Science Fiction 451

Nov 28

“House of Scorpion” is an exceedingly interesting Science fiction novel. It is interesting because it is so different than anything else we have read this year in ENGH 451. Although there are many differences compared the books we have already read, two stand out to me.

1.The First is the fact that this is a science fiction book and yet you aren’t hit over the head with tons of science fiction.

This semester our class has read some top notch science fiction books, such as “Neuromancer”, and “Lilith’s Brood”, played an excellent science fiction game in “Portal” and even watched a science fiction movie with “Blade Runner”. All of these works had several things in common, such as a focus on the eyes and characters with similar personalities, but most importantly they all never let you forget they were Science Fiction.

Whether it be killer A.I. in “Neuromancer” or aliens in “Lilith’s Brood”, there was never a point after I got through the first half of these works that I forgot that I was in a world dominated by science. “House of Scorpion” refrains from this. While reading this book I got the sense that the story was happening right now. Matt would say lines like, “the pink flowers withered. The strip of sky was blue by day and black at night. He dreamed of the little house, of Celia, of a meadow so intensely green, it made him cry when he woke up.” These images of flowers and the sky and a small normal house, would never pop up in the other readings unless they were also plagued with images of robots or television screens or aliens.

Because of El Patron’s need to maintain a household similar to his childhood you aren’t reminded that this book is set in the future until you get a line like, “And no one worked more than four hours a day. The rest of the time people flew around in hovercrafts and went to parties.” And “bam” you are reminded that you are reading a science fiction novel.


2. The Second is that this is the first book that writes in another human language, other than English.

The fact that so many great works are written in English, is something that I feel most English Majors, myself included, take for granted. We have read so many great works this semester where each and every one was written entirely in English, and when they dared to venture into another language it was normally an alien one like in “Lilith’s Brood” or some made up gibberish like in Blade Runner.
“House of Scorpion” is different; it uses a native human language that’s appropriate to the land where it takes place. It is set in the future and we could easily believe that the land is now occupied by some new people with a new language but instead the author keeps a traditional one.

It is first given power among English with, “Matt could read—slightly—both English and Spanish. In fact, he and Celia mixed the two languages together, but it didn’t matter. They understood each other.” This shows the fact that Spanish is equally as powerful as English in the novel. The author does not let is forget this and in fact reminds us continuously with the use of, “Buenos días paloma blanca. Hoy te vengo a saludar. Good morning white dove. Today I come to greet thee.” This reminds us that even though we are reading the book in English, its subject matter is that of a Hispanic culture.

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