Formal Writing Assignment #1
Romer College, Fall 2004


Outline Due: Tuesday, 14 September
First Draft Due: Tuesday, 21 September
Final Draft Due: Tuesday, 28 September

In 2-3 pages (not more) answer one of the three questions below using concrete and specific evidence from one or more of the stories we’ve studied in class.  Make sure that your introduction includes a clear thesis and that the rest of the paper is dedicated to providing evidence from the text that is specifically and clearly supportive of that thesis.  Your audience has no need for plot summary, avoid it like the plague!  You only have a few pages to work with: you can’t afford to waste space on plot summary—assume your audience knows the plot and stick to answering the questions.
 
You may wish to consult page 40 of Hacker’s “A writer’s reference”, which deals with writing an outline.
 
1. Consider how the author of “Lifeline” makes his logical case for his character’s ability to predict the future. He starts with apparently solid mathematics and physics and ends up with what appears to be an inescapable conclusion about free will. Most of these stories are in fact, fatalist. They seem to suggest that our actions are already predetermined, and that this is the inescapable consequence of time being the fourth dimension. Make a compelling argument either for or against this premise, focusing on the specific arguments made either directly or indirectly by the authors of one or two of the works we have studied. To be done well, this paper MUST include appropriate and specific examples from the works in question. 
 
2. In Invaders John Kessel compares science fiction to an escapist drug that helps people indulge in utopian fantasies while they hide from the problems of the real world.  Make the case that Kessel is wrong, using specific examples from two or three of the stories studied so far this year, including Kessel’s Invaders.
 
3. What is The Matrix about?  Focus your analysis exclusively on the first film. (Do not discuss or cite from either "Reloaded" or "Revolutions" or the video game, or....)  Remember that we are not asking what the plot is about, we are asking you to explain what you take to be the main message of the film. Submitting a plot summary will be punishable by firing squad.