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Science In Science Fiction Essay

1480 words - 6 pages

Science fiction has been defined many different ways over the years, though no clear definition has come out on top. There are many different aspects to science fiction and what it consists of. The most popular and recognizable characteristics are science, technology, time travel, scientific method, different worlds, and catastrophe. By including these it helps the reader identify the story as a work of science fiction. Because science fiction’s primary focus is science, it comes naturally that it becomes the main focus of the story. The way an author decides to depict the use of science varies greatly from story to story. Some may choose to use science in a good way, while others may show the negative impacts science could have. In “Nine Lives” by Ursula Le Guin and “Rappaccini’s Daughter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne each author shows how characters can be connected or driven apart by science.
“Nine Lives” is a story that takes place on the planet Libra, where two men, Pugh and Martin, go to work. There they are joined by a Tenclone, a group of ten clones sent to help them with their mission. They are created from the cells of one man and are able to do tasks much more quickly and efficiently than humans. In the end, nine of the ten clones die, leaving Kaph the only clone left. Le Guin leads the reader to believe that the clones could have feelings, and ultimately she shows the connection between the three main characters.
In “Nine Lives”, the reader knows that the clones are not real, but a product of science. This leads the reader to question whether or not this product of science is capable of feelings. Darko Suvin says that Le Guin’s writing “lies in the quest for and sketching of a new, collectivist system of no longer alienated human relationships” (265). Le Guin chooses to use clones in “Nine Lives” for a specific reason, to spark the questions of alienation and the feelings of the clones. After the nine clones die Kaph is left with Martin and Pugh. In the story Kaph says, “I am nine-tenths dead. There is not enough of me left alive” (Le Guin 468). Because the closest things to him, the clones, are gone Kaph feels as if he cannot go on, thus pushing him into further isolation from Martin and Pugh. Le Guin creates alienation between the humans and clones, and then works to bring them together.
Towards the end of the story, Kaph asks Pugh if he loves Martin, to which Pugh replies that he does. He then tells Kaph that he does not have to leave, and that he can continue with Pugh and Martin on their mission (Le Guin 475). This small gesture leads to Kaph feeling less isolated; he feels as though he may have a chance at life without his clones. It also leads to a more emotional viewing of Kaph by the readers. Instead of seeing him as just a clone, readers can begin to see that he actually does have feelings.
Le Guin’s heroes are of a “divided allegiance” and “ha[ve] responsibilities to his own culture and to the culture he visits”...

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