Extrapolation

Fear of a Stupid Planet

Sexuality, SF, and Kornbluth's "The Marching Morons"

Extrapolation (2014), 55, (1), 51–74.

Abstract

This essay traces the interpretive history of C. M. Kornbluth's 1951 story "The Marching Morons" by focusing on the question of readerly sympathy for either the story's elite or its idiotic masses. I connect the question of interpretation of the story's relationship to fan culture by comparing it to Norman Spinrad's The Iron Dream (1972) and A. E. Van Vogt's Slan (1940). I then use recent queer theory to develop a reading of the story that is sympathetic to the elite by constructing them as a sexual minority; in doing so, I compare "The Marching Morons" to Kornbluth's non-sf pulp novel Half (1953), which describes an intersex character's life and eventual change in gender identification from male to female.

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Campbell, James