CFP: [20th] Cognitive Estrangement: How Languag is Science Fiction's Most Powerful Technology

full name / name of organization: 
Jennifer Kelso Farrell
contact email: 
farrell@msoe.edu

This panel seeks papers that explore the relationship between the science
fiction reader and the science fiction text. Science fiction scholar Darko
Suvin determined that science fiction is a mode of literature that at once
sets the reader in an alien environment while simultaneously making that
environment seem scientifically plausible. The reader's seemingly
contradictory situation is not remedied merely through detailed
descriptions of scientific terms, but is accomplished through the very use
of language, what Samuel Delany calls the subjunctive. In "About Five
Thousand One Hundred and Seventy-Five Words" Delany defines the subjunctive
as ". . .the tension on the thread of meaning that runs between word and
object." Both Suvin and discuss the experience
of the reader as an oscillation between the reader's known world and the
science fiction reality which displaces the reader's reality by means of
narrative mechanisms. In this sense language is the genre's most powerful
technology as language not only serves to explore unfamiliar worlds and
concepts, but also creates that unfamiliarity.
    
Possible paper topics can include, but are not limited to, the use of l33t
speak and other languages that cross over from the virtual world to the
real world or from novels into the real world (or some combination of that
type of linguistic transference); a look at religious or messianic language
applied to technology and the resulting implications; language as a means
of isolation or control of an individual or group; novels or authors who
remove personal pronouns and/or gender specific pronouns from the text and
how that removal affects the reader; or how other forms of linguistic
cognitive estrangement work on both text and reader.

Please submit a 250 word abstract with a brief bio to Jennifer Kelso
Farrell jkelsofarrell_at_gmail.com. Deadline November 15, 2008.

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Received on Sat Oct 25 2008 - 12:29:00 EDT

cfp categories: 
twentieth_century_and_beyond