1. A.) One example of body utopian world building is the body alterations and different ways of life that they have. Alex is described as dying at the age of 191 and Swan was said to have created the biosphere in the Wegener 70 years ago which would make her pretty old. These things are not thinkable today but at this time in 2312 they have pushed back the threat of aging by living in lower gravity, but not perfectly. As mentioned early in the book on page 10 that “there’ll be no conquering death…We can only hope to forestall. Push it back.” They have managed to push back aging which is utopian but it still exists as an inevitable thing.
Another example is the body modifications like the qube Swan has. People are modifying themselves to be the best version of themselves by using technology. Swan may find her qube annoying, but it gives her information and she can access files that she wouldn’t normally be able to on her own, also it is a sort of companion to her.
One another interesting thing to note is how people’s body types differ because of where they are from. Jean Genette from the asteroids is described as a “small” and Wahram from Titan is described a very big toad-like man. This is likely because of the differing levels of gravity and different environments they are constantly exposed to.
B.) An example of landscape as a utopian world building aspect is the modification of Mercury to make it livable. This feels like the most utopian like thing as they take what appears to be the most uninhabitable place, the planet closest to the sun, and modify to make it livable by putting a city on rails and having it constantly avoid the sun. They also made the planet walkable and navigable.
Similar to the example above, people are able to make terrariums and zoos out of asteroids and make a livable place on what is normally just a flying space rock. In a way it is like playing god by making a living ecosystem out of nothing.
C.) Something that shows life as world building would be the “sunwalkers” that stand on the edge of what is safe to watch the sun up close. They are comfortable enough living on mercury that they leave the safety of the city to get as close to the sun as they can and watch it. It is described in the book on page 5 as like “seeing the face of god”, which is an interesting perspective that even when we have enough technology to travel our entire solar system we are still drawn to the sun and in some cases we end up getting to close to it and can get injured from it.
Another example like mentioned above with the asteroids with the concept of playing god and creating life, also that we are creating small earth-like ecosystems when in the book Earth is in a bad shape.
D.) An example of community world building is the mentions of renaissance art such as Michelangelo and Greek philosophers like Socrates. Nearly one thousand years after their time they are mentioned and their artwork is still revered, which shows their importance and maybe how culture did not evolve much once technology started to rapidly improve and we began to travel the solar system.
2.) I agree that there are aspects of how capitalism caused the downfall of Earth and how it is not in the public’s interest but the interests of private companies and conglomerates instead. The Earth was left behind, exploited, and it was in an environmentally poor shape. Most of the ice has melted and the shorelines have risen and caused it to be unlivable for most. So while capitalism is part of the raw material and themes, the environment is also a big part as well. We can travel to all the planets and create life on asteroids, but the Earth was the perfect place for us and we made it a “mess, and a sad place” (pg 80). The book may take place in a utopian future but even in this utopian future Earth remains important for humans. It is also shown as something that cannot be terraformed properly like other planets, which on top of everything else reads as a reminder that we need to take care of our planet as we will never get another like it.