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|Chapter||6. On Science Fiction|
|Textbook||Kaleidoscope, Non Fiction|
|Category||NCERT Solutions for Class 12|
The NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English are an excellent choice for students preparing for their board or any competitive exams. These solutions are made by expert teachers and faculties of English. Class 12 English Solutions, made by NCERTian, will help students understand the central theme of each chapter. They will strengthen your foundation in English and help you score good marks in the board examination. On this page, we have provided you with the Solutions of Kaleidoscope Non Fiction Chapter 6 – On Science Fiction.
NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Kaleidoscope Chapter 6
On Science Fiction Solutions
Stop And Think
Q1) What is the parallel drawn between myths and legends of the past and science fiction?
Answer) The ancient myths and legends are full of stories of human beings with supernormal powers. There are the legendary heroes who control situations, those ancient pieces of magic still fascinate us today, those crystal balls, into which one can see things those are happening many miles away, and magic shells that can allow us to hear the whisperings of humans many miles away.
In science fiction we have hypothesis that are often built up on the same principle which is superstitious believes and imaginary beliefs.
The goals of these ancient stories are the same as those of modern science fiction. These are the parallel drawn between myths and legends of the past and science fiction that connect each other.
Q2) What gives science fiction its validity?
Answer) In this story author indicates the validity of science fiction by stating that “The difference is that the ancient myths and legends fulfil those needs and meet those goals against the
background of a Universe that is controlled by gods and demons that can, in turn, be controlled by magical formulas either in the form of enchantments to coerce, or prayers to cajole. Science fiction, on the other hand, fulfils those needs against the background of a Universe that is controlled by impersonal and answerable laws of nature, which can, in turn, be controlled by an understanding of their nature. In a narrow sense, only science fiction is valid for today since, as far as we can tell, the Universe does follow the dictates of the laws of nature and is not at the mercy of gods and demons. This shows that law and nature validates the science fiction.
Q3) Which literary works does the author have in mind when he refers to ‘Open Sesame’ or the concept of winged horses or flying carpets?
Answer) The author while referring to ‘Open Sesame’ or the concept of winged horses or flying carpets, have literary work in mind which is as follows:
The ancient myths and legends are full of stories of human beings with supernormal powers. There are the legendary heroes, for instance, who learn to control winged horses or flying carpets. Those ancient pieces of magic still fascinate us today, and I imagine a youngster could thrill to such mystical methods of aero navigation and long for the chance to partake in it, even if he were reading the
Tales while on a jet plane. Consider the doors that open with ‘Open sesame’ rather than by the click of a remote-control device. Author considered fiction as literary works.
Understanding the Text
Q1) What makes for the distinction between the various genres of fiction—‘a sports story’, ‘a Western story’, ‘a jungle story’ and science fiction?
Answer) In this article, the author has identified different types of novels: sports history, westerns, jungle history, and science fiction. He elaborates that “science fiction is a considerable literary world because science fiction is its essence, not its content, but its background.” The author accurately lists the characteristics of each type of novel, thus showing to understand their differences. The story “must have some competitive activities, usually sports”. A ‘western story’ revolves around the nomadic life of American western cowboys in the second half of the 19th century. The jungle story includes the dangers associated with tropical forests and deserts. Science fiction has parts of interstellar travel and alien creatures. The author continues to argue that when another type of content is placed in a social context that is significantly different from ours, it becomes science fiction.
Q2) How does Asimov establish that John Campbell was wrong in his opinion that it is not possible for a science fiction mystery to be fair to a reader in the same way as a classical mystery is?
Answer) Asimov established that John Campbell was wrong that a science fiction mystery can’t be fair to a reader in the same way as a classic mystery is. He said that John misinterpreted science fiction and imagined it was impossible to write a science fiction mystery in a moment of failure. He provides the example of a classic mystery of Sherlock Holmes, where the detective was given exceptional capabilities of sight to traverse the plot. Yet, it remained fair to the readers. He argues that if such stories were appropriate in classic mysteries, then using the latest scientific findings that the reader is unaware of can be used by the author in penning down a science fiction mystery. They do not need to adhere to the rules of classic mystery, and still, it would be fair to the readers.
Q3) What are the pitfalls that the writer of science fiction mystery must guard against?
Answer) Writing a scientific mystery has its extraordinary pitfalls and difficulties. In writing a science-fiction mystery, the writer must be aware of his content and rationalise how to modify or conclude that science topic. John Campbell thought, writing science fiction is difficult but not impossible. Ideally, it is possible to adhere to the game’s rules in science fiction mysteries as in ordinary ones.
Talking about the Text
Discuss in small groups.
Q1) Imagination and fantasy help human beings to speculate upon the possible explanations for the complexity and unpredictability of the phenomena in the universe.
Answer) In this chapter, Isaac Asimov tries to reveal the importance of science fiction. Science does not promise that any scientific process can control everything in the universe. Science does not guarantee absolute truth, nor does it believe that such a thing exists. The author believes that fantasy and imagination play an essential role in achieving possible results for a person. Imagination guides us in experiments and tests and helps us explain previously unexplainable phenomena. And the unpredictability of cosmic phenomena because these things do not exist, and no one can accept them.
Q2) The difference that science and technology have made to everyday life today was visualised in science fiction fifty years ago.
Answer) Fifty years ago, science fiction connected modern science with science. Fifty years ago, science was considered unusual, unimaginable, and sometimes associated with the energy of superstition. But in this generation, science and technology has become part of life and has proved it. It has grown significantly and represents a clear vision for everyone. The modern contribution of science to our lives was visualised in science fiction novels centuries ago. For example, the crystal ball that allows us to gaze into the future or the magic shells that helped hear the human whisperings from a distance are nothing but modern-day inventions like televisions and mobile phones. The magic carpet or wing horse is the image of a modern aeroplane or jet plane. So, the science and technology surrounding us today have been presented and exhibited to the public decades ago through science fiction.
Q1) Discuss the author’s attitude towards the pre-scientific imagination and the tone he adopts while talking about it.
Answer) The author’s attitude towards the pre-scientific imagination and the tone he adopts while talking about it are:
- Isaac Asimov talks about the time when science did not hold much predominance in human society. Science fiction is the creation of the last two centuries. It cannot be seen as the future unless and until people get the idea that science and technology produce the future. The author’s tone towards pre-scientific imagination is sceptical in the beginning since he talks about magic, flying carpets, and winged horses.
- A notion prevailed that the universe is full of superstitious things and beliefs in mythical creatures, and some energy or superhuman was the leader of the universe.
- No one could get that idea until the rate of scientific change became significant enough to be noticed by people in the course of their lifetime.
Q2) Observe how the paragraph, as a form, has been used in the essay.
Some paragraphs consist of just one sentence. What purpose do you think the author had in putting them in this Manner?
Answer) Paragraphs that consist of just one sentence are:
1) “The goals of these ancient stories are the same as those of modern science fiction – they depict life as we don’t know it”.
2) “Science fiction is a literary universe of no mean size because science fiction is what it is, not through its content but its background”.
In the first paragraph, the author talks about some ancient and modern science fiction. In the second paragraph, the author throws light on the science fiction background and its genres. The author tries to put these paragraphs in one line to emphasise a strong plot by explaining what science fiction entailed in different forms.
Q3) Mark the linkers used by the author to connect the point he makes in one paragraph with that in the next.
For example, let me explain the difference that makes in the last line of para 1 of Section II. These are called discourse markers or discourse signalers.
Answer) Linkers used by the author to connect the point he makes in one paragraph with that in the next are:
1. “There must have been tales of the strange and different…. Let’s consider – The respect that people have…. manipulate that key.”
2. “Science fiction is a literary universe of no mean size because science fiction is what it is, not through its content but through its background: Let me explain the difference that makes.”
A. Literary Allusions
Q1) Look up a literary dictionary or encyclopaedia or the internet to understand the references to the following mythical creatures.
Find out parallel creatures in Indian mythology.
1) Centaur: Kinnaras (half-man half-horse)
2) Satyr: Half man half goat
3) Sphinx: Devdutt
4) Harpy: Garuda
5) Gryphon: Garuda same as Harpy
6) Gorgon: Kali
7) Pegasus: Kalki
Q2) Find out about the story of Achilles and Hector.
Answer) In Greek mythology, Achilles or Achilleus was a Greek hero of the Trojan War and the central character and greatest warrior of Homer’s Iliad. His mother was the immortal Nereids Thetis, and his father, the mortal Peleus, was the king of the Myrmidons.
Achilles’ most notable feat during the Trojan War was the slaying of the Trojan hero Hector outside the gates of Troy Although the death of Achilles is not presented in the Iliad, other sources concur that he was killed near the end of the Trojan War by Paris who shot him in the heel with an arrow
Later legends (beginning with a poem by Statius in the 1st century AD) state that Achilles was invulnerable in all of his body except for his heel because, when his mother Thetis dipped him in the River Styx as an infant, she held him by one of his heels. Alluding to these legends, the term “Achilles heel” has come to mean a point of weakness, especially in someone or something with an otherwise strong constitution.
Q1) Here are a few sentences with transitive verbs, adapted from the text.
Identify the noun phrases that are the verbs’ objects, and underline them. Then turn these sentences into a passive form.
- He expected a sudden change of rules.
- Nothing prevents writers from using actual science.
- He revealed that he didn’t know the difference between the element and the compound.
- He demonstrated that he couldn’t tell the difference between carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide and reduced the plot to a shambles.
- The writer must carefully explain to the reader all the boundary conditions of the imaginary society.
- Passive: Sudden change of rule was expected by him.
- Passive: Actual science cannot be prevented by the writers from anything.
- Passive: The difference between element and compound wasn’t revealed by him.
- Passive: The difference between carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide wasn’t demonstrated by him.
- Passive: All the boundary conditions of the imaginary society were carefully explained by the reader.
Q2) Some verbs take a that-clause after them.
Find the verb asks in the last paragraph of the first part of this text (which begins ‘I don’t even ask that…’) and note how it is followed by that clause. Look for other verbs, in this text as well as in the earlier ones, that are followed by a that-clause (verbs such as believe, know, realise, promise…)
Last paragraph of first part: I don’t even ask that they be wrenched out of context and somehow be made to fit the universe of reality by being given a scientific or pseudoscientific gloss. I ask only that they be self-consistent in their pre-scientific Universe—and that they be well-written and exciting stories.
The bold highlighted words are asked verb used that after them.
Eight paragraphs of first part: As for ‘mainstream fiction’ which deals with the here and now and introduces only the small novelty of make believe events and characters, that forms only an inconsiderable fraction of the whole.
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