In this Book

summary
The fifteen essays collected in Hard Reading argue, first, that science fiction has its own internal rhetoric, relying on devices such as neologism, dialogism, semantic shifts, the use of unreliable narrators. It is a “high-information” genre which does not follow the Flaubertian ideal of le mot juste, “the right word”, preferring le mot imprévisible, “the unpredictable word”. Both ideals shun the facilior lectio, the “easy reading”, but for different reasons and with different effects. The essays argue further that science fiction derives much of its energy from engagement with vital intellectual issues in the “soft sciences”, especially history, anthropology, the study of different cultures, with a strong bearing on politics. Both the rhetoric and the issues deserve to be taken much more seriously than they have been in academia, and in the wider world. Each essay is further prefaced by an autobiographical introduction. These explain how the essays came to be written and in what ways they (often) proved controversial. They, and the autobiographical introduction to the whole book, create between them a memoir of what it was like to be a committed fan, from teenage years, and also an academic struggling to find a place, at a time when a declared interest in science fiction and fantasy was the kiss of death for a career in the humanities.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Series page, Half-title, Title, Copyright, Dedication
  2. pp. i-vi
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. List of Figures
  2. p. ix
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  1. Note on References
  2. p. x
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  1. A Personal Preface
  2. pp. xi-xvi
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  1. What SF Is
  1. 1 Introduction
  2. pp. 1-23
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  1. 2 Rejecting Gesture Politics
  2. pp. 24-46
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  1. 3 Getting Away from the Facilior Lectio
  2. pp. 47-66
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  1. SF and Change
  1. 4 Getting Serious with the Fans
  2. pp. 67-84
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  1. 5 Getting to Grips with the Issue of Cultures
  2. pp. 85-102
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  1. 6 … And Not Fudging the Issue!
  2. pp. 103-120
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  1. 7 SF Authors Really Mean what they Say
  2. pp. 121-140
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  1. 8 A Revealing Failure by the Critics
  2. pp. 141-159
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  1. 9 A Glimpse of Structuralist Possibility
  2. pp. 160-181
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  1. 10 Serious Issues, Serious Traumas, Emotional Depth
  2. pp. 182-206
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  1. SF and Politics
  1. 11 A First Encounter with Politics
  2. pp. 207-228
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  1. 12 Language Corruption, and Rocking the Boat
  2. pp. 229-254
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  1. 13 Just Before the Disaster
  2. pp. 255-273
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  1. 14 Why Politicians, and Producers, Should Read Science Fiction
  2. pp. 274-292
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  1. 15 Saying (When Necessary) the Lamentable Word
  2. pp. 293-310
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  1. References
  2. pp. 311-320
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 321-334
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781781384398
Related ISBN
9781781382615
MARC Record
OCLC
1138064726
Pages
256
Launched on MUSE
2020-02-01
Language
English
Open Access
Yes
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