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Introduction: Mundane Science Fiction, Harm and Healing the World
Extrapolation (2008)
  • Wendy Gay Pearson, The University of Western Ontario
  • Susan Knabe, The University of Western Ontario

Elements of the fantastical erupt into and interrupt apparently conventional or mainstream narratives in the novels The Child Garden (1989), Was (1992), Lust (2001), Air (2005) and The King's Last Song (2006) and the novella, Pol Pot s Beautiful Daughter (2006), enabling Ryman's texts to effect an unconventional bridging of pasts and presents, from 1860s Kansas (Was) and 12th Century Cambodia (KLS) through to contemporary LA, London and Cambodia. Similarly, Ryman's use of hypertext in his 253 effects a disruption of mainstream narrative form, enabling his readers to shuttle through the stories of 253 different people (252 passengers and the train driver) who happen to be on the same Tube train at the same time. As Ryman's work moves on to new forms and topics, as it inevitably will - and, indeed, Ryman's next book, When It Changed (with its obvious reference to the Joanna Russ short story of that name) is due out in October of this year - the critical work on Ryman and the extent to which it understands his oeuvre as increasingly central to any genealogy of science fiction (and not only of queer or gay sf) can only continue to grow. The challenge is to produce critical responses capable of engaging adequately with Ryman's central concerns with subjectivity, relationality, intersubjective ethics, trauma and healing. Ryman is, after all, one of those remarkable authors that sf (whether "science" fiction or "speculative" fiction) from time to time throws up whose work is, by and large, not simply responsive to but ahead of the theoretical models.

  • science fiction,
  • Geoff Ryman,
  • queer,
  • mundane science fiction,
  • sexuality in science fiction
Publication Date
Summer 2008
Citation Information
Wendy Gay Pearson and Susan Knabe. "Introduction: Mundane Science Fiction, Harm and Healing the World" Extrapolation Vol. 49 Iss. 2 (2008)
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