Consider the role of

Published by Jeannie R. Ferrell

Dec 8, 2022


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Please be aware that the aim of your initial discussion post is to touch on each of the prompts listed below, but how you choose to order and frame your response is entirely up to you. Divide your argument into 2-3 paragraphs as
opposed to a single block of text, and please do not exceed 1100 words. Do not number your responses; please
cite your sources appropriately with MLA in-text citations and page numbers.
Empathy: German philosopher Edith Stein described empathy in terms of consciousness of a foreign
consciousness: “Empathy… is the experience of foreign consciousness in general, irrespective of the kind of the
experiencing subject or of the subject whose consciousness is experienced” (11). “Vaster than Empires and More
Slow,” “Caridad,” and Upstream Color express similarly interesting ideas about empathy. How is empathy
thematized in each text?
SF: On Science and Speculation: Sheryl Vint suggests that the difference between science fiction and speculative
fiction is roughly rooted in their purpose. Where science fiction is based on the extrapolation of existing science
and technologies, speculative fiction is concerned with “risks and wagers” and “larger social questions” that may
not require a scientific basis (Vint 175). Considering the rest of Vint’s theorization of sf—how does her theoretical
approach to sf inform your understanding of “Vaster than Empires and More Slow,” “Caridad,” and Upstream Color?
Consciousness: In “Caridad,” Cary is able to literally become cybernetically linked to her extended family, but at the potential risk to her own identity (Hernandez 125). Consider again the first prompt—how does the text fictionalize
the connection between empathy and shared consciousness in the context of Hispanic/Latinx identity?
Real World Parallels: Vint suggests that there are two general outcomes to futures typically presented in
speculative fiction: one in which the “status quo” remains the same and “despite change” and another in which “seemingly immovable fixtures of the given world are open to redesign” (53). With these two ends in mind, in what ways do each of the primary texts present their respective futures? Are they utopian, or dystopic? Consider the role of
utopia in Vint’s theorization of sf in relation to the readings.


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