For the next class, please read:
- Wells, H.G. (1940) “The Time Machine,” Chapters I-IV, p.201-236 in The Time Machine & The Wheels of Chance. London: J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd. (Handout)
- Borges, Jorge. (1941) The Garden of the Forking Paths.
Consider the following questions, as you read through each, and be sure to address BOTH readings.
- Discuss Well’s description of time travel and the fourth dimension. What parallels does he draw to contemporary cyberspace and/or cyberspace culture? Be sure to include examples.
- What is the significance of the reference in “The Garden of the Forking Paths” to Ts’ui Pen’s labyrinth?
- In what ways does Borges problematize the seeming authority and truth of a history book? How is this significant to contemporary cultural cyberspace perspectives?
- In the “Garden of the Forking Paths,” what non-linear narrative dynamics are at play? Explain and give examples.
- Why does Wells chose to give most of his characters jobs to identify them instead of names? What is the effect of not naming the characters?
- What did Ts’ui Pên mean when he wrote, in his letter, “I leave to the various futures (not to all) my garden of forking paths”? Why is his “garden” absent from some “futures”? Which ones? What role do such letters play in the story, literally and symbolically? Are these letters in any way related to Yu Tsun’s statement, “the future already exists … but I am your friend. Could I see the letter again”?
- How does the time traveler describe the sensations of time travel? And what, if any, fears arise that parallel contemporary concerns? What sort of world does the time traveler enter, and how does it compare to today?
And, as always, feel free to write about anything else that takes your attention in each (that you believe is relevant to this course); just be sure to make those connections explicit and provide textual examples.