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Science Fiction and the Future of Criticism

Author(s): Eric S. Rabkin


Source: PMLA, Vol. 119, No. 3, Special Topic: Science Fiction and Literary Studies: The Next
Millennium (May, 2004), pp. 457-473
Published by: Modern Language Association
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i9-3
j
Science Fiction and the Future of Criticism
ERIC S. RABKIN
Eric S.
Rabkin,
professor
of
English
at
the
University
of
Michigan,
Ann
Arbor,
writes on
literary theory,
cultural stud
ies,
and
popular
culture
topics
such as
science fiction and
fantasy.
He also
leads
pedagogical
and administrative
efforts to
integrate
information tech
nology
in the
academy.
THERE
IS AN
EXTRAORDINARY,
EXHILARATING MOMENT IN
Maureen F.
McHugh's
novel China Mountain
Zhang (1992)
in
which
Zhang,
at that
point
a "daoist
engineer"
in
training (232),
experiences
what is to him a
fundamentally
new
way
of
thinking.
He is a
student at China's?and the
world's?leading technological
institute.
The institute's vast
computer system
is
pervasive.
Once one
truly jacks
in,
to
inquire
is to
learn,
to think is to
do,
to
play
is to create. Or so he is
told,
for
Zhang,
born and raised in
America,
cannot lose himself
enough
to
experience
the
system fully.
To
get Zhang
there,
his mentor sets him
the task of
designing
doors.
By focusing
on doors without
number,
doors
of
every shape
and size and material and use and
mechanism,
Zhang
comes to see the doors around him more
vividly
than ever before. There
is an
overwhelming power
in the
multiplication
of
perspectives.
He no
tices that "China is obsessed with walls. The
university
is
walled, every
factory, every school, every
office
complex
or hotel is surrounded
by
a
wall. And so doors are
very important
because
they represent
vulnerabil
ity
but also
opportunity,
which is a
great metaphor
for
every
endeavor"
(228).
But that realization is not the
exhilarating
moment,
merely prepa
ration for it.
Zhang's unwitting
submission to the minds of a thousand
others
(door designers),
and to the necessities of materials and to the re
alities of human
needs,
trains his mind so that when his mentor allows
Zhang
to
design
a beach
house,
suddenly something
new
happens.
And I reach. For a moment there is no
perspective
and I am on the
edge
of
panic,
but instead I
give
in,
I let
myself
be swallowed
by
the
emptiness
and instead I
expand,
the
system
becomes
my
own
memory.
I fall
through.
I feel
my
mind's
boundaries,
I know how little I can think about
at one
time,
and then those boundaries become
unimaginably huge
and I
?
2004
BY THE MODERN LANGUAGE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA
457
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458
Science Fiction and the Future of Criticism PMLA
am
myself, myself,
but able to think and have
the
thing
I think in
my
mind without
holding it,
without
concentrating,
because I am
using
the
system
to concentrate for me. The
system
is
there for me,
a
part
of me.... I feel
whole,
and
now it is time to
go
home.
(234)
What
Zhang
feared,
as we Westerners so
often
do,
was
losing
his self
through
submersion
in the
system,
dissolution in the mass. But the
immense
system
becomes
part
of
him,
and he
becomes more
capable
than ever.
Carl Freedman wrote that his "thesis about
critical
theory
and science fiction is that each is
a version of the other"
(xv).
In the voice of sci
ence
fiction,
McHugh urges
us as readers to
make ourselves
something
more
capable
than
any
individual can be alone. In the voice of crit
ical
theory,
she asks us as
critics,
as she asks
Zhang
as
designer,
to make
qualitatively
more
informed,
imaginative, capacious judgments,
judgments
that in their formation draw on a
vast,
technologically
mediated set of collective
knowledge
and
experience?that
is,
on a
sys
tem. This
goal, nearly Utopian
to
Zhang,
is one
we
may
never
fully
reach,
but in
my
view it is
the future of criticism.
Science fiction has the oldest active fandom
of
any literary genre. Hugo
Gernsback,
that hun
gry immigrant visionary,
wrote and edited
mag
azines,
like Modern
Electrics,
that had some
science fiction content even before the
genre
had
a name. When he founded
Amazing,
the first sci
ence fiction
magazine,
in
1926,
he
sought
to en
gage
his readers in a
community
so that
they
would want to
buy
his
magazine
in order to dis
cuss its contents. He
promised,
and
delivered,
active letters columns. In 1934 he and Charles
Hornig
used Wonder Stories to launch the Sci
ence Fiction
League (Clute
and
Nicholls),
a
more and less successful
attempt
to
give
struc
ture to that
community.
While the
league
ulti
mately
failed as a commercial
proposition
for
Gernsback and
Hornig,
fan clubs
proliferated.
Science fiction fandom runs over two hundred
conventions
a
year
in the United States
alone;
publishes fanzines, supports
small
presses;
is
sues critical
judgments
in
many forms,
in
cluding
the
commercially
crucial annual
Hugo
Awards;
and
generally
enters into a
compelling
conversation with
professional
writers and edi
tors even as it functions as a farm club for their
ranks. In these
regards,
science fiction fandom is
the
exemplar
for all later fandoms.
Among
its
many activities,
science fiction
fandom
began
to build resources for criticism.
Pioneering
fan
enterprises,
such as Advent Pub
lishers,
based in
Chicago, brought
out not
only
criticism
by
readers, writers,
and editors in book
form but also such
groundbreaking
works as
The
Encyclopedia of
Science Fiction and Fan
tasy (1974-82), by
Donald
Tuck,
an Australian
science fiction aficionado. If one is to do science
fiction criticism as
fully
as
possible,
like
Zhang
told to
study
doors,
one must
expand
oneself
by
giving
oneself
up
to these resources. The old
model of
literary
criticism,
in which the critic
reads
everything
and issues a
personal
assess
ment,
eventually
had to contend with the collec
tivity
of fan critics
wielding
fan resources,
and it
still does.
Just as the World Wide Web was born at
CERN to serve the obvious collaborative needs
of worldwide
science,
so the first extrascientific
appropriations
of the
power
of the Web served
the obvious collaborative needs of worldwide
science fiction. When the Web became avail
able,
the
encyclopedic
efforts of fandom were
ready
to be
ported
to
digital
form,
the communi
ties of collaborators
extended,
and the results
made
widely
available. A fine current
example
is the Internet
Speculative
Fiction DataBase
(von Ruff),
a work
dependent
on volunteer labor
that
grew
from earlier efforts of the New En
gland
Science Fiction Association to become a
valuable
scholarly
tool.
The Web
provided
us not
only
with re
sources for science fiction criticism but also with
new fields for science fiction
play.
The same
technology
that
supports
democratic collabora
tion
supports multiplayer gaming. Long
before
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19 3
]
Eric S. Rabkin
459
the Internet
spawned
the
Web,
text-based
games
flourished. And most of these were marked
by
the same
tropes
and elements that
publishers
as
sociate with science
fiction?techno-wizardry
fantastic
adventure, and,
as
Edgar
Allan Poe
called
it,
"ratiocination"
(299): figure
out where
you
are in an abandoned
spaceship,
collect
strange
and sometimes
helpful objects,
and
think
your way
to
safety.
When
computer games
became more
visual,
and
bloody, they by
and
large
continued to feature science fiction ele
ments,
although
now a
twitching
thumb is often
more valuable than a
throbbing
brain.
If we ask what science fiction
is,
we
may
find
many
answers. One that I have
promulgated,
in The Fantastic in
Literature,
is that it is the
branch of fantastic literature that claims
plausi
bility against
a
background
of science. But that is
a narrow
definition,
quite
workable for the text
minded but
inadequate
to a broader
criticism,
the
sort of criticism that science fiction
invites,
be
cause science fiction is not limited to texts.
In December
2001,
the
University
of Mich
igan
hosted the fourth international Wiesner
Symposium
on science and
policy.
These
sym
posia
honor and were
inspired by
Jerome B.
Wiesner,
a
University
of
Michigan
alumnus,
a
physicist,
an adviser to United States
presidents,
and
president
of
perhaps
the most
prestigious
technical institute in the real
world,
the Massa
chusetts Institute of
Technology,
which
is,
not
coincidentally,
the home of the New
England
Science Fiction Association. In
2001,
a
year
with
literary
and filmic resonances around the
work of Arthur C. Clarke and
Stanley
Kubrick,
the
year
in which the human
genome
was de
clared known
territory,
the Wiesner
Symposium
theme was
"Braving
the New World: Benefits
and
Challenges
of Genetic
Knowledge."
All the
speakers
save
one,
the kickoff
speaker,
were
renowned scientists. I was the kickoff
speaker.
The
organizers
asked me to introduce a
showing
of the film Gattaca
(1997).
Their no
tion of
beginning
the
symposium
with science
fiction criticism and then with science fiction
was not
only appealing
to the
public
but also re
flective of the modes of modern
science, which,
unlike those of traditional
criticism,
are funda
mentally
networked and collaborative.
They
hoped,
like
Zhang,
to
develop
more
fully
their
ideas
by opening
a door to another
system.
In ti
tling
the
conference,
the
organizers
alluded to
Aldous
Huxley's
Brave New World
(1932),
rec
ognizing
that one
person's Utopia (unlimited
sex)
is another's hell
(love
is
forbidden).
But did
they
recall that Aldous
Huxley
was a
grandson
of T. H.
Huxley,
Charles Darwin's most famous
contemporary
adherent? Did
they
know that
T. H.
Huxley,
that
great promoter
of evolution
ary thought,
had for
nearly
two
years
a
young
lab assistant named Herbert
George
Wells? Did
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Science Fiction and the Future of Criticism PMLA
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Eric S. Rabkin
461
they
notice that
Huxley's
title in turn alluded to
William
Shakespeare's
The
Tempest,
in which
social order can be restored
only
after
Prospero
drowns his books
(5.1.57)?
And did
they
recall
that
Shakespeare
and Aldous
Huxley
each used
the term "brave new world" with both
irony
and
hope?
The conference subtitle
suggests
that
they
were mindful of the
ambiguity.
But I know from
conversation with them that
they
did not con
sider that the
object
of science fiction criticism
might
be not
only
film and novel and
play
but
also nonfiction
(like
James D. Watson's The
Double Helix: A Personal Account
of
the Dis
covery of
the Structure
of
DNA
[1968]), biogra
phy (like
Paul de Kruif's The Microbe Hunters
[1926]), policy
studies
(like
Vannevar Bush's
Science,
the Endless Frontier: A
Report
to the
President
[1945]),
and even science itself
(like
Einstein's famous
gedankenexperiments).
To
this list we should add science fiction
poetry,
music,
industrial
design, city planning,
architec
ture,
politics,
fashion,
and world's fairs. Science
fiction,
in other
words,
is no more limited to sci
ence fiction literature than love is limited to love
letters. Science fiction is what I would
call,
adapting McHugh's
term,
a cultural
system,
and
the future of criticism lies in
exploring
cultural
systems.
Toward this
future,
science fiction
should lead the
way.
To
suggest
that science fiction is a
system,
something
much
larger
than a
genre, merely
acknowledges
that it fulfills an
Oxford English
Dictionary
definition of
system:
"A set or as
semblage
of
things
connected, associated,
or in
terdependent,
so as to form a
complex unity."
We
recognize
that assembled
unity
when we
Fie.
5
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in Them!
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462
Science Fiction and the Future of Criticism PMLA
speak
of Faustian
bargains,
Frankenstein ex
periments,
Star Wars
weaponry,
and aliens who
move faster than a
speeding
bullet. The stream
lining
of house trailers
may
have made some
practical
sense,
although
it smacks more of ex
oticism than of fuel conservation. The streamlin
ing
of
dinky
outboard motors makes no
practical
sense at all
(fig. 1),
unless one considers the de
sign part
of a cultural
system
in which the motor
housing represents
the fulfillment of a
fantasy
of
speed
in an alien element
(water)
and the
practi
cal
impact
of such
streamlining
is thus measured
by
the bottom line of the manufacturer.
A cultural
system,
as I mean the
term, may
coordinate a set of
typical
dramatic
situations,
recurring
elements,
even themes and
styles,
as
science fiction does
by including,
for
example,
the encounter with the
alien,
time
machines,
wonderment about the definition of the
human,
and
streamlining.
Science fiction is
quite
natu
rally
the most influential cultural
system
in a
time like
ours,
in which dominant
technological
change constantly provokes hope,
fear,
guilt,
and
glory.
But science fiction is not our
only
cultural
system.
The western offers us
another,
with its
typical story
so well articulated
by
John
Cawelti and its characteristic
landscape
so well
presented by Hollywood.
Its
typical
values are
embodied in
figures
fictional, semifictional,
and
more or less
real,
like Paul
Bunyan, Davy
Crockett,
and John
Wayne;
in western
clothing,
western
type fonts,
western
novels,
and western
movies;
in
country-and-western
music;
in west
ern
cooking;
and in western
customs,
like ro
deos,
which attract
camp
followers
during
the
rodeo season the same
way
science fiction con
Fig.
4
Charlie
Chaplin
in
Modern Times.
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9.3
Eric S. Rabkin
463
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ventions attract fans. Rock and roll is
yet
an
other cultural
system,
with its
great attempt
to
capture
its
history, politics,
music,
and
legends
in its own hall of fame in Cleveland.
When we deal with a cultural
system,
even
if we believe we are
dealing only
with a novel or
a
film,
we must look
widely.
In a
post-9/11
issue
of the New York
Times,
Rick
Lyman
wrote about
the
way
horror films deal with the fears of their
ages.
Here is his first
example:
"In
[the]
climac
tic scene from Them!
(1954),
the seminal
giant
bug
movie from the
age
of
post-atomic anxiety,
Dr. Medford
...
becomes the
symbolic spokes
man for all of the
vague
unease felt
by
a
prosper
ous and
complacent
American
public wrapping
its mind around the
new,
terrifying concept
of
nuclear radiation"
(fig. 2).
It is true that America
in 1954 was afraid of atomic
radiation, but,
more to the
point,
America was afraid of the
bomb in the hands of the Soviet Union. Com
mies were
everywhere,
fifth columnists
living
among
us,
each one
mindlessly following
im
placable
orders from Moscow. It is no accident
that the movie chose ants to be
enlarged by
radi
ation or that
they
nest
underground.
The movie
poster's
term "catacombs" refers to the ants'
nest
(fig. 3).
Life for the ants is death for Ameri
cans. The
poster
makes clear that the conflict is a
military
one. The cultural
system
of science fic
tion here coordinates
politics, technology,
and
more
enduring symbolic
concerns about
gender
(ants
are
female,
nests are
evil,
but men have
flamethrowers)
and
poetic space (aboveground
is
good; belowground
is
bad).
Fie.
5
Early telephone
operators.
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464
Science Fiction and the Future of Criticism PMLA
Fig. 6
Long-distance
switchboard at Bell
Telephone
Co.,
Ottawa,
1961
(Chris
Lund
/
National Film
Board
ofCanada/
National Archives
ofCanada/PA-).
The
image
of the ant is worth considera
tion. In the Bible
(Prov.
6.1: "Go to the
ant,
thou
sluggard;
consider her
ways,
and be
wise")
and
in
Aesop,
the
industry
of the ant is extolled. In
science
fiction,
the ant
represents
one unit of a
hive mind. Such
minds,
of which there are
countless science fiction
examples,
such as the
Martians in Olaf
Stapledon's
Last and First Men
(1930),
are
typically
anathema:
antihuman,
evil.
But if the
minds,
such as the
symbionts
in Sta
pledon's
Star Maker
(1937),
allow those in
volved with them to remain
individuals,
they
are
glorious, superhuman, good.
To the extent
that machine minds mimic this distinction?as
with the vicious
emergent
consciousness in Har
lan Ellison's "I Have No
Mouth,
and I Must
Scream"
(1967), contrasting
the
computer sys
tem in
McHugh's
novel?the distinction carries
' s ...... ... .. . te ,1 l| _ i
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i
19.3
Eric S. Rabkin
465
Fig.
7
Aerial view of
Levittown, PA,
c. 1959
(Ed
Latcham
/
National
Archives and
Records
Administration).
across from the realm of the
biological
to the
realm of the mechanical. We come to under
stand that in the science fiction
system,
individ
uality
in
community
is to be
prized,
but
unalloyed individuality
or
unalloyed community
is
wanting.
The
system supports
an articulable
ideology
from
Mary Shelley's
Frankenstein
(1818)
to the
present.
Few of us would
suggest
that Charlie
Chap
lin was a science fiction
auteur,
but his Modern
Times
(1936) certainly participates
in the cul
tural
system
of science fiction
(fig. 4).
The ma
chine
processes
us,
threatening
to turn us into
generalized pulp,
the
way telephone
lines line
us
up (fig. 5)
and
eventually
turn us into clones
(fig. 6).
In
architecture,
the
homogenized repro
duction of homes
(fig. 7) homogenizes
the re
production
of the
family (fig. 8).
More
recently,
the
recognition
that
decoding
our DNA is an
important step
toward
controlling
us
suggests
that heroism
may
lie in a
paraplegic's struggle
to climb the double
helix,
as
Eugene
does in
Gattaca
(figs.
9 and
10).
As we become ever more
connected,
the
cultural
system
that is science fiction will
pro
duce a criticism that is ever more
collaborative,
crossing
the boundaries of individual contribu
tors
just
as it crosses
productive
domains from
household
appliance
to
political
debate. As the
number of contributors
increases,
and as the
body
of shareable
knowledge
increases,
criti
cism will
inevitably
add
quantitative
methods to
its
ever-more-capacious qualitative
methods.
At the
University
of
Michigan,
Carl
Simon,
a
mathematician;
Bobbi
Low,
a
population
biol
ogist;
and
I,
working
with about fifteen student
researchers each semester since
January
1998,
have taken a combined
qualitative-quantitative
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466
Science Fiction and the Future of Criticism I
PMLA
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Fig. 8
Family
in
Levittown,
NY,
1950
(Bernard
Hoffman
/
Time
Life Pictures
/
Getty
Images).
approach
to science fiction as
part
of our Genre
Evolution
Project (Rabkin
and
Simon).
Allow
me to
give
one result of this collaborative work.
We have been
reading
a
representative
sam
ple
of American science fiction
magazine
short
stories. In
developing categories
for the
genres
(or subgenres)
into which
they
fell,
we found
it
indispensable
to
distinguish
between
genre
form and
genre
content. With fourteen
genre
forms and sixteen
genre
contents,
we were able
to code at least
ninety-seven percent
of all sto
ries encountered.
The initial examinations
by
the student re
searchers Adrienne Heckler and
Zachary Wright
of the
possible
associations between
genre
forms
and
genre
contents led to
provocative
results that
prompted
Simon and me to
explore
further.
When we consider all the stories
(fig. 11),
certain
combinations of
genre
form and
genre
content
stand
out,
particularly
that of alien contact and
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i
19.3 Eric S. Rabkin
467
_________________________________________________________________________
Fig.
9
Jude Law in
Gattaca.
Fig. 10
Jude Law in
Gattaca.
H__________HH_^^
<"***"
**^^!^^ w/KK/tt^^
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468
Science Fiction and the Future of Criticism PMLA
FlG. 11
Number of Each Combination of Genre Form and Genre Content in a
Representative Sample
of
1,959
Science Fiction
Short Stories Published in American Science Fiction
Magazines during
1926-2000
Number of Stories
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Alien contact
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.
n
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Genre Contents
a Alien
b
i :
Alternative
history
c
Capability shift, mental
d n
Capability shift, physical
e
Dystopia
f [ j
Eutopia
g Exploration
h Invention
i Mad scientist
j
!
i Monster
k
Postapocalypse
I
Psi
powers
m
Surreal novum
n
Sword and
sorcery
o Time travel
p
ii
Utopia
This content downloaded from 182.185.206.108 on Sat, 29 Mar 2014 09:46:50 AM
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i
19 3
Eric S. Rabkin
469
Number of Stories
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
_^_I_I_I_I_L_I_I_I_I_I
Parody
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_
?
Each
story
is
assigned
one
genre
form and one
genre
content. A
%2
test of these data shows that the combinations alien
contact-alien,
exploration-exploration,
and domestic-surreal novum occur
very
far more often than
they
would in a
random distribution and that alien contact-invention occurs
very
far less often
(p
?
0.0001).
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47?
Science Fiction and the Future of Criticism PMLA
FlG. 12
Number of Each Combination of Genre Form and Genre Content for the 159 Stories from the Set in
Fig.
11 That Were
Reprinted
More Than Twice
Number of Stories
012345678
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g
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___ _ __ e
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Genre Contents
a Alien
b Alternative
history
c
Capability shift, mental
d
Capability shift, physical
e
Dystopia
f
Eutopia
g Exploration
h Invention
i Mad scientist
j
Monster
k
Postapocalypse
I
Psi
powers
m
Surreal novum
n
Sword and
sorcery
o Time travel
p Utopia
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i
19 3 Eric S. Rabkin
471
Number of Stories
012345678
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i
Parody
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mil
I
a
c
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i n
0
A
x2
test of these data shows that the combinations
satire-dystopia; philosophical tale-capability
shift, mental;
and
philosophical tale-exploration
occur far more often than
they
would in a random distribution
(p
<
0.005).
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472
Science Fiction and the Future of Criticism PMLA
alien. But when we consider the stories that re
ceived substantial
reprinting (fig. 12)?a
clear
measure of
marketplace
success over time?
other combinations
thrive,
such as satire and
dystopia.
It seems as
if,
to
get
a science fiction
story printed
at
all,
one is best advised to write
an alien contact-alien
story; however,
if one
hopes
to make a
lasting
contribution,
one is best
advised to write a
dystopian
satire.
Why
is that?
I cannot in the
scope
of this
argument pur
sue a detailed answer to that
question,
but I can
suggest
that the answer will lie neither in some
quality
of each
story's style
or execution nor
directly
in what
people
like to
read,
since alien
contact-alien first
publications
occur at the
same time as
satire-dystopia republications.
We
clearly
need to know much more about the
times,
about what different modes of distribu
tion and
consumption
mean,
and in
general
about the cultural
system
of science fiction.
We do know this about the cultural
system
of science fiction: it is
rich, broadly
useful,
and
apparently self-contradictory, just
as the God of
the Bible sends both the flood and the rainbow
covenant. Science fiction was born in
part
out
of distrust of
science,
a distrust it continues to
manifest in works like
Gattaca,
but it also bol
sters a faith. As the
pioneer
editor F. Orlin Tre
maine
said,
"We must so
plan
that
twenty years
hence it will be said that
Astounding
Stories has
served as the cradle of modern science"
(Carter
16).
Science fiction
text,
in other
words,
con
sciously
has been
part
of a
larger
cultural
system
almost from the moment in the
early
twentieth
century
when the
genre
was first named.
I believe that
ultimately,
as we see
by
com
parison
with critical
writing
about the western
and about rock and
roll,
science fiction
criticism,
like one of
Zhang's
doors,
will
open
us to a
more
expansive
criticism,
one that will be more
systemic,
more
collaborative,
and more
quanti
tative. Just as science fiction showed the
way
in
almost
every application
of new cinema technol
ogy,
and
just
as it has
again
shown the
way
in
exfoliating many
of the
possibilities
of the
World Wide
Web,
it will show the
way
in criti
cism. This
leadership
is
already apparent
in the
new
attempt by
the
Oxford English Dictionary
to use the Web to enlist readers in its citation re
search. In what field did the
lexicographers
begin
this new sort of word
study?
Science fic
tion
(Prucher
and
Farmer).
Science fiction
right
now is the cultural
system
from which
systemic
criticism is
being
born
(fig. 13).
Works Cited
Carter,
Paul A. The Creation
of
Tomorrow:
Fifty
Years
of Mag
azine Science Fiction. New York: Columbia
UP,
1977.
Cawelti,
John G. Adventure,
Mystery,
and Romance: For
mula Stories as Art and
Popular
Culture.
Chicago:
U of
Chicago P,
1976.
Clute, John,
and Peter Nicholls. The
Encyclopedia of
Sci
ence Fiction. New York: St.
Martin's,
1993.
Freedman,
Carl. Critical
Theory
and Science Fiction. Hano
ver:
Wesleyan
UP,
2000.
Lyman,
Rick. "Horrors! Time for an Attack of the Meta
phors?
From
Bug
Movies to Bioterrorism." New York
Times 23 Oct. 2001: El.
McHugh,
Maureen F. China Mountain
Zhang.
New York:
Tor,
1992.
Poe, Edgar
Allan. Rev. of Twice-Told Tales, by
Nathaniel
Hawthorne. Graham's
Lady's
and Gentleman's
Maga
zine
May
1842:298-300.
Prucher, Jeff,
and Malcolm Farmer. Science Fiction Cita
tions
for
the OED. 30 Jan. 2004
<http://www.jessesword
.com/SF/sf_citations.shtml>.
Rabkin,
Eric S. The Fantastic in Literature. Princeton:
Princeton
UP,
1976.
Rabkin,
Eric
S.,
and Carl Simon. Genre Evolution
Proj
ect. 2 Oct. 2003. 30 Jan. 2004
<http://www.umich.edu/
~genreevo/>.
"System."
Def. 1. The
Oxford English Dictionary.
2nd ed.
1989.
von
Ruff, Al,
ed. Internet
Speculative
Fiction DataBase.
11 Jan. 2004.
Cushing
Lib. Science Fiction and
Fantasy
Research Collection and Inst, for Scientific
Computation,
Texas A&M U. 30 Jan. 2004
<http://isfdb.tamu.edu/>.
This content downloaded from 182.185.206.108 on Sat, 29 Mar 2014 09:46:50 AM
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i
19 3
J
Eric S. Rabkin
473
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Fie
13
Launch of the first
rocket from
Cape
Canaveral, July
1950
(NASA).
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