By Elana Gomel
Are we dwelling in a post-temporal age? Has background come to an finish? This booklet argues opposed to the frequent notion of postmodern narrativity as atemporal and ahistorical, claiming that postmodernity is characterised by way of an explosion of heterogeneous narrative "timeshapes" or chronotopes.
Chronological linearity is being challenged via quantum physics that means temporal simultaneity; by way of evolutionary idea that charts a number of time-lines; and via non secular and political millenarianism that espouses an apocalyptic finitude of either time and area. whereas technological know-how, faith, and politics have generated new narrative sorts of apprehending temporality, literary incarnations are available within the worlds of technological know-how fiction.
By enticing vintage science-fictional conventions, resembling time commute, replacement heritage, and the top of the realm, and through situating those conventions of their cultural context, this booklet deals a brand new and clean viewpoint at the narratology and cultural value of time.
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Extra resources for Postmodern science fiction and temporal imagination
Chapter 2, ‘Strangled by the Time Loop: Paradoxes of Determinism’, deals with the paradoxes of time travel as a narrative expression of the aporia of determinism. It offers a narratological and ideological analysis of time travel in the SF texts by Robert Heinlein, Philip K. Dick, Brian Aldiss, Richard Matheson, Octavia Butler, J. R. Dunn and Martin Amis. It expands by engaging determinism in physics, theology and history and ends with a discussion of time-reversal as a strategy of questioning the political implications of deterministic ideologies.
L. Monod pinpoints this instinctive revulsion from the accidental, the contingent and the random as the core reason for opposing Darwinism: ‘The aspect of evolutionary theory that is unacceptable to many enlightened people, either scientists or philosophers, or ideologists of one kind or another, is the completely contingent aspect which the existence of man, societies, and so on, must take if we accept this theory’ (1996, 394–5). This ‘completely contingent aspect’ is eliminated if evolution is divorced from natural selection.
But just as the evolutionary problematic in The Time Machine is embedded within the deterministic chronotope of time travel, evolutionary theory in the 1890s was being challenged by alternative theories which tried to impose a deterministic framework upon the contingency and flux of Darwinism. 34 Postmodern SF and Temporal Imagination In the 1933 Introduction to his collected scientific romances Wells recalls ‘the placid assumption of that time [fin-de-siècle] that Evolution was a pro-human force making things better and better for mankind’ and says that The Time Machine was written as an expression of his own alternative ‘vision of the aimless torture in creation’ (1933, 242–3).
Postmodern science fiction and temporal imagination by Elana Gomel