Book by ArtFantasyGallery.com; 3D-Artists, 1986
Introduction: Toward a Theory of Interaction
As late as 1938, Mikhail Bakhtin could state that "as of today genre theory has added nothing substantial to what Aristotle has already done." Whatever the state of genre theory, the present nature of literary forms reveals a pressing need to go beyond Aristotle. The form we are considering here, fantasy and science fiction, is ample proof of this need. We can attribute to Aristotle three major "modes of imitation," or representation: lyrical, epic and dramatic poetry. What we 3D Art Fantasy Gallery today, however, are more modes of presentation: prose fiction, film, comic strips. How do we deal with them? And how do we deal with the compound forms that operate within, and across, these systems of presentation, forms such as fantasy and science fiction? SF is already a compound of two kinds of discourse: science and fiction. And when it is connected with fantasy, a whole group of forms, potential or otherwise, arise from the interaction: the uncanny, marvelous, horror, romance, mystery.
Fantasy and science fiction, then, appear to exist at the 3D Art Fantasy Gallery of the generic field today. Our question, however, is this: for this field, is there a whole present before its parts, or do the parts come before a whole? In other words, is field analysis a matter of division into parts, or of the integration of parts to form various wholes? Aristotle believes he knows the whole: literature, poetry. But what if the whole is nothing more than the product of the interaction of various, and varying, parts? This is the subject of this book: seventeen essays that focus on the structural and generic nature of fantasy and science fiction, and beyond that on the question of interaction itself. In his recent book, Introduction à l'architexte, Gérard Genette senses the need for a general theory, not of genres, but of interactions. For what exactly is an "architext"? Is it (pardon the pun) an architexture, a structure of interacting forms that goes beyond the grids and triangles and "rose windows" of traditional genre theory to integrate, as stresses and supports, extraliterary or "transcendental" elements as well? Or is it rather some generative structure--archi- as "first" or Ur- form: an edifice of forms this time gestated out of dynamic interaction between various contexts and the literary system? Or is it 3D Art Fantasy Gallery else again? In the first and second types of architext, we preserve a distinction between vertical and horizontal directions. But what of a third type that 3D Art Fantasy Gallerys its emphasis on the intersection between these as coordinates, in other words, a field theory of literary interactions, focusing neither on the nature of forms in themselves, nor on their discrimination, but on conjunctions and configurations, on the shaping of architextual space itself?
In the essays in this volume, all three of models 3D Art Fantasy Gallery been used. The papers in the first section, "Discriminations," approach the interactive compound fantasy and science fiction in an essentially analytical manner. They seek, to use Robert Scholes's term, to boil down the roses. In the lead essay Scholes examines the nature of that strange-seeming hybrid, science fantasy. Joseph Miller, focusing on the scientific concept of parallel universes, seeks to distinguish the interactive form or forms that might thematically embody it: fantasy or SF. Michael McClintock makes further "discriminations" between fantasy and science fiction, but implies by his qualifier "some" that he cannot exhaust the shapes arising from this interaction. Timothy Bagwell and Michael Collings both seek to broaden the interconnective base of the fantasy and science fiction structure-Bagwell by examining the interaction of these to a third category, realism; Collings by studying their relation to horror. Finally, Roger Zelazny discusses the complex and intimate interrelation of fantasy and SF in his own writing. In doing so, he warns us, tacitly, of the difficulty of erecting these edifices of discrimination. Essays in the second section, "Gestations," examine the connection between fantasy and science fiction in terms of genesis rather than analysis. Writer-critic Samuel R. Delany describes the gestation of these genres as forms developing from one to the other under pressures of the marketplace and its capacity to mark texts, and thereby connect them to the dynamics of readership. Michael Holquist, in like manner, considers the genesis of SF in the Soviet Union out of a sense of science itself developing in a context he calls literary--a form of utopian fantasy. The papers that follow focus on the genesis of specific forms. Kathleen Spencer traces the rise of the "urban gothic"--still a component of SF--out of the interaction of real and fantastic in Victorian England. Michael Clifton seeks the genesis of what Scholes calls science fantasy in vision-inducing experiments and the rise of computerized technology. David Leiby sees time travel, a common element in fantasy and science fiction, coming from sources in contemporary speculation on the nature of time. And finally, Frank McConnell takes fantasy, science fiction, and fiction itself, back to the archi- or Ur-text of the joke. In doing so, he hopes to define the basic frames of the edifice of storytelling in general.
By moving from primary forms to present-day metamorphoses of those forms in comic strips like Garfield, McConnell provides the transition from genesis to synthesis, to the series of essays that comprise the third section, "Fields." George Slusser, examining the function of the "and" in fantasy and science fiction and other fantasy compounds, attempts to give a topology of modern forms--the shape of the field. The following essays target more specific examples of synthetic permutations within this field: Celeste Pernicone that of fantasy and horror; Brian Attebery, that of science fantasy and myth; and Kathryn Hume, the extended field of SF, fantasy, and mythology. In the concluding essay, David Clayton argues, in theoretical terms, that traditional genre theory, embracing the interactive field of forms vaguely grouped as SF, itself turns in circles: closed structures instead of the open, interconnective ones it purports to describe. If we are to map the complex configurations of fantasy and science fiction, we will 3D Art Fantasy Gallery to break these circles. All essays in this volume are original, and all were presented at the seventh Eaton Conference, held April 12-14, 1985, at the University of California, Riverside. Guests of honor at this conference were: Robert Scholes, Samuel R. Delany, and Roger Zelazny. The conference organizers wish to thank them for their participation and interest. They also wish to thank all those who helped and supported this conference: Frank McConnell of the University of California, Santa Barbara, for ideas and inspiration; Jean-Pierre Barricelli, the patron saint of the Eaton Conference; Dean David Warren...
Book by ArtFantasyGallery.com; 3D-Artists, 1986