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Sleep Dealer

In this rendition of what the world has come to, or can come to, science is used to explore some complex and contemporary issues. Colonization, terrorism, labor inequality and the obsession people now have with reality television were all concerns that are addressed in this film.

In the film, which takes place in Mexico, we are introduced to a Mexican family who is struggling to make ends meet due to the building of a dam that cut their water supply. They are farmers, without the water from the river they now have no way to properly feed their ‘milpa’. After the dam was built, families were forced to buy water. Could this be a foreshadowing of a future water scarcity? Viewers are left to wonder after watching this heart wrenching film.

The topic of labor is one that is at the core of this film. These third world countries were hiring people to work in US factories all day and all night. They worked until they were falling over from exhaustion, which is why they are called Sleep dealers. They are working to build up a country they will never see. They work in substandard conditions and are hauled off when they are no longer deemed ‘fit’.

In a world that has been divided by the closing of the border, the one connection the Mexican people have to the outside world is the digital network. This film shines the light on inequalities that exist in our world even today. The US still contracts third world countries to perform labor a lesser rates and with no benefits or healthcare.  This epidemic has gotten increasingly worst and the film, in my opinion, depicts what we can expect if things do not change course.

Neuromancer

Initially reading Neuromancer seemed a chore to me. It was filled with scientific jargon that seemed impossible to interpret unless you are a scientific genius. After plowing through the language of the first few chapters, I found myself totally engrossed in the plot behind the language. I soon realized that it was not such a horrible book after all. Once you get past the language it was clear that there is a theme of love, betrayal and greed – all relatable themes.

The main character Case, was so down and out with his life it was depressing. To read about all he had endure by his former employers and see how he was now being manipulated by Armitage, who we soon found out was working for Wintermute, was sad. He was a man who was just down on his luck. He was the underdog and I silently rooted for him to make it.

In this bleak and unhappy world, Chiba City, I was very grateful to the author for ending the story on a happier note. Case found love, which was what he ha always wanted. He had been given the ability to hack into cyber space again and he no longer had to worry about the toxins that were plced in his pancreas. The novel would not have the same effect if things ended tragically. Readers want a happy ending. People always subconsciously hope for things to end well and in novels it is no different. 

Overall, I gained a great appreciation for this book that I did not expect. Science fiction has never been my genre of choice but this novel was exceptional.

Social Network

The Social Network was an engrossing film. I actually enjoyed it. I had no idea how Facebook was created and this story was ingenious and horrifying at the same time. Mark Zuckerberg absolutely took the idea of the Harvard Facebook from the twins, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, and expanded on it to make it his own. He had the upper hand intellectually and he took full advantage of that. He knew his own abilities and that made him unstoppable. His narcissism made him powerful and also caused him to lose his only true friend – Eduardo.

The films central dramatic irony – that the greatest tool for communication in this modern age was created by someone who has no idea how to relate to other people was what I found interesting. Even at the very end of the film, after achieving much success, Mark Zuckerberg sat alone in front of a laptop with no one around to call a friend. This really gives a harsh foreshadowing of what is to become of the world at the rate we are going with technology. Things as simple as hanging out with friends and exchanging phone numbers are becoming obsolete. As we saw in the scene where Eduardo attempted to get the girls phone number, instead of giving it to him she replied, “Facebook me…” that was just one example of what we are becoming.  In a world where people find it easier to text than to talk and bookstores are going out of business because of the technological advances of the Kindle, Nook and Ipad. How can we expect our future generations to have any social skills whatsoever in a few years? It is almost scary how quickly technology is advancing. Like Facebook, technology and mechanization has gone viral and no one has the ability, at this point to tame it.

Response to 1984

Winston Smith is the main character in George Orwell’s novel, 1984. Winston exists in a totalitarian state, Oceana, where the government is known as Big Brother and they are able to see and hear everything through Telescreens placed in the citizens’ homes. Winston is against the totalitarian principle however he goes along with it for most of his life. Readers are introduced to Winston’s rebellion almost immediately in the text, as we see him avoiding the Telescreens and describing it as being ‘safer’ (p3). As he writes in his diary, readers are introduced to a more personal side of Winston through his words. If is blatantly clear that he is against the Big Brother as he unconsciously writes ‘Down with Big Brother’ over and over again in his diary. The fact that he even has a diary is against the rules and shows that he is resisting the authority of Big Brother through his actions. Winston character seems to contradict his rebellion. He is not the typical rebel since he seems so quiet and ordinary. His character is quite the opposite of the Julia, who possesses an uncanny spirit that is usually seen in a traitor.

The quote that stood out most to me throughout this story was one Winston wrote in his diary, “Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.” (p73) This rings true throughout the story more so with Julia who seems oblivious to the political totalitarianism that exists until Winston begins explaining things to her. She is, as Winston states, “…only a rebel from the waist downwards.” (p159)  Winston, however, has always been aware and is strenghtened by his love affair with Julia. This simple forbidden act is what enrages him even more and give him the courage to meet with O’Brien and enlist in the Brotherhood. It is through Winston’s influence that Julia joins as well. He has made her conscious and therefore caused her true rebellion.

These people are simply existing in this totalitarian world and not realizing the power is in their hands. They have not allowed themselves to think rationally and make themselves become ‘conscious’ which is the reason they are not rebelling. They are, for the most part, accepting what they are told, even when they know it is not true. The Big Brother has brainwashed the people of Oceania to believe the most absurd things such as thinking on your own accord is a thought crime and punishable by law. This novel was an eye opener for me at just how much the government can have control over your life. Parts of it made me sick to my stomach to see the apathy in the lives of these people. I wondered what I would do in such a situation. Would I have the courage to rebel or would I simply comply to what was expected until my death? Would I even know how to think freely or would all the freedoms and privileges I am privy to now be just a dream?

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