02-01-2007 09:51 PM
In The Norton Book of Science Fiction, read "Day Million" by Frederik Pohl. Describe how Frederik Pohl presents the details of his future world.
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03-20-2007 12:58 PM
Just thoughts off the top of my head. ... still processing.
03-25-2007 11:17 AM
It's as though Pohl is thinking aloud to us as he is putting the story together, filling the strange background and characteristics of the protagonists, while telling us up front that this is a "boy meets girl" story. He tells us that the far future is difficult to understand, but if we *could* look ahead, it might look something like this, and we might possibly understand what we are seeing.
This makes it less of an actual story, and more like a musing about the strangeness of the future.
I actually find it less thought-provoking than I would have imagined from the title. The future has already caught up with Pohl long before the actual Day Million. For example, the notions that one can tailor the human body to specifications, or to determine gender, and the notion of perfect female beauty or male handsomeness isn't really so far-fetched now.
People are selecting for the gender of their children already; a huge cosmetics industry is hawking products that guaranteee beauty.
The great mobility of the humans in "Day Million" is to some extent duplicated in our mobile world society today, where one can get to any part of the world in 9 hours and people travel and commute great distances as a matter of course.
The casualness of relationships that Don and Dora have are similar to many relationships today, where husband and wife see each other only rarely, or one lives across the country while another takes care of the children, and everyone communicates through cellphone or on the web. Let's not forget the whole dating and sex thing across distances, too. The internet has made this all possible now, not just in Day Million.
Even the symbol manipulators that Don and Dora use to visualize one another aren't too different from our own technology that allow us to view our friends and mates from great distances.
We are closer to the world of "Day Million" than we are to Pohl's year 1966 now. The one unchanged point that Pohl makes effectively is how different we are from the people who came behind, and how strange our world would appear to them.
04-07-2007 01:21 AM
I was sitting in my favorite coffee place, in a garden-like setting. Reading the story gave me the same sense of pleasure that I got from being among friends and in a beautiful environment. I think I'd have felt that way about the story had it not been told from a sense of humor and with lightness. It's the feeling of the author's immersion and attention to an imagined place that impressed me.
04-07-2007 08:54 PM