatural blend of tech in steampunk and some other sci-fi sub-genre (cyberpunk, perhaps?). I mean, on one hand you have single-frequency radios, and, on the other, you have such advanced neurological-electrical science as to make brains be able to live and function free of bodies. I mean, its ridiculous. This was the chief reason I was a bit disappointed with the whole story. Things just didn't add up.

Jordan said...

"Zeppelin City" reminded me of this movie for some reason. haha