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Wish you were here: utopias, dystopias and other environmental fantasies test your imagination.

1. Written by Sir Thomas More, Utopia is speculative fiction about a land where communism prevails, different religions are tolerated and a national education program includes men and women. Translated from Greek, the word "utopia" means

a) good place

b) no place

c) womb of humankind

d) close to Utah

2. In this comedy, Pauly Shore and Stephen Baldwin star as two guys who enter a large structure, thinking it's a shopping mall. They find out it's really a closed environmental experiment, and they can't leave as quickly as they arrived. The movie is

a) The Lost Stooges

b) West Edmonton Mall

c) Bio-Dome

d) Escape from Atlantis

3. An actual project in Arizona during the early 1990s called Biosphere II replicated various ecosystems within a huge bubble dome. With nearly 4000 different plant and animal species stored within the dome, it was hoped this closed environment could support eight people who volunteered to live in it for two years. However, the project ended earlier than planned, because of

a) marital discord

b) concern for the safety of the volunteers

c) garbage disposal problems

d) insufficient funding

4. Written by Susanna Moodie in the mid-1800s, Roughing It in the Bush is an autobiographical novel that describes the hardship of European immigration to Upper Canada (Ontario). The book ends with a statement intended to

a) expose the corruption of Upper Canadian governors

b) celebrate the beauty of this unfamiliar continent

c) discourage would-be emigrants from coming to Canada

d) advertise her sequel

5. Canada is the destination of choice for refugees fleeing class and race riots in a post-climate change Los Angeles in Octavia Butler's novel, Parable of the Sower. In her Xenogenesis trilogy (Dawn, Adulthood Rites and Imago), humans come close to destruction because of nuclear war. They are saved when

a) gene-trading extraterrestrials merge with human DNA to produce genetic hybrids

b) a poor African-American boy builds a radiation shelter to protect his neighbourhood

c) Arnold Schwarzenegger blows up the missiles

d) mutants immune to radiation are born

6. In the H.G. Wells story, "Dr. Moreau", adapted to film three different times (in 1933, 1977 and 1996), Dr. Moreau attempts to create an island utopia by

a) developing island animals into a population of intelligent humanoid beings

b) decorating all the trees on the island with origami cranes

c) solving the island's famine and civil war

d) curing the islanders of a contagious disease

7. In Jurassic Park, first a novel by Michael Crichton, later made into a movie, dinosaurs are genetically recreated by scientists--for the entertainment of people. However, these prehistoric creatures find their immediate environment too restrictive, and move on to threaten the public. The experiment goes awry because

a) local activists free the dinosaurs from captivity

b) the dinosaurs begin to reproduce

c) a butterfly in China flapped its wings

d) the scientists run out of food to feed the dinosaurs.

8. Safe, by independent US filmmaker Todd Haynes, chronicles the story of a suburban housewife who finds herself physically deteriorating from a variety of chemical and food allergies, which others attribute to a mental illness. She finds safety by

a) replacing her carpets with wood flooring

b) starting her own TV talk show to raise awareness about environmental illness

c) checking into a New Age health clinic in New Mexico

d) switching to a health care plan that will pay for her treatment

9. In Planet of the Apes, starring Charlton Heston, astronauts crash on a devastated world where gorillas rule and humans are treated as domesticated animals. The movie ends when Heston's character

a) realizes humans are happy to be domesticated

b) falls in love with the matriarchal gorilla

c) escapes after gorillas rebuild his spacecraft

d) discovers the planet is Earth

10. In a futuristic novel by Margaret Atwood, the lone survivor of a worldwide plague looks back on the environmental disasters that led to genetically redesigned humans being cloned to survive in the increasingly dangerous world. This fiction is called

a) The Handmaid's Tale

b) Oryx and Crake

c) Surfacing

d) Up in a Tree

Answers: 1. b, 2. c, 3. b, 4. c, 5. a, 6. a, 7. b, 8. c, 9. d, 10. b

Paul Bobier is a freelance writer in Kitchener, Ontario.
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Author:Bobier, Paul
Publication:Alternatives Journal
Date:Jan 1, 2004
Words:714
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