Archive for the ‘prose fiction’ Category

Big Dumb Objects

24 January 2010

My latest plan was to try and work on a chapter at a time, and thereby tick them off and feel I was closer and closer to finishing. That went the way of all sensible plans – although I am nearly finished on the one I was working on, aside from the typing – so instead I’m working on word counts of the whole thing. I also wanted to ensure I’d read all the Hugo and Nebula novel winners, and that led me to the Big Dumb Object.

That’s a term coined by Roz Kaveney, possibly in her article on 1970s sf in Foundation (which I have obviously read years ago, and before I wrote the book outline, but I was avoiding a reread to try and keep my own ideas) distinct, and it refers to the vast structures that humans stumble upon, and try to investigate. It invokes the old sensawunda and the sense of the sublime, because it is so damn big and mysterious, and hardly speaks to the investigating parties.

There are three clear examples in the 1970s, and then various difficult cases, some of which I’ll gloss over. Larry Niven’s Ringworld is a cylindrical world, which our heroes crash into or onto. They appear to be straded there at first, and then travel across a small portion of the landscape. Every so often there are glimpses of something more – usually an attempt to explain the absurdities of how the environment is actually liveable – but scientific rationalism wins out, even as luck is explained away as genetic rather than narrative convenience.

Arthur C. Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama was his first novel after 2001, and again the ground need to be reclaimed for rationalism. The characters are eminently sensible, as they explore a vast cylindrical spaceship, and attempt to penetrate its mysteries. Again their are oddnesses – the characters’ sense of deja vu – but as Clute said in his review, it’s all about the c and the w and the gt.

The third example is Bob Shaw’s Orbitsville, an honest-to-goodness Dyson sphere, and the answer to Earth’s problem of where to ease the over crowding problems; yet at the same time the novel is aware of the politics of power, and especially of empire and colonialism. Somebody is already there in paradise.

So why these three in half a dozen years? On the one hand it feels like its some kind of response to the fag end of the New Wave revolutions – this science is hard, dammit, it’s not just surrealism. The ghost of 2001 is in the background – the monoliths are as big and dumb as can be imagined. It marks a sense of making the impossible verisimilitudinous – but now is avoiding the cod enlightenment of the stargate journey.

Curiously the most interesting examples – aside from Orbitsville – end up deconstructing the big and the dumb and the object. Priest’s Inverted World begins with a peculiar city travelling across an increasingly surreal landscape and ends up in distinctly psychological, and apparently scientific, terms. Priest had slated Rama and Ringworld in various articles, and it is certainly tempting to read Inverted World as a response to such novels. Meanwhile Terry Pratchett’s Dark Side of the Sun parodies the ‘pataphysics as much as the physics, in a novel which is a dry run for Strata, itself dry run for something rather better known. A big flat planet. Sf, eh. You gotta laugh.


Robert A Heinlein, I Will Fear No Evil (1970)

15 June 2009

Note: I didn’t mean to fall off the map – but I’ve done a conference, a keynote at a conference, an MA validation in Liverpool and a local validation, plus exam and essay marking. I’ve been reading and watching, but not as much as I’d have liked.

This is perhaps the first of Heinlein’s late novels, focusing in more and more on a pattern of patter and sex among a small cast across a page count of 400+ – this had been seen in Stranger in a Strange Land but now became the norm.

The billionaire and dirty old man Johann Sebastian Smith is aging and decides to try a brain transplant as soon as he can find a suitable body. He does – in the coincidental shape of his secretary Eunice Branca. Some of her soul or personality survives, as Johann has conversations with her as she teaches him to become a woman. At first his time is taken up with court cases proving he is Smith – although he keeps insisting he could start again – and then increasingly with sex: with his nurse, his doctor, his lawyer, his bodyguards, Eunice’s widower and his new wife. This runs a sexual spectrum, being by terms heterosexual, lesbian and gay – and everyone seems compatible and hardly weirded out at all. A fifty year age gap is no difference at all.

Written in the context of the explosion of women’s liberation – how well does Heinlein write women? It’s interesting that femininity is a performance – a masquerade to use Joan Riviere’s term from the thirties. Smith becomes a woman by putting on clothes and make up, she gets her way by letting others think they lead and plays endless games. Whilst Smith always stays in control – more or less – it always comes back to keeping men happy (even if that’s her being happy). Heinlein hardly plays fair, giving Smith the trump card more often than not. Far from giving women agency, the novel ends up with a sense of women having pleasure in men (apparently) having power.

The taboo-breaking incest of later novels is not here – although Smith gets Branca’s body impregnated with his own sperm, in a variation on “;All You Zombies'”. I don’t think this has aged well.

Barry N. Malzberg, Beyond Apollo (1972)

6 April 2009

One thing that is constantly striking me is how neglected many of the writers are that I’m looking at. I confess I’m a little behind on writing up my reading, and it may well stay that way – and in a sense writers such as Ballard and Delany don’t need the attention. Malzberg, on the other hand, what at his most active through the 1970s in sf terms, and there seems to be little written on him. Previously I’d only read The Sodom and Gomorrah Business – I shall reread this – and now I have three more of these short novels to go through.

First up, for little more reason than being the first out of a rucksack of secondhand books, is Beyond Apollo.

In essence it is the story of a 1981 two-man mission to Venus, during which the captain was killed and the other man – Harry Evans – has lost his mind. The story is narrated by Evans, as he writes a novel about his experiences, the viewpoint shifting at the end to that of his publishing. Even that is misleading – Evans talks about himself in both the first and third person, and nothing he says can be taken as stable. We don’t even know whether his captain was Jack Josephson or Joseph Jackson. It might be that Evans killed him – but it is not at all clear. Even the descriptions of the post-mission debriefings are inconsistent.

Bob Shaw reviewed the book in Foundation 7/8 and sees it as an example of all that’s wrong with the New Wave, in particular the assertion that travelling through space drives you mad. Something else to look out for.

Joanna Russ, And Chaos Died (1970)

18 January 2009

Russ’s second novel, after Picnic on Paradise (1968), and read now as part of my research into homosexuality in 1970s sf. In Jai Vedh we have a character who declares himself a homosexual – a rare usage of the word, and let down by the fact that his sexual partners through the novel are women. Maybe there is no essentialism in sexuality here. It’s possible to ponder about his relationship with Ivat on his return to Earth, but it doesn’t feel quite right.

Existentially flustered Jai is travelling through space when the ship he is in crashes on a planet of telepaths. The aliens teach him to teleport and to influence matter, a skill he takes back to Earth when they are rescued. He plays with the boy Ivat, jumping around Earth, and is reunited with his mentor/lover Evne.

The aliens attack Earth – but only after they have been attacked by humans – and it transpires that they themselves are colonising humans, educated by now-extinct aliens.

Of course, this must have been written in the 1960s, and is odd in the Russ canon for having a male protagonist. Of course, as she went on to write The Female Man next, this is something “fixed” by that book.

Sally Miller Gearheart, The Wanderground: Stories of the Hill Women (1979)

18 January 2009

I have a sense that I read a review of this with more or less the single word “unreadable” about twenty years ago.  I tried to read the volume without this in mind, but found that difficult, as there was little ongoing plot to hold onto and it is of a flavour of feminism I’m not exactly sympathetic to. I need to go away and read Susan Brownmiller’s Against Our Will to get a better grasp of the feminism of the period which I suspect lies under the book.

There’s been some kind of disaster and/or revolution, and the women all live in the hills outside of the city, in harmony with nature and in telepathic communication with each other and animals. Men are confined to cities, and their machinery will only work there. A few select women enter the city to try and re-education men, but mostly life is happy (for the women) in a separatist utopia. To the extent that there is a narrative uniting the chapters/vignettes, it the sense that this can’t go on forever, and the men are not to be trusted not to spoil things. 

The temptation here is to fall back into the essentialism that other feminists undercut – women are allied with nature and men with machines, women with the ciuntry and men with the city. I can see how – after several centuries of patriarchy – women may wish to take their lives elsewhere, but it feels in the realm of the lousy solution. Readable, but uncomfortable.

Samuel R. Delany, Tales of Nevèrÿon (1979, 1988)

19 October 2008

The first volume of Delany’s Return to Nevèrÿon series, containing five stories and a preface and appendix situating this in relation to the supposed Kolhar manuscript, an incredibly early text translated into several languages. Here we play the literary game of situating your utopia in the past – the same way that Lord of the Rings can be hidden between ice ages. Nevèrÿon is is the line of no-places that include Erewhon (ahem, nohwere?), Nowhere and presumably Russ’s Whileaway.

What strikes me on rereading is how little happens until the second half of the volume – many of the stories are taken up with conversations and tales told by one character to another. And throughout there is the child’s garden of semiotics – I wish I’d reread “The Tale of Old Venn” before writing a piece on psychoanalysis and fantasy as it plays with penis envy and desiring the phallus; meanwhile we get a wonderful reversal of chapter two of Genesis, with the Fall the fault of ‘man, whose genitals are no left exposed and unprotected unlike woman’s.

I thought that initially only “The Tale of Gorgik” – a boy who becomes a slave but is rescued – would be relevant, but all the stories here are from 1976-1978, and so I can discuss them. It’s just as well because Gorgik’s sexuality is only glancingly dealt with in the first story – he sees someone wearing a collar, and is fascinated by it, later in the story he is the sexual toy of a woman (this sex toy thing is something Delany repeatedly returns to). In “The Tale of Small Sarg” there is the assumption that male slaves are fair game for female slave owners, and Gorgik assures him the same will hold true in their case. It is not until “The Tale of Dragons and Dreamers” that we see Gorgik and Sarg as slave liberators, and become more aware of a sexual linkage dependent on the voluntary wearing of the collar. This is consensual SM, but the seventies, still coy. Note also that we have been taught that “gorgi” is a child’s word for genitalia, which inevitably recolours our picture of Gorgik.

There is also the sense that the volume is a metafantasy – not just in the apparatus which in subsequent volumes mixes real and false authors, but in the focus on the shift in culture from preliterate to literate, from barter to token economies, and a knowing awareness of the power of words to enslave. It’s as if the unexamined assumptions of fantasy mechanics become the engine for the (limited) mechanics of the plot.

Further Reading

Danylyshen, Darren. “Where Theory Meets Science Fiction: The Conjoining of Traditional Fantasy with Theoretical Structures in Samuel R. Delany’s Neveryon Series, Or: The Tale of the Iron Ring.” Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts 12.2 (2001): 157-167.

Erisman, W.E. “Inverting the Ideal World, Carnival and the Carnivalesque in Contemporary Utopian Science-Fiction.” Extrapolation 36.4 (1995): 333-44.

Fitting, Peter. “So We All Became Mothers – New Roles For Men in Recent Utopian Fiction.” Science Fiction Studies 12.2 (1985): 156-183.

James, Ken. “Subverted Equations: G. Spencer Brown’s Laws of Form and Samuel R. Delany’s Analytics of Attention.” Ash of Stars: On the Writings of Samuel R. Delany. Ed. James Sallis. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1996. 189-214.

Kelso, Sylvia. “Across Never: Postmodern Theory and Narrative Praxis in Samuel Delany’s Nevèryon Cycle.” Science Fiction Studies 24.2 (1997): 289-301.

Spencer, Kathleen L. “Neveryon Deconstructed: Samuel R. Delany’s Tales of Neveryon and ‘The Modular Calculus’.” Ash of Stars: On the Writings of Samuel R. Delany. Ed. James Sallis. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1996. 127-161.

Elizabeth A. Lynn, A Different Light (1978)

31 July 2008

A first novel: terminally ill artist Jimson Alleca decides he will travel with his old lover Russell on a mission to acquire a mask from the planet Demea. The mission is risky enough, but Jimson will die without proper medication. But perhaps his art will help them survive.

Definitely a novel of two halves, as the consequences of the illness play out. Not a novel that made me want to go out and buy up everything I’ve missed by the author, but I’d pick it up if I saw it.

For once there is no coyness about the characters: they are gay and we see them having a love life – and Russell has played the field having abandoned Jimson a decade or more before. At the same time we have the old Gay Gothic where one or more of the lovers (usually the passive partner) has to die, be killed or commit suicide. The thread of telepathy that runs through the middle of the nopvels allows him to cheat death by becoming a none material, but Russell Can Never Know. No happily ever afters.

Note the novel gave its name to a LGBT bookshop.

Four Short Stories

29 July 2008

I am indebted to Dr Chris West for drawing my attention (in a paper – see Extrapolation) to an anthology, Strange Bedfellows edited by Thomas N. Scortia, which has a section labelled “Tojours Gay”. It contains a reprint and what appear to be two new stories.

The first is the classic “The World Well Lost” (Universe (June 1953)) by Theodore Sturgeon, in which a pair of aliens from Dirbanu land on Earth. Humanity is taken by the aliens’ evident love for each other, which is at odds with the stand-offish reputation of Dirbanu. But Earth is contacted by the planet – the “loverbirds” are wanted criminals and the legendary crew of Rootes (womaniser) and Grunty (taciturn secret reader) are assigned to return them in the hope of gaining trade advantages. On the journey Grunty discovers that the aliens are the same sex and are thus criminals; on realising they know he has a secret he helps them to escape. Rootes and Grunty claim that the aliens died in transit, but the Dirbanu, who cannot distinguish between male and female humans, do not care and perceive all humans as gay. The homophobic Rootes would have killed the queers, and is happy at the thought of them adrift in the lifeboat; whilst he sleeps in stasis, Grunty carresses the sleeping captain.

Here we are shown something of the arbitrariness of gender, even of sex, as the mechanics of alien sex may be very different from our own. The homophobia directed at the aliens is redirected back at humans – and hopefully the reader would resent this but at least realise how destructive the emotion is. And the final revelation about Grunty, the sympathetic focal character if not exactly the view point out – reveals readers have identified with a gay character, and in some cases may need to re-evaluate their own feelings.

Note the switching of genders with Grunty – apparently inarticulate (although a reader and quoter of poetry) and described as being “like a mother with an infant” (77) but with “huge hands” (77). Clearly he crosses both genders. When Rootes is looking for books with pictures, earlier in the voyage, he insists Grunty “must have something for kicks” (68) and is given a collection of pictures of statues by Michelangelo – an artist who was probably gay if we can apply a term like that to someone in the Renaissance. Pictures of statues of men, when thought of as “something for kicks”, might be enough to out him.

Following this story, which calculatingly does not use the words “homosexual” or “gay”, but does use “queer” and “fairy”, is Walt Leibscher’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Love?”, a title which glances at Philip K. Dick. An unnamed man has a conversation with a psychiatrist android and is frightened of being “converted” (79), and has “ostensibly committed an act that even in this enlightened age was considered, shall we say, way out.” (80) When the man tells the android the story, it finds it “exceedingly sexy” (80) and the teller “provocatively desirable” (81). As the android leaves, the man inquires to its gender, and the android retorts “That’s for you to figure out” (81).

We are not told what gender (sex) the android – whether it is equipped with male or female genitalia – nor what the crime is. we have to infer by the silence, and the placement without “Toujours Gay”. It presumably the love that dare not speak its name. The man’s reference to Dave and HAL (unconsciously) echoes a gay moment in sf: HAL’s crush on Dave (see Cassell’s Queer Companion 226). Chris West notes: “this android’s gender is not apparent and is not assumed either by the incarcerated citizen of the future or by the narrator: the android is not ‘he’ or ‘she’ but ‘it’. The text, note, conflates gender with genital configuration . . . and conceivably this android could be either anatomically male or anatomically female, possibly it could be both, potentially neither. Whichever, it is difficult for us to be certain.” (West 508) As West notes, the android is described as speaking “impishly” and “sashayed” out the door (81). There is something feminising about the choice of words – the android appears effeminate, suggesting “it” is female (feminine) or (effeminately) homosexual. If the android were female, would we expect it to find something sexy – well, no reason not to, but culture constantly codes the female as desired rather than desiring. Is a female android likely to follow from mention of an unspeakable crime? Of course, if the android is male and desiring, there are a number of sexual zones which might be needed, although the sashaying cuts against what is likely to be read as an active sexual (penetrating) partner.

The third story is William Carlson’s “Dinner at Helen’s”. Jordan, the narrator, undresses a customer, Helen Williams, in his mind, and invites her to lunch on Thursday. He is invited to her apartment the following Sunday, and, after a meal, tries to seduce her. She visits the bathroom, and returns as Allen, a naked man. Allen seems to be the male side of Helen, and he observes the changing times: “Have you looked at clothing and hair styles lately, at all these change-of-sex operations, at the new militancy of homosexuals and all the interest in them? I tell you, men are beginning to accept the woman in themselves, and women the man in them.” Allen/Helen indicates s/he knows Jordan, that they’ve seen each other before. There is a final strip tease:

I look, and I know.
I know where we are and who he is. I understand his knowledge of me and for one blinding second I understand what it is he wants for me.
But I’ll forget it.
I’ve forgotten it already. (91)

It’s a shocking ending, but what does it mean? At the final moment of nakedness is it a penis or a vagina – the “he” suggests penis, but the vagina may link to catsrtation anxieties. What does s/he want? Jordan remembers a moment like this from somewhere, and Allen treats him “Like a father admonishing his son” (91).

Chris West:

Note how the knowledge that Jordan gains near the end is predicated on an amnesia that is itself restored at the moment of its banishment; we witness, and he suffers, a moment of recognition which is literally “blinding”. Note too the dizzying movement through time at the very end (from present to future simple to perfect tense); […] We are offered, here, more occlusion than conclusion—a passage, it seems, full of sound and fury, signifying, along with the rest of this text, not nothing, but, somehow, homosexuality. (513)

The love that dare not speak (its name), the unspeakable, the unwatchable, something which provokes a visceral and potentially violent approach; connotations of homosexuality. Here we perhaps have the sense of the homosexual as two-sexed, a female psyche in a male body (see Ulrichs) or a third sex, a new evolutionary path (see Carpenter). It might be a representation of the transexual, but for the “Toujours Gay” context (although perhaps in 1972 it’s easier to conflate the categories). That still leaves the question of what it is being remembered and what is wanted – and the thought that Jordan has had sex with men before and blanked out the memory doesn’t seem to be enough. There’s something more – it almost feels like a classical allusion (Zeus? Tiresius?).

This reminds me of an odd Peter Carey story I found in a journal in the final year of my degree: “Peeling” (Meanjin Quarterly (March 1972)). The narrator tells the story of Nile, the woman who lives upstairs and who leaves white dolls around the house. Nile frequently visits to do the washing up and to eat with him. One day, when they are in bed reading newspapers she questions why the deaths column doesn’t include aborted babies; she then reveals she helps in abortions. He begins to undress her many layers until she is naked, and he notices an ear stud. Despite her protest, he pulls at it and it removes another layer: “Standing before me is a male of some twenty years. His face is the same as his face, his hair the same.” (45) There is another stud and he pulls at this, revealing a slimmer woman inside the man. However her legs can be rolled up, her arms are flase and she is wearing a wig. All that remains is a small doll.

Again, this is difficult to read in terms of homosexuality, but it again suggests a sense of the fluidity of sexual demarcation, the difference between the sexes that is so often considered essential. Biology is not destiny – although what destiny is, is not clear. It is ambiguous as to whether she is the dolll, or she had the doll with her. The removal of layers is like the peeling of an onion, which in time leaves nothing.

Broege, Valerie. “Technology and Sexuality in Science Fiction: Creating New Erotic Interfaces.” Erotic Universe: Sexuality and Fantastic Literature. Ed. Donald Palumbo. Westport, Ct.: Greenwood, 1986. 103-29. [apparently discusses Carlson]

Carey, Peter. “Peeling”. Meanjin Quarterly. March 1972. 38-45.

Carlson, William. “Dinner at Helen’s.” Strange Bedfellows: Sex and Science Fiction. Ed. Thomas N. Scortia. New York: Random House, 1972. 82-91.

Jenssen, Dick. “‘The World Well Lost’ by Theodore Sturgeon: Ruminations”. Online at Accessed 28 July 2008.

Leibscher, Walt. “Do Androids Dream of Electric Love?” Strange Bedfellows: Sex and Science Fiction. Ed. Thomas N. Scortia. New York: Random House, 1972. 78-81.

Scortia, Thomas N., ed. Strange Bedfellows: Sex and Science Fiction. New York: Random House, 1972.

Stewart, William. Cassell’s Queer Companion. London and New York: Cassell, 1995.

Sturgeon, Theodore. “The World Well Lost” Strange Bedfellows: Sex and Science Fiction. Ed. Thomas N. Scortia. New York: Random House, 1972. 55-77.

West, Chris. “Yesterday’s Myths Today and Tomorrow: Problems of Representation and Gay (In)Visibility”. Extrapolation. Winter 2007. 48.3. 504-19.

Thomas M. Disch, On Wings of Song (1979)

26 July 2008

For various day job related reasons, and as a mark of respect, this is my starting point – Disch’s suicide came as a shock and yet seems all too foreseeable given the things that were piled up on his plate. But it also seems likely that I will be writing about gay sf soon, so this seemed a correct place to start. Although, oddly, it has less gay content than I remember.

This was serialised in F&SF (Feb, Mar and Apr 1979) and then collected by Gollancz and St Martin’s (1979). Set in a typically Dischean dystopian American, this is the Bildungsroman – almost a Kunstlerroman – of Daniel Weinreb, growing up poor in an oppressive twenty-first century America. Some people are able to fly, and leave behind the bounds of their bodies and the earth, but this is both discouraged and criminalised. Weinreb is sent to prison, and after his release falls into a relationship with a rich heiress, Boadicea Whiting. They marry, but Boa disappears flying during a stop off in New York on their way to Europe, and the plane they were to take is blown up by terrorists (or possibly her father). Daniel hides in New York, with Boa’s body. He gains work as an usher at the opera, and slowly makes his fortune, aware that he could be discovered at any point.

In something that will prove to be a recurring point, there is little homosexuality in the novel. As a teen Daniel has a crush on another boy, but in his prison sentence it is middle age women he forms attachments to, rather than engaging in situational homosexuality. And he gets married. For most of the time as an usher – essentially a gigolo – he avoids putting out, and these are both male and female clients. Curiously the sequence when he is under the control of a male artist, he is wearing a chastity belt – and the artist is castrated. The sexuality works by suggestion rather than representation. (Clute in his review in Foundation 19 describes Daniel as exclusively homosexual in the third part of the novel; I think this is overstatement – he often says no or leads them on to spurn them. At what point are you homosexual?)

I wonder if there’s something to track in the image of the flyers as “fairies” – fairies are disapproved of, proper people don’t fly, there are laws against it, and people are actually frightened (why?) are fairies. Some people who are fairies, keep the secret closeted. Flying also becomes associated with the camper end of high art music (opera) so I think there’s something in the connotation. It is Bo who first flies – but it seems somewhat of a marriage of convenience between the two of them, a beard to gain respectfulness.

The ending is ambiguous – Daniel, who throughout the novel has been told that he is too Iowan, too square, to fly is giving the first performance of a grand tour in a slightly less dystopian US. At one moment he apparently flies, but is shot dead, assassinated. In fact it isn’t clear that he has flown – it may be a theatrical trick – and if he has, he may have escaped the body. It is the typical downbeat, probably unhappy, 1970s ending.

A note on the title: a Heinrich Heine poem set by Felix Mendelssohn (Op. 32/2)

Auf Flügeln des Gesanges,
Herzliebchen, trag ich dich fort,
Fort nach den Fluren des Ganges,
Dort weiß ich den schönsten Ort;

Dort liegt ein rotblühender Garten
Im stillen Mondenschein,
Die Lotosblumen erwarten
Ihr trautes Schwesterlein.

Die Veilchen kichern und kosen,
Und schaun nach den Sternen empor,
Heimlich erzählen die Rosen
Sich duftende Märchen ins Ohr.

Es hüpfen herbei und lauschen
Die frommen, klugen Gazelln,
Und in der Ferne rauschen
Des heilgen Stromes Welln.

Dort wollen wir niedersinken
Unter dem Pamenbaum,
Und Liebe und Ruhe trinken,
Und träumen seligen Traum.

There’s a translation – but there’s clearly a degree of irony at work here to consider any chance of Daniel and Bo reaching utopia.

Further reading:

  • Brigg, Peter (1990) ”Redemption’s Song’: Society and the Creative Elite in Thomas Disch’s On Wings of Song‘, Extrapolation 31 (2): 125-133.
  • Francavilla, Joseph (1985) ‘Disching It Out, An interview With Thomas Disch’, Science Fiction Studies 12 (3): 241-251.
  • Rossi, Umberto (2002) ‘Ecological Awareness and Capitalist Shortsightedness in Thomas M. Disch’s On Wings of Song‘, Foundation 84 (Spring) : 8-22.
  • Swirski, Peter (1991) ‘Dystopia or Dischtopia: The Science-Fiction Paradigms of Thomas M Disch’, Science Fiction Studies 18 (2): 161-179.