Learning from Other Worlds

BookLearning from Other Worlds

Learning from Other Worlds

Estrangement, Cognition, and the Politics of Science Fiction and Utopia

Liverpool Science Fiction Texts and Studies, 17


December 1st, 2000

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A collection of new essays on science fiction and utopian literature honouring the work of Darko Suvin, the scholar and literary theorist who co-founded the journal Science-Fiction Studies in 1973. The title of this volume attempts to convey the essence of ‘cognitive estrangement’ in relation to SF and utopia: that by imagining strange worlds we learn to see our own world in a new perspective. The contributors have all been influenced by Darko Suvin’s belief that the double movement of estrangement and cognition reflects deep structures of human storytelling. Learning from otherness is as natural and inevitable a process as the instinct for imitation and representation that Aristotle described in his Poetics. Though written from varying perspectives, the essays in Learning from Other Worlds pay tribute to the intellectual and personal inspiration of Darko Suvin to whom the essays are dedicated.

Author Information

Patrick Parrinder is Professor in the School of English and American Literature at the University of Reading. He has been a contributor to the London Review of Books.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Title Page3
Introduction: Learning from Other Worlds9
Part One: Science Fiction and Utopia: Theory and Politics25
Before the Novum: The Prehistory of Science Fiction Criticism27
Revisiting Suvin’s Poetics of Science Fiction44
‘Look into the dark’: On Dystopia and the Novum59
Science Fiction and Utopia: A Historico-Philosophical Overview80
Society After the Revolution: The Blueprints for the Forthcoming Socialist Society published by the Leaders of the Second International106
Part Two: Science fiction in its Social, Cultural and Philosophical Contexts124
From the Images of Science to Science Fiction126
Estranged Invaders: The War of the Worlds134
‘A part of the … family [?]’: John Wyndham’s The Midwich Cuckoos as Estranged Autobiography153
Labyrinth, Double and Mask in the Science Fiction of Stanislaw Lem185
‘We’re at the start of a new ball game and that’s why we’re all real nervous’: Or, Cloning-Technological Cognition Reflects Estrangement from Women200
‘If I find one good city I will spare the man’: Realism and Utopia in Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy215
Afterword: With Sober, Estranged Eyes240
Darko Suvin: Checklist of Printed Items that Concern Science Fiction (with Utopian Fiction or Utopianism, and a few Bordering Items)279