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Future/Present: The End of Science Fiction

  • Veronica Hollinger

Abstract

Science fiction is (once again) undergoing an identity crisis; or, to put it more extremely, science fiction is (once again) coming to an end.2 Like other postmodern subjects, it has become fragmented and decentred; its boundaries have become fluid and its outlines blurred. Science fiction is now, more clearly than ever, a subject-inprocess; its erstwhile ‘fixed’ identity has become indeterminate and changeable. The texts which today constitute it as a generic field have themselves become widely dispersed and wildly heterogeneous, and/as its interactions with time and history have undergone a series of sea-changes. This essay is an attempt to think about science fiction at once as an ‘impossible’ genre within the context of postmodernity and a particularly relevant discursive field within the same context.3

Keywords

Time Machine Science Fiction Fictional World Star Trek Ence Fiction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    John Clute, ‘Introduction,’ Interzone: The 2nd Anthology, ed. Clute, David Pringle, and Simon Ounsley (London: Simon and Schuster, 1987), p. vii.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Veronica Hollinger, ‘Specular SF: Postmodern Allegory,’ State of the Fantastic: Studies in the Theory and Practice of Fantastic Literature and Film, ed. Nicholas Ruddick ( Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992 ), p. 31.Google Scholar
  3. 8.
    Critic John Clute suggests the phrase ‘first sf’ to denote ‘genre sf’ or ‘old sf’ or ‘agenda sf.’ As Clute maintains, ‘The old sf is dead; and the change is in us […] But there are still dinosaurs’ (Look at the Evidence: Essays and Reviews [New York: Serconia Press, 1995], p. 279).Google Scholar
  4. 11.
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  5. 16.
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    Jean Baudrillard, ‘The Ecstacy of Communication,’ trans. John Johnston, The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture, ed. Hal Foster ( Port Townsend, WA: Bay Press, 1983 ), p. 128.Google Scholar
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    Fredric Jameson, ‘Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism,’ New Left Review, 146 (July/August 1984), p. 64.Google Scholar
  8. 20.
    Jameson, ‘Cultural Logic,’ 65–66. A similar effect is discussed by N. Katherine Hayles as the ‘flattening out’ of our sense of time as the result of a kind of Tofflerian ‘future shock.’ She speculates that ‘Part of our sense that time has flattened out derives from uncertainty about where we as human beings fit into our own future scenarios’: Chaos Bound: Orderly Disorder in Contemporary Literature and Science ( Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1990 ), p. 280.Google Scholar
  9. 21.
    Darko Suvin, Metamorphoses of Science Fiction: On the Poetics and History of a Literary Genre ( New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979 ), p. 89.Google Scholar
  10. 22.
    Fredric Jameson, ‘Progress versus Utopia, or Can We Imagine the Future?’ (1982), Art After Modernism: Rethinking Representation, ed. Brian Wallis ( New York: The New Museum of Contemporary Art, 1984 ), p. 243.Google Scholar
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    Fredric Jameson, ‘Postmodernism and Consumer Society,’ The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture, ed. Hal Foster (Port Townsend, Wa: Bay Press, 1983); see especially pp. 118–121.Google Scholar
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    Jacob Kessel, ‘Invaders’ (1990), The Norton Book of Science Fiction, p. 848.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Veronica Hollinger

There are no affiliations available

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