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Grimus and Midnight’s Children
Andrew Teverson

Any intellect which confines itself to mere structuralism is bound to rest trapped in its own webs. (Salman Rushdie, Grimus , 1975, G, 91) Back then I was partial to science fiction novels. (Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath Her Feet , 1999, GBF, 205) Scenarios borrowed from science fiction fantasy appear in several of Rushdie’s novels. Haroun and the Sea of Stories features a journey to a magical moon on an automaton bird, The Satanic Verses alludes to the genre self

in Salman Rushdie
Tissue transfer in literature, film, and medicine
Author: Sara Wasson

This book is a shadow cultural history of transplantation as mediated through medical writing, science fiction, life writing and visual arts in a Gothic mode, from the nineteenth century to the present. Works in these genres explore the experience of donors or suppliers, recipients and practitioners, and simultaneously express transfer-related suffering and are complicit in its erasure. Examining texts from Europe, North America and India, the book resists exoticising predatorial tissue economies and considers fantasies of harvest as both product and symbol of ‘slow violence’ (Rob Nixon), precarity and structural ruination under neoliberal capitalism. Gothic tropes, intertextualities and narrative conventions are used in life writing to express the affective and conceptual challenges of post-transplant being, and used in medical writing to manage the ambiguities of hybrid bodies, as a ‘clinical necropoetics’. In their efforts to articulate bioengineered hybridity, these works are not only anxious but speculative. Works discussed include nineteenth-century Gothic, early twentieth-century fiction and film, 1970s American hospital organ theft horror in literature and film, turn-of-the-millennium fiction and film of organ sale, postmillennial science fiction dystopias, life writing and scientific writing from the nineteenth century to the present. Throughout, Gothic representations engage contemporary debates around the management of chronic illness, the changing economics of healthcare and the biopolitics of organ procurement and transplantation – in sum, the strange times and weird spaces of tissue mobilities. The book will be of interest to academics and students researching Gothic studies, science fiction, critical medical humanities and cultural studies of transplantation.

Open Access (free)
Dissent and the machine

Anti-computing explores forgotten histories and contemporary forms of dissent – moments when the imposition of computational technologies, logics, techniques, imaginaries, utopias have been questioned, disputed, or refused. It also asks why these moments tend to be forgotten. What is it about computational capitalism that means we live so much in the present? What has this to do with computational logics and practices themselves?

This book addresses these issues through a critical engagement with media archaeology and medium theory and by way of a series of original studies; exploring Hannah Arendt and early automation anxiety, witnessing and the database, Two Cultures from the inside out, bot fear, singularity and/as science fiction. Finally, it returns to remap long-standing concerns against new forms of dissent, hostility, and automation anxiety, producing a distant reading of contemporary hostility.

At once an acute response to urgent concerns around toxic digital cultures, an accounting with media archaeology as a mode of medium theory, and a series of original and methodologically fluid case studies, this book crosses an interdisciplinary research field including cultural studies, media studies, medium studies, critical theory, literary and science fiction studies, media archaeology, medium theory, cultural history, technology history.

A comparative study
Author: Neil Cornwell

This book takes four stories by the Russian Romantic author Vladimir Odoevsky to illustrate ‘pathways’, developed further by subsequent writers, into modern fiction. Featured here are: the artistic (musical story), the rise of science fiction, psychic aspects of the detective story and of confession in the novel. The four chapters also examine the development of the featured categories by a wide range of subsequent writers in fiction ranging from the Romantic period up to the present century. The study works backwards from Odoevsky's stories, noting respective previous examples or traditions, before proceeding to follow the ‘pathways’ observed into later Russian, English and comparative fiction.

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Author: James Peacock

This book takes as its starting point Lethem’s characteristic collisions and mutations of genres – detective fiction and science fiction; road narrative and science fiction; coming-of-age stories on extraterrestrial frontiers. It proceeds chronologically and takes as its main focus Lethem’s novels, with reference to related short stories. The chronological approach is appropriate because it shows how the bold, rather ostentatious genre clashes in early novels make way for more subtle genre mergings later on. It also indicates the shifts in tone and emphasis as Lethem moves from LA, where the early novels were written, to Brooklyn, his childhood home, and back again. The book analyses the specific purposes of Lethem’s genre experiments. Despite claiming in interview that he has never really grown up, and that he writes the way he does partly to make himself laugh, it is argued that he uses genre frameworks to question the organising principles through which individuals confront or avoid the complexities of their lives, principles which may require a reduction in freedom or individual self-expression. As such his subversion of genre is not simply postmodern game-playing, but in its own way politically motivated.

Science fiction and the futures of the body
Alistair Brown

inhabit and, most significantly for the context of the present book, our familial and sexual relations. 3 This chapter looks towards the futures of incest through the lens of science fiction. By examining the depiction of incest in three narratives concerned with different posthuman technologies of reproduction and embodiment – androids ( Abiogenesis ), genetic cloning ( Plan for Chaos ), and artificial

in Incest in contemporary literature
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Science fiction meets detection in Gun, With Occasional Music
James Peacock

science fiction its ontological counterpart (McHale, 1987 : 16), does the modification of the former by the latter in Lethem’s novel represent some kind of evolution of the detective genre, equipping it to navigate its way through and speak more eloquently to a world characterised by hybridity, fluidity, uncertainty, simulation and multiple subjectivities? This is a world, as Adam Roberts observes (Roberts, 2006 : 28

in Jonathan Lethem
Dana Phillips

, and while resilience can be a measure of the abiding strengths of natural systems, it can also result in new environmental woes in its own right (such as a preponderance of invasive Phragmites reeds, and the further decline of megafauna like elephants that I hinted at above). Science fiction, speculative fiction and the pre-posterous historical novel That all four of the terms I just spent some time defining are marked, in varying degrees, by ambiguity underscores their structural importance to the narratives in which they are employed as tropes, owing to a

in Literature and sustainability
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The rise of the ‘cosmic traveller’
Neil Cornwell

Much science fiction is pure Romance. Romance is the story of an elsewhere . (Umberto Eco, Reflections on The Name of the Rose ) Among examples in the relatively unusual genre of early works of Russian science fiction are to be found stories by Vladimir Odoevsky. 1 Two works of his are concerned with the impending catastrophic approach of a comet to the Earth. In an early story of just five pages, ‘Two

in Odoevsky’s four pathways into modern fiction
Science fiction, singularity, and the flesh
Caroline Bassett

In this chapter questions about AI that ELIZA foregrounded are explored in new places and times – in science fiction, which has long dealt in AI, singularity, and the computational. SF claims a privileged relationship to the technological future, and the tax on dissenting projections is lower than that for the apostates of computer science and industry. More specifically, it claims the privilege that comes with attention. It attends to the future, it explores, invents, and/or speculates on possible forms of life. Through the form of attention

in Anti-computing