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    two postscripts

    1. A little more poking around revealed that the sentence I posted here yesterday ("I spent a demimonth working as an oretracer in the monopole mines through the outer asteroid belt of Delta Cygni") is a Larry Niven sentence, and it's one that's discussed by Samuel Delany in one of the Starboard Wine essays. Whereas our friend from rec.arts.sf.written extracts sociological, technological, economic, and physical information from this sentence, Delany writes that the sentence foremostly serves as "a simple way of saying that, while the concept of mines may persist, their objects, their organization, their technology, their locations, and their very form can change." Similar, but different enough that I thought it was worth posting.

    2. This nice overview of some of Delany's points about "reading protocols" in science-fiction is worth a read, but I was struck by this passage: "Most SF movies, because, as John Baxter suggests, they come out of another tradition than SF, or they derive their inspiration from earlier generations of literature or film (with the possible exception of Wells's Things to Come and Clarke and Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey) may best be viewed with other than SF protocols: Star Wars as fairy tale or E.T. as Lassie, Come Home."

    I haven't read the book where John Baxter suggests this (I'm presuming it's the 1970 volume Science Fiction in the Cinema) but it strikes me, at least initially, as questionable... although it struck a certain note with me yesterday since I had just started screening Blade Runner in conjunction with a unit on film noir, and I in fact came upon Baxter's claim not long after I had asked my students to address the question of whether Blade Runner owes more to the noir or more to the tradition of science-fiction. So now I feel less sure. Anyone want to nominate something as the most "science-fictiony" science-fiction film?

    Critique of Baxter here, as part of a review of Vivian Sobchack's The Limits of Infinity: The American Science Fiction Film (from 1982).


    Tuesday, September 19, 2006
    12:28 PM


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