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Last updated Aug 15, 2023

# Bio21i


# Final Paper

# Instructions

Discuss evolution and evolutionary principle using any three (3) science fiction texts from the syllabus to support your discussion. Discuss the different ways in which the three texts display and hyperbolize different aspects of evolution, as well as what they have in common. Talk about how your chosen texts use their nova use evolution to communicate and explore their themes and ideas.

Feel free to use additional research to enhance your analysis, but it’s not strictly necessary. Please cite your sources (any citation method is fine, but be consistent).

# Submission

# Idea Dump
# Outline
  1. Introduction
    1. Hook: evolution in sci-fi
      1. As a genre rooted in possibility, science fiction is driven forward by the belief that norms are changeable.
      2. And this applies to people the most; one of the premises Gunn’s worldview of science fiction is built on is that humanity is adaptable.
      3. In fact, it could be argued that adaptation is our responsibility. “Certainly the good old days…can be appreciated, but science fiction, in its forward-thinking attitude, will recognize that the good old days were never really that good and that change is necessary for growth of the species.”
    2. What better way to critique human norms then through speculative human evolution?
      1. Many science fiction texts like to ponder on hypothetical pasts, (Where do we come from?), presents (Who else is living with us?), and futures (What will happen to us?).
      2. But all of these speculations are grounded in our reality; what these texts are really questioning is who we already are as humans.
    3. The best example of this is the mutant metaphor, wherein people born with extraordinary powers are utilized to signify real-world conditions of marginalization and oppression.
    4. So in this essay, I will be exploring how evolution serves as a framework for science fiction through two examples of mutants: The X-Men series’ Homo superior and Sense8’s Homo sensorium.
  2. Homo superior
    1. The X-Men’s version of mutantdom
      1. The X-Men “the next step in evolution”
      2. Nova: superpowers
    2. How does the series display and hyperbolize evolution? (signifier)
      1. HOXPOX: organic technology
        1. The Five: resurection protocols… they’re cheating death
        2. language and biology?
      2. Planet-Size X-Men: superpowered terraforming
        1. they’re cheating nature “we can do this in a day”
    3. How does the series use evolution to explore its themes? (signified)
      1. HOXPOX
        1. Mutants vs humans-machines
          1. Red Queen Hypothesis
          2. Evolutionary Arms Race
          3. Cards/Transhumanism
      2. Planet-Size X-Men
  3. Homo sensorium
    1. Sense8’s version of mutantdom
    2. How does the series display and hyperbolize evolution? (signifier)
      1. Umwelt and Cognition: shared experience
    3. How does the series use evolution to explore its themes? (signified)
      1. BPO’s purpose and the Competitive Exclusion Principle
  4. Comparison
    1. While the X-Men series and Sense8 both exemplify the mutant metaphor, they take nearly opposing approaches.
    2. First, their portrayal of the mutation novum is on opposite sides of the spectrum. Sense8’s setting can be seen as an precise recreation of the author’s [a.k.a. the Wachowskis] own environment; sensates can easily pass as normal humans because of the subtle nature of their abilities. Meanwhile, the X-Men universe has an exclusive interest in [mutants]; flashy abilities not only put mutants in the spotlight, but also empower them to literally make space for themselves (by creating a new country and planet).
    3. Next, the powers gained from mutantdom differ in terms of mechanics. The X-Men series takes an individualist orientation; power is an inborn talent, and some mutants are born more powerful than others, as seen with Omega-level mutants. Meanwhile, Sense8 has a collectivist lens; instead of an acquired superpower, the power of a sensate comes from actual connection between other people.
      2. semiotically rich? (or talk about this in their own paragraphs) 1. gifts v..s. weapons 2. empathy?
    4. Finally, in their messaging, they propose contrasting pathways towards a better world for the marginalized.
      1. division v.s. connection/integration?
      2. Given how the sensate mindlink signifies empathy, Sense8 believes that connection is the way to go: “…the best way to heal the world isn’t to beat any one bad guy…[or]any one awful ideology, but, rather, to find better ways to care for each other…[and] to love each other.” Hence, the finale was the perfect ending to the series; what better way to celebrate an interconnected and inclusive world than an orgy, where people of differing races, genders, sexualities, etc. got to enjoy themselves together?
      3. However, Krakoan era X-Men would see this perspective as naive. It questions why the marginalized need to be good in order to assert their humanity, and argues that there is no need for them to. Charles Xavier advocated for goodness, and that got him nothing but doomed timelines. So instead of trying to integrate with the rest of the world, the X-Men give up and create their own, exclusive to mutants only.
      4. Mutants are not new species. but its seems like the x-men want to become their own.
        1. With this chosen path, it could be said that mutants are trying to become their own species. Contrary to popular belief, mutants are not a distinct species; in order to be considered as one, they would have to be reproductively isolated from the rest of humanity, which would require geophysical barriers. By creating their own country and planet, the X-Men could be considered moving towards speciation.
      5. Overall: in a diversified world, humans make sense of themselves and others through classification. Both texts explored this need for groups to develop their own identities, albeit in conflicting ways. Sense8 advocates for our shared humanity in spite of our biodiversity (“We are still human”) while the X-Men series pushes an us-versus-them mentality (“We are more than human”).
  5. Conclusion
    1. a story about where you think we’re going is really a statement about where you think we are now, and about our response to that. If you believe we will become better people in the future, that’s also a belief that in the present, we can.
    2. but the question is…how will we get there?
    3. If science fiction stories are really statements about our reality, then what do these series say about us?
# Sources