Gothic Science Fiction Analysis

1335 Words6 Pages
The gothic has a close affinity to the literature of the fantastic which is about the not-yet or what is to be achieved in the future. It is defined as a ‘fantastic escapist genre’ as it enables female writers “escape from powerlessness, from meaninglessness, from lack of identity except through the performance of unstable and unsatisfying roles, and from the covert perception of the hollowness of the promises of social mythology about women’s lives,” to use the words of Kay J. Mussell (qtd. in Vokey 5). Yet, the gothic’s engagement with the fantastic raises the question about its potential to criticize the ideological practices of the dominant discourse. Glennis Byron and David Punter define the gothic genre as “an escapist form, in which…show more content…
This woman writer was the progenitor of a new literary form which is “gothic science-fiction.” This means that science-fiction is in symbiosis with the gothic as it incorporates its major tropes. In her novel, she takes the gothic trope of fear in order to express the distress concerning technological innovation and scientific progress/experimentation. Gothic science fiction, therefore, is “a product of cultural anxieties about the nature of human identity, the stability of cultural formations, and processes of change” (280). Frankenstein adopts gothic tropes while infiltrating science in the body of the narrative. Shelley’s text is perceived as an indictment of science which contributes to the creation of human beings/the birth myth. Accordingly Chris Baldick…show more content…
Indeed, the close affinity between both genres is due to their resort to the use of the fantastic in order to defy the oppressive reality of women’s life and to violate this ‘truth.’ According to Sherman, “science fiction, like the gothic, displays an ability to displace cultural and national anxieties of the respective time, functioning as a space wherein these anxieties can be freely, if nebulously, expressed” (4). Coincide with the rise of the second wave feminism in the United States of American, the New wave science fiction women writers revise and rewrite their female precursors; “Ursula K. Le Guin’s ground-breaking study of gender’s grip on human culture in The Left Hand of Darkness (1969) and Joanna Russ’s formally experimental deconstruction of female subjectivity in The Female Man (1975)” are considered as reactionary and revolutionary works which strive to subvert “the conventions of male/female relations [… while] focus[ing] on a radical critique of these relations as based in the inequities of what Adrienne Rich first identified as ‘compulsory heterosexuality’” (Hollinger 128). Indeed, I will study the literary evolution of the Female Gothic tradition while focusing on Russ’s struggle to offer a fresh reading to utopian fiction which is a subgenre of science-fiction, while focusing the changes and metamorphoses of
Open Document