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Sidekick: A Speculative Fiction Story

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In the future a Community struggles for survival on an uninhabitable Earth. A small faction of rebels, called Villains, put the lives of the entire Community at risk as they

In the future a Community struggles for survival on an uninhabitable Earth. A small faction of rebels, called Villains, put the lives of the entire Community at risk as they fight for domination of their home. Heroes and their Sidekicks rise up from the population to fight the Villains and win back their world. As they complete their training and begin to enter the world of Heroes and Villains, Alyssa begins to struggle with her identity as a Sidekick, her new role in the Community, and whether she can really preserve all that matters most to her. This excerpt from the larger novel, Sidekick, tells the story of Alyssa's struggles to remain true to herself, and her best friend Jeremy, all the while being called to serve the Community and eradicate the threat the Villains pose to her way of life. I conceived Sidekick as a work of speculative fiction because I believe the genre is one of the most powerful tools for education in the present time. By freeing one's mind to wonder, the dull becomes an exciting thought experiment that can (and does) influence how individuals see their world. Reading pieces like Ender's Game and 1984 I have found my ways of thinking challenged and stretched, and ideas from these works of fiction have stuck with and changed me. One major goal of the work was identifying and integrating major academic and life lessons I have learned into the overall work, providing it an intellectual and emotional grounding in reality. Having its foundations in the real world, the setting of Sidekick becomes a stage for a fantastical story as well as the reader's own imagination and introspection.

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  • 2015-12

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Strange New Worlds: Exploring the Dynamic Relationship Between Science and Science Fiction

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This paper explores the complex, multifaceted relationship of science and science fiction. Because of our rapidly evolving, technology-driven world, the question of how science fiction changes, and is changed by,

This paper explores the complex, multifaceted relationship of science and science fiction. Because of our rapidly evolving, technology-driven world, the question of how science fiction changes, and is changed by, science is more relevant today than ever before. The nuanced relationship of science and science fiction can first be explored by analyzing the influence of science fiction on science with examples such as the XPRIZE Foundation. At the same time that science fiction influences science, changes in science will also resonate in the future of science fiction. New developments like the open-source movement and the success of platforms like Kickstarter, which allow science to be crowdsourced at unprecedented levels, are changing the landscape of scientific development. These changes are causing increased public engagement with science. Based on these changes in the way science and technology are developed, the science fiction genre seems on the cusp of a dramatic shift. Science fiction has long been dominated by dystopian and apocalyptic visions for the future, frequently the result of some catastrophe of our own making. However, because of the changes in science and technology and the public's engagement with those changes, the next generation of science fiction writers and filmmakers is likely to see a more positive outlook for humanity. Based on the interlocked past of science and science fiction, this paper argues that the changing landscape of science and technology will cause a change for the positive in the tonality of popular science fiction.

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  • 2015-12