Heterotopias are disturbing, probably because they make it impossible to name this and that, because they shatter or tangle common names, because they destroy "syntax" in advance, and not only the syntax with which we construct sentences but also that less apparent syntax which causes words and things (next to and also opposite one another) to "hold together." This is why utopias permit fables and discourse: they run with the very grain of language and are part of the fundamental fabula; heterotopias. . .desiccate speech, stop words in their tracks, contest the very possibility of grammar at its source; they dissolve our myths and sterilize the lyricism of our sentences.It's hard to believe that this book (originally published as simply Triton; I think the new title is much better) is 33 years old, that Samuel R. Delany got this book published by a major house in 1976. But he did, and though some small details have aged (televisions as standard furnishings in the Outer Satelittes, for instance), the story as a whole is maybe even more relevant, if no less controversial, than it probably was then, because the vision it presents is no less radical for its being, perhaps, incrementally closer to reality.
--Michel Foucault, The Order of Things
( Landscape, episteme, science fiction )