Viral Affects and Economies of Desire in Hirotaka Tobi’s “Autogenic Dreaming”

Extrapolation (2019), 60, (1), 23–42.


This essay provides a close reading of Hirotaka Tobi’s short story “Autogenic Dreaming,” concentrating on its nuanced engagement with the trajectory of Japanese literary sensibilities in a present marked by the decline of modern narratives of history, identity, and nation. With attention to its innovative content and form, it considers the text’s use of the theoretically limitless domain of cyberspace as a site for elaborating the possibility for literature to act in accordance with more recently emergent technologies of representation by leveraging the symbolic field of language to generate unanticipated meanings and solicit transformative encounters. Ultimately, it argues that “Autogenic Dreaming” not only offers a speculative vision of a technologically mediated future, but also speaks to the futurity of Japanese literature itself, exemplifying what might be termed an “emergent fiction” that fulfills a growing demand for literature that enables us to experience novel constellations of subjectivity, interaction, and desire.

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Works Cited

Arens, Hiltrud. “Das kurze Leuchten unter dem Tor oder auf dem Weg zur geträumten Sprache: Poetological Reflections in Works by Yōko Tawada.” Yōko Tawada: Voices from Everywhere, edited by Doug Slaymaker, Lexington Books, 2007, pp. 59–76. Google Scholar

Azuma, Hiroki. Otaku: Japan’s Database Animals. Translated by Jonathan E. Abel and Shion Kono, U of Minnesota P, 2009. Google Scholar

Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Translated by Robert Hurley, Mark Seem, and Helen R. Lane, U of Minnesota P, 2000. Google Scholar

Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus. Translated by Brian Massumi, Bloomsbury Academic, 2004. Google Scholar

Grosz, Elizabeth. Volatile Bodies: Toward a Corporeal Feminism. Indiana UP, 1994. Google Scholar

Hase, Satoshi. “Senpyō.” Dai 38 kai Nihon SF taishō senkō keika senpyō, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of Japan, 20 June 2018, sfwj.jp/awards/Nihon-SF-Taisho-Award/38/20181616221355.html. Accessed 24 Mar. 2019. Google Scholar

Hayles, N. Katherine. “Traumas of Code.” Critical Inquiry, vol. 33, no. 1, 2006, pp. 136–157. Google Scholar

Hofstadter, Douglas R. Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid. Basic Books, 1979. Google Scholar

Jameson, Fredric. Postmodernism or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Duke UP, 2003. Google Scholar

Lamarre, Thomas. The Anime Machine: A Media Theory of Animation. U of Minnesota P, 2009. Google Scholar

Luckhurst, Roger. Science Fiction. Polity Press, 2005. Google Scholar

Lyotard, Jean-François. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Translated by Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi, U of Minnesota P, 1984. Google Scholar

Massumi, Brian. Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation. Duke UP, 2002. Google Scholar

Nakajima Atsushi. Nakajima Atsuji zenshū. Tokyo, Chikuma shobō, 1949. Google Scholar

Ōtsuka Eiji. Teihon monogatari shōhiron. Tokyo, Kadokawa, 2001. Google Scholar

Tobi Hirotaka. “Jisei no yume.” NOVA 1—Kaki-oroshi Nihon SF korekushon, edited by Ōmori Nozomi, Tokyo, Kawade shobō shinsha, 2009, pp. 347–417. Google Scholar

Tobi Hirotaka. “Autogenic Dreaming: Interview with the Columns of Clouds.” Translated by Jim Hubbert. The Future Is Japanese, edited by Nick Mamatas and Masumi Washington, San Francisco, Haikasoru, 2012, pp. 319–364. Google Scholar

Treat, John Whittier. The Rise and Fall of Modern Japanese Literature. The U of Chicago P, 2018. Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here


Author details

Dumas, Raechel