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Final Exam Question Pool

  1. In "Alien Monsters", Joanna Russ is concerned about hypermasculinity in Science Fiction. Choose any three of the male main characters we've read about this half of the semester and evaluate them as possible examples or counter-examples of the "alien monsters" Russ discusses. (HINT: This means you need to know what characteristics Russ ascribes to "alien monsters".)
  2. John Campbell and Robert Heinlein developed a formula for great Science Fiction short stories. All four of the short stories we've read this half of the semester partake in the formula to some extent, and all four of them deviate from it somewhat as well. What elements of each story fit the formula? What elements from each story deviate from it? Why might Tiptree, Keyes, Delany, and Varley have chosen the deviations they did? (HINT: You MUST discuss all four short stories.)
  3. Science fiction as a genre thrives on coming-of-age stories. *Trouble and Her Friends* ( Silk/NewTrouble), *Frankenstein* (the monster) and *China Mountain Zhang* (Zhang/Rafael) all give us narratives about characters who grow into themselves over the course of the story. What happens in each story when the main characters come of age? What events or complications bring about their maturity? What are the consequences of each character's growing up for the rest of the characters in the story? (HINT: You MUST discuss all three novels and the characters listed in parentheses).
  4. We've talked about the four traditional Science Fiction roles for male others. Briefly list and describe those roles. Using the four short stories and the three novels we've read this half of the semester, choose one example of a character who fits each role. Describe why each character you've chosen is a good example of that particular form of male alienation. (HINT: You need to use four different works in your answer, not just four different characters.)
  5. In *China Mountain Zhang*, "Flowers for Algernon", and "Driftglass", new developments in biotechnology significantly alter the lives of the characters. Describe the biotech development that is central to the story. What current anxieties about biotechnology are being examined in each story? (EXAMPLE: In "Houston, Houston, Do You Read"--not an option on this question--, I think the anxiety being examined is the male fear that once cloning is perfected, women won't need them anymore.)
  6. *Trouble and Her Friends*, "Houston, Houston, Do You Read?", and "Options" all give us strong central female characters who make choices that result in the injury or death of male characters. Compare and contrast the attitudes of these women towards the men they hurt. (HINT: You MUST discuss all three works.)
  7. *Frankenstein* has become a standard Science Fiction concept. Briefly summarize the major events of Mary Shelley's novel, *Frankenstein*, including the ending, and then choose two other works from this half of the semester that incorporate elements of the *Frankenstein* story. Be sure to explain what elements of *Frankenstein* each other work uses and how those elements are changed from the original. Speculate about the possible reasons for those changes. (HINT: You MUST discuss *Frankenstein* and two other works.)
  8. Both *China Mountain Zhang* and *Trouble and Her Friends* give us gay main characters. How does Zhang's attraction to men or Trouble and Cerise's attraction to women affect the plot of each novel? What choices do they make that heterosexual characters in the same situations would not? What are the results of those choices? What does that tell you about each author's attitude towards homosexuality?

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