Monday, January 21, 2008

Lasswell's methods applied within Science Fiction

Harold Lasswell in his article “The Garrison State” uses a totalistic carefully examined method of projecting his idea of the common trends into the future. The method that H.G. Wells used to construct the world in The Time Machine is what Lasswell referred to is “itemistic.” Meaning that he took simply one or two features in his own society and projected them forward, in his case this was a class and work separation. Although, as Kaitlin points out in her blog, this does allow him to explore the very fine line between a Utopia and a Dystopia. As a first look into science fiction, he presents an intriguing result of his society, but really the only other element he uses besides a class differences is that the Morlocks retain their intelligence longer due to the fact that they actually do some work. He is completely disregarding the fact, which Lasswell highlights, that intelligence of some inventors would remain to continue to change the Morlocks environment or to invent and play with new things.

Lasswell’s point in writing his article was statedly not purely to promote the future becoming a world of garrison states as to make a point of how you conduct an analysis into possible futures. Although his analysis is meant strictly for social scientists, it handily lines out a method for science fiction writers as well through the critical observations.

1 comment:

Kaitlin said...

I definitely agree with your points here -that projecting one or two features can be used as an analysis tool for the future- which reminded me of someone's in-class comment about science fiction being like a funhouse mirror. The features that become grossly distorted are the ones you notice. I think you also made the conclusion I came to when reading Lasswell's article: that because his method intended for social scientists is just as useful to a science fiction author, science fiction is in fact a social experiment.