Learning from Other Worlds: Estrangement, Cognition, and the Politics of Science Fiction and Utopia

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Liverpool University Press, 2000 - Dystopias in literature - 312 pages
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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.
 

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Contents

Learning from Other Worlds
1
Science Fiction and Utopia Theory and Politics
17
The Prehistory of Science Fiction Criticism
19
Revisiting Suvins Poetics of Science Fiction
36
On Dystopia and the Novum
51
A HistoricoPhilosophical Overview
72
The Blueprints for the Forthcoming Socialist Society published by the Leaders of the Second International
98
Science fiction in its Social Cultural and Philosophical Contexts
116
John Wyndhams The Midwich Cuckoos as Estranged Autobiography
146
Labyrinth Double and Mask in the Science Fiction of Stanislaw Lem
178
Or CloningTechnological Cognition Reflects Estrangement from Women
193
Realism and Utopia in Kim Stanley Robinsons Mars Trilogy
208
With Sober Estranged Eyes
233
Checklist of Printed Items that Concern Science Fiction
272
Bibliography
291
Index
307

From the Images of Science to Science Fiction
118
The War of the Worlds
127

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About the author (2000)

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.

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