D19: The Science Fiction in Education Toolkit - page 11

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designed more to highlight and critique aspects of the author’s world than to propose
a literal alternative.
Dystopian Fiction
If a utopia is an imaginary ideal society that dreams of a world in which the social,
political, and economic problems of the real present have been solved, then a
dystopia is an imagined world in which the dream has become a nightmare. Also
known as anti-utopias, dystopias are often designed to critique the potential negative
implications of certain forms of utopian thought. However, dystopian fiction tends to
have a strong satirical dimension that is designed to warn against the possible
consequences of certain tendencies in the real world of the present.
Alien Invasion
Alien invasion is a type of SciFi narrative in which the Earth is invaded by aliens,
usually for purposes of conquest or colonization. The invaders typically come from
outer space (Mars is a classic origination point), though there are variants in which
the invaders come from other dimensions, other times, or even exotic locations on
the Earth, such as beneath the oceans. Invading aliens are typically sinister, and
alien invasion narratives often have paranoid or xenophobic qualities. In some cases,
however, the invaders are benevolent and arrive with the purpose of helping
humanity to overcome some important obstacle, such as its own self-destructive
tendencies.
Apocalyptic Fiction
This type of science fiction narrative deals with the approach and arrival of a
cataclysmic event that causes widespread destruction, leading to a dramatic change
in the nature of human civilization on Earth. As opposed to the Biblical narrative of
apocalypse, the SciFi apocalypse generally results from natural and scientifically
explainable causes, such as environmental degradation, a cataclysmic cosmic event
(such as the collision of Earth with a large asteroid), a catastrophic plague, a
devastating nuclear or biological war, or an alien invasion.
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