Impossibility fiction is an 'intergenre' that has recently been the resort of many writers searching for new ways of understanding and expressing the real world of the imagination, making use of fantasy, alternative history and science fiction. Coping with ideas that are both impossible and realistically constructed is the ultimate contemporary challenge of our technology. The chapters of this book move towards establishing appropriate readings that allow contemporary readers to negotiate unreality, a skill that the end of the millennium is making inevitably necessary. Such strategies have long been the preserve of literary and cultural study, and here a number of well-regarded scholars and some new to the field make their contribution to an area that has become increasingly important in recent years. From Mary Shelley to Philip K. Dick, Iain M. Banks to J.G. Ballard, taking in African-American science fiction,
Jurassic Park, and Kurt Vonnegut, and exploring issues of alternative history and ideology, feminism, the holocaust, characterisation, and impossible geography, this collection is an important source-book for all those interested in the literature, culture and philosophy of realistic impossible worlds.
Peter STOCKWELL: Introduction. I. ALTERNATIVITY. David SEED: Mankind Vs. Machines: The Technological Dystopia in Kurt Vonnegut's
Player Piano. Andrew BLAKE: T.H. White, Arnold Bax, and the Alternative History of Britain. Lucie ARMITT: Re-theorising Textual Space: Feminist Science Fiction (And Some Critical Limitations). Andrew BUTLER: Science Fiction as Postmodernism: The Case of Philip K. Dick. II. EXTRAPOLATION. Carolyn BROWN: Utopias and Heterotopias: The 'Culture' of Iain M. Banks. Antony ROWLAND: Silence and Awkwardness in Representations of the Jewish Holocaust, The Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and a Projected Nuclear Holocaust. Ben LAWSON: George S. Schuyler and the Fate of Early African-American Science Fiction. Victoria MAULE: On the Subversion of Character in the Literature of Identity Anxiety. III. SPECULATION. Mark JONES: J.G. Ballard: Neurographer. James KNEALE: Lost in Space? Exploring Impossible Geographies. Michael BRADSHAW: Mary Shelley's
The Last Man (The End of the World as We Know It). Dave HINTON:
Jurassic Park and the Generic Paradox in Science Fiction Film. Derek LITTLEWOOD: Uneasy Readings/Umspeakable Dialogics. Index.