Deconstructing the Starships: Science, Fiction, and Reality

Deconstructing the Starships: Science, Fiction, and Reality

Deconstructing the Starships: Science, Fiction, and Reality

Deconstructing the Starships: Science, Fiction, and Reality

Synopsis

The subject matter of this collection is varied, but displays Jones�2 stance as a practicing SF writer and a feminist; the writing is characterized by both an incisive engagement with the texts and a refusal to dress that engagement in jargon. This very readable book provides insight into the work of one of the UK's most interesting writers and presents strong �6 sometimes even subversive �6 views of a range of modern SF and fantasy. "Gwyneth Jones is one of the two or three most important writers of the current sf boom in the UK... from the evidence in this book it is clear she is also one of the most reflective and readable sf critics working today."--Science Fiction Studies

Excerpt

These essays and reviews have been produced over a decade during which the stuff of science fiction became part of everyday life. There have been other decades in recent memory filled with intense excitement about the imaginary future: we can see the marks of their passing in city planning, public architecture, furniture; the streamlining, the monochrome and chrome of everyday objects first admired, then considered hideous, eventually fashionable again. But whether or not we consider the Internet hideous, it is unlikely that telematic networking will be consigned to the lumber room by the next generation, or that biotechnology will come totally undone (despite its mixed performance so far on the money markets); and perhaps equally unlikely that the demographic and economic changes that have created Girl Power, leaving political and idealistic feminism stranded and bewildered on the margins, will be dismantled. Dreams of galactic empire did not come true, the Invaders from Mars (or from any other alien planet in our locality) are consigned to fantasy. But a great deal of the future imagined by my generation's sf writers is actually with us.

William Gibson, the icon of the 1980s, said that science fiction is always about the present. I could argue that it is the only fiction about the present, everything else is historical romance. But at this particular moment in time, reality and science fiction are moving into such close conjunction that science fiction is no longer the strange reflection and artistic elaboration of current preoccupations: the mirror and the actuality have almost become one. Moreover, most of the routes to a new separation (aside from the colourful fantasies of the ‘science fiction’ entertainment business) might involve losses considerably more painful than saying goodbye to the Venusian Swamps and the ancient cities of Mars. Perhaps we should hope for some kind of catastrophic fusion of future and present, the End of History as pronounced by Baudrillard: but postponed, from hour to hour, from sentence to sentence, by this narrative that never reaches closure. We should remember that though there are tragic science fictions, science fiction itself is a comedy. Classically, essentially, all true science fiction stories end at the beginning. We are those who go always a little farther.

The reviews in the last section of this book appeared originally in Foundation, the journal of the Science Fiction Foundation UK; the New York Review of Science Fiction, and in SFEye. Some of the essays were written as conference papers, false papers concocted by me as a cunning means of . . .

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