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Weiye Loh

Our Greatest Political Novelist? : The New Yorker - 0 views

  • Science fiction is an inherently political genre, in that any future or alternate history it imagines is a wish about How Things Should Be (even if it’s reflected darkly in a warning about how they might turn out). And How Things Should Be is the central question and struggle of politics. It is also, I’d argue, an inherently liberal genre (its many conservative practitioners notwithstanding), in that it sees the status quo as contingent, a historical accident, whereas conservatism holds it to be inevitable, natural, and therefore just. The meta-premise of all science fiction is that nothing can be taken for granted. That it’s still anybody’s ballgame.
  • Robinson argues that, now that climate change has become a matter of life and death for the species, it’s time for scientists to abandon their scrupulous neutrality and enter into the messy arena of politics. Essentially, Robinson attempts to apply scientific thinking to politics, approaching it less like pure physics, in which one infallible equation / ideology explains and answers everything, than like engineering—a process of what F.D.R. once called “bold, persistent experimentation,” finding out what works and combining successful elements to synthesize something new.
    "When we call literary writers "political" today, we're usually talking about identity politics. If historians or critics fifty years from now were to read most of our contemporary literary fiction, they might well infer that our main societal problems were issues with our parents, bad relationships, and death. If they were looking for any indication that we were even dimly aware of the burgeoning global conflict between democracy and capitalism, or of the abyssal catastrophe our civilization was just beginning to spill over the brink of, they might need to turn to books that have that embarrassing little Saturn-and-spaceship sticker on the spine. That is, to science fiction.2"
Weiye Loh

Paris Review - Falling Men: On Don DeLillo and Terror, Chris Cumming - 0 views

  • inexplicable violence committed by a nobody in the context of ubiquitous media coverage. A mountain of evidence, testimony, and theory that hides the event itself. Images of the event endlessly replayed. An imbalance between the significance of the act and the insignificance of the person who committed it. Absurdity, in other words.
  • By introducing conspiracy and chaos into the world, a terrorist hopes to make himself equal to the overwhelming world surrounding him. The idea isn’t to change history but to enact one’s dream life. The person who blows up the Boston marathon instantly becomes the equal of his act. What other mythic ambition can a loser instantly achieve, just by deciding to do it? “In America it is the individual himself, floating on random streams of disaffection, who tends to set the terms of the absurd,” DeLillo wrote. “Set the terms” is right: an individual terrorist creates the absurdity in which the rest of us have to live. Whether or not Oswald or the Tsarnaevs achieved what they hoped they would achieve, their dream lives now overlap with reality. Violence gives weight to the meaningless. “This is what guns are for, to bring balance to the world,” DeLillo wrote, speaking, once again, of Oswald.
    "Long before it became obvious, DeLillo argued that terrorists and gunmen have rearranged our sense of reality. He has become better appreciated as the world has come to resemble his work, incrementally, with every new telegenic catastrophe, every bombing and mass shooting. Throughout DeLillo's work we encounter young men who plot violence to escape the plotlessness of their own lives. He has done more than any writer since Dostoevsky to explain them."
Weiye Loh

Balderdash: The Writing of Fiction - 0 views

    True originality consists not in a new manner but in a new vision. That new, that personal, vision is attained only by looking long enough at the object represented to make it the writer's own; and the mind which would bring this secret germ to fruition must be able to nourish it with an accumulated wealth of knowledge and experience. To know any one thing one must not only know something of a great many others, but also, as Matthew Arnold long since pointed out, a great deal more of one's immediate subject than any partial presentation of it visibly includes
Nyssa Silvester

"The Class That Wouldn't Die" | Mormon Artist - 3 views

    Article about the history of science fiction at BYU.
Gideon Burton

Augmented Reality: An Introduction to Digital Literature - 3 views

    A showcase of various types of electronic or digital literature. A good list of various boundary-breaking genres being experimented with.
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