starlady: (moon dream)
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.
                 --Michel Foucault, The Order of Things
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.

Landscape, episteme, science fiction )
starlady: (do i dare disturb)
 The following is a very partial set of notes from the "Race and Star Trek" panel that I saw at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia last night, moderated by Betty Laurence. I didn't take notes on every topic that was covered; things that are attributed to the speakers are a mixture of quotation and paraphrase, mostly quotation. I've tried to contextualize things with brackets--feel free to ask for clarifications and I'll do my best to answer.

You are the dreamer, and the dream. )
starlady: Replace fear of the unknown with curiosity. (kill some cats)
Tonight I went to the Free Library of Philadelphia to hear Samuel R. Delany talk. I write "talk," but actually we were shown part of the 2007 documentary about him entitled "The Polymath, or The Life and Opinions of Samuel R. Delany, Gentleman," and then he read from his newest novel Dark Reflections, did a Q&A, and closed with a pair of readings from his autobiography The Motion of Light in Water. He noted in passing that his career divides into two halves--the first science fiction, the second more literary/non-fiction--and that people who are familiar with one half tend not to be familiar with the other. I have to admit, I've not read any of his non-science fiction/fantasy (the Nèverÿon sequence is probably my favorite of his works), but the readings from The Motion of Light in Water certainly make me want to switch to the other side, as well as finally pick up the last bits of his science fiction I haven't read--principally Trouble on Triton and Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand. They were selling Dhalgren and Dark Reflections afterward, but I had him sign my copy of Neveryóna instead, since I own Dhalgren and didn't have enough cash for the other book. It was too short a program, really, to get very far in to any of the fascinating aspects of Delany's work, but one of the scenes from the documentary was actually an interview with Jonathan Lethem, who said that Delany "never saw the boundaries" between comic books and literature, between science fiction and literary fiction--and Delany himself later remarked that "the result is that I often trip and fall flat on my face and get a black eye and a bloody nose, which often goes along with not seeing boundaries." I suspect we could all do with a few more bloody noses and black eyes.

P.S. Apparently in the 70s he wrote two issues of Wonder Woman comics in which Wonder Woman gives up her superpowers and becomes a feminist secret agent.



starlady: Raven on a MacBook (Default)

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