Thursday, March 09, 2006

my very DumDum ferlo Paper

Time and Science

“Countdown: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, zero. The numerical countdown is now regarded as the symbol of century 20, representing the era’s obsession with the future, ‘forecasting’ and the tangible passage of time. one of the common beliefs of the age was in the idea of ‘progress’ and human society was perceived in terms of evolution or development from primitive to sophisticated, simple to complex. The countdown was developed by rocket technicians in the United States of America in order to add presentational drama to the launch of local space vehicles (old Soviet Unions rocket launches did not countdown to lift-off but merely initiated the ignition at the appointed time. More significantly, the countdown was a sign of the measurement of the future, with the point of anticipation located by calibration in terms of seconds. It must have seemed to the 20ers that here was a symbol of the future.”

-from ‘The Poetics of Science Fiction’

Our view of the future may be miles away or just in front of us. With every second passing, we get our reply for what seems to be at reach or not. It is only with time that we may know.

Time seems to be a perception which cannot be distinct and apparent. As mentioned by Lloyd, Genevieve. 1993, the measurement of a time fleeting in the present, as it passes cannot be insulated from puzzles that beset the measurement from non-existent past and future. The only time called present is an instant. .

As stated by Heidegger, Martin. 1992, a clock may show the time. A clock is a tangible and corporeal system in which an identical temporal series is physically recurring, with the provision that this physical system is not subject to change through any outside influences. The clock measures time in so far the duration of an occurrence is compared with identical sequences on the clock and therefore can be numerically determined. The clock provides an insight about time. Time is something in which a now-point may be randomly fixed, with respect to two different time points, one is earlier and the other later. Time is thus an unfolding whose stages stand in a relation of either earlier or later to one another. Each earlier and later can be decided in terms of now which however is arbitrary. The essential phenomenon of time is the future. Time is temporal chronological. Time itself is meaningless, it is temporal. Time never becomes long because it has no length. The essential phenomenon of time is the future.

According to Kempton, Kenneth. 1947, setting is the result of acutely observation of, or natural impressionability to the sense stimuli, which identify localities and makes them exist in the readers’ mental senses as if he were there.

The ten collected short stories are all set on the future. The future is a place which does not exist except only in the text, to the reader and the author. It is of the authors’ imagination of things to come. The writer creates a situation for discovery. As mentioned by Kempton, Kenneth. 1947, a story tries to set up and maintain an illusion of life by recording a sequence of facts. Being loosely based in the past and present, the accounts give us an insight of what is to take place and occur in time.

Time travel begins here, thru these stories.

Luis Katigbak’s story Subterrania is set in the near future, and almost nothing in the society and civilization has changed except the introduction of high tech gadgets such as the hairnet and the HV units. With the materialization of these gadgets people now had no more time to socialize. They failed and did not anymore want to socialize.

This can be somehow seen in today’s youth who sometimes prefer text messaging, spending time with the internet and computer than with getting together. Most of them stay immovable in their preferred rooms where they spend all of their times typically facing either a computer or a cell phone. These people fail to communicate rather than with the use of the internet and SMS.

In the story ‘Espiritu Santos’ written by Pearlsha Abu Bakar, SMS activity and traffic by cellular phones which emits electro magnetic waves alter brain frequency which lead to the advent of humans seeing dead people. The emergence of ghosts, paved the way for these beings to have jobs and the salary that they get goes to their still living loved ones.

This tale also shows the Philippines being eluded by traditional interaction, since the usage of cell phones went critical.

Isagani Cruz’s ‘Once upon a Time Some Years From Now’ offers what might life be with sex just a click of a button away. The POM or portable orgasm machine acts as a go-between between two sexual partners.

Sex has lost its culmination and best moment. It is as if people no longer flirt with each other to get them to bed.

Presented in Jose Ma. Espino’s story, ‘In Swaddling Clothes’ is the survival of mankind at risk. The earth due to man’s own doings is hostile and sterile. Two men and two women are then put to live in a space vehicle. The human race’s survival is at their hand, with the need to procreate.

Introduced in the story ‘Hollow Girl’ by Dean Francis Alfar, is the existence of enhanced men. Hollow Girl is an enhanced human, with many questions. She profusely lives her life with all the knowledge given to her. In the outcome, she realizes that it is with living the life that she might find the answers.

‘Apollo Centennial’ written by Gregorio Brillantes celebrates the hundredth year of man’s landing on the moon. Filipinos still speak crooked English and most probably some dialects have been face out. The Tagalog and Ilocano tongue has been merged to Tagilocan. A number of Filipinos do not speak their indigenous dialect instead prefer to learn either English or Tagalog.

Karen Manalastas’ ‘Treasure Islands’ explores the possibility of what is to become of the Philippines after most of the Filipinos have gone abroad to earn money. The country has turned into a tourist spot with no one but those who prefers to stay working here; usually those Igorot natives who serve as tourist attraction as well.

This is not far from happening since the Philippines has already been exporting quite a number of manpower to different areas of the globe. Everyone of us living here in the Philippines has about a relative or two working abroad.

‘Last Bus Ride; by Pia Roxas suggests the passenger buses being overtaken and left behind by bullet trains such as the MRT and LRT. It is because of the constant increase in the price of gas. Buses are more human, they are more alive than the bullet trains. Since you are always being asked to 'where are you going?' by a conductor. In a bus you can always sit beside somebody in the rows of seats provided for, not unlike in a cramped train normally filled with standing passengers.

Jose Ma. Espino’s ‘Mind your Words’ gives a take on a robot being man’s servants.

The beginning of robots to function usefully for everyday work would emblazon man’s achievement in science and technology, as to robots’ near perfection. One mistake could put a critical remark to a robot, for it does not notice this. Unlike a human who becomes aware of his shortcomings and may easily repair whatever damage done.

‘Past Forward’ by Maria L.M. Felix is a satire which reprimands the Filipino’s fondness for fantasy and actors turned politicians. Unfortunately people have not learned from Edsa2 and they have still elected actors for government posts.

The collected stories provide us of what might happen in time. Considering that, the basis of these stories is the present. The narratives depict an embellish adoption of the current political, social situation of our times, particularly here in the Philippines

These stories, although of make-believe, may not be so improbable from happening. The stories shift and change today’s culture to move to the right direction and somehow see the error of their ways.

Being set in the future, they are all science fiction in genre.

Science Fiction is being claimed as an important genre for turn of century society. Science fiction is a genre which tackles the advancements of science. According to Stockwell, Peter. 2000, Science Fiction has been called a literary genre dealing with scientific discovery, superior or simply other than that known to exist. Science fiction is perhaps the manifestation of the scientific background of its writers, readers and critics that so many have felt the need to categorize it and pin it down with definitive statements.

As mentioned in, it creates a setting different from today, the present and the past. The author’s imagination can present the diversity of the imagined effects of real life science, the effect of imaginary technology on present day society, or the effect of imagined science on an imagined society. Science fiction offers about science, the society and the human condition.

Science Fiction, like according to Stockwell, Peter. 2000, has had an impact on the way our cities are planned, transport systems are run, politics operate and the way we view our world today. It is not discovery of truths but the search for satisfactory provisional explanations and understanding.

Like science fiction, these stories can give us an impression of what to relate with and what might be the effects of science and technology on the society and us humans. An idea of what is to happen in time.


Espino Jr., Jose Maria. 1973. Sixteen Stories.
Heidegger, Martin. 1992. The concept of time. Blackwell Publishers.
Kempton, Kenneth Payson. 1947. The Short Story. Harvard University Press
Lloyd, Genevieve. 1993. Being in Time. Routledge.
Lee-Chua, Queena. 2002. Cogito Ergo Sum. Ateneo de Manila University Press.
Roberts, Edgar. 1986. Fiction, an introduction to reading and writing. Prentice Hall.
Stockwell, Peter. 2000. The Poetics of Science Fiction. Pearson Education Limited, England

No comments: