quarta-feira, 31 de março de 2010

Reading by Starlight - Postmodern Science Fiction



Science fiction’s impact on popular culture has been striking. Yet sf’s imaginative texts often baffle or dismay readers trained to enjoy only the literary or ‘canonical’.

Reading by Starlight explores those characteristics in the writing, marketing and reception of science fiction which distinguish it as a mode. Damien Broderick analyses the postmodern self-referentiality of science fiction narrative, its intricate coded language and discursive ‘encyclopaedia’. He shows how, for rich understanding, sf readers must learn the codes and vernacular of these imaginary worlds, while absorbing the ‘lived-in futures’ generated by the overlapping intertexts of many sf writers.

Reading by Starlight includes close readings of cyberpunk and other postmodern texts, and writings by such sf novelists and theorists as Brian Aldiss, Isaac Asimov, Christine Brooke-Rose, Arthur C.Clarke, Samuel R.Delany, William Gibson, Fredric Jameson, Kim Stanley Robinson, Vivian Sobchack, Darko Suvin,
Michael Swanwick, Tzvetan Todorov and John Varley.



CONTENTS
Acknowledgements
Introduction 

Part I Modern science fiction
1 NEW WORLD, NEW TEXTS
The lineage of sf 
Definitions
A mythology of tomorrow 
Running the universe 
The catlike mrem 
At play in the fields of the word 
Sf after 19? 
Changing paradigms 

2 GENERIC ENGINEERING 
Out of the pulps 
Science fiction’s formulae
How much change?
Uncanny and marvellous
Diagramming the fantastic
Cognitive and estranged
New words, new sentences

3 GENRE OR MODE?
Genre regarded as a game of tennis
The persuasions of rhetoric
A trans-historical temptation
Drawing from life
A literature of metaphor

4 THE USES OF OTHERNESS
Really strange bedfellows
Pretending to shock
Sf and subversion
Feminist futures
Metaphor and metonymy
The mega-text
Icon and mega-text
The absent signified

5 READING THE EPISTEME
Delany’s critical path
Subjunctivity and mega-text
Learning to read sf
Sf as paraliterary
Critiquing the object

6 DREAMS OF REASON AND UNREASON
out of the kindergarten
Familiarising the estranged
Monstrous dreams
Cyberpunk
Value-added trash
Beyond satire

7 THE STARS MY DISSERTATION
Learning the tropes
Time’s arrow, time’s cycle
Flaws in the pattern
The hazard of didacticism
A fatal innocence
Deep identity
Part II Postmodern science fiction

8 MAKING UP WORLDS
What is the postmodern?
Mapping utopia
Jameson’s postmodern and sf
Screen test
A new dominant

9 ALLOGRAPHY AND ALLEGORY
Sf as allegory of reading
Difference
Remaking myth
Myth re-complicated
The music of words
The interpretative context

10 SF AS A MODULAR CALCULUS
A mirror for observers
Black box and finagle factor
The rudder of language
Writing in phase space
Conceptual breakthrough

11 THE MULTIPLICITY OF WORLDS, OF OTHERS
Art as play, art as revelation
Assailing dogma
The postmodern intersection
Worlds out of words
Norman Rockwell on Mars
Self-reference
The antinomies of spacetime

12 THE AUTUMNAL CITY
The object of science fiction
A definition of sf
Sf and the renovated novel
Strange attractors

Notes
Bibliography
Index


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