Reading books as spaces – Heterotopias against techno-scientific determinism

Reading books as spaces – Heterotopias against techno-scientific determinism


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This paper seeks to analyze a double problem in the conceptualization of Science Fiction as a literary field and as a mechanism for interacting and reading macro-social and political practices. What Science(s) are in SciFi? What Science(s) are left out of it? By demonstrating the context of techno-science as basis for the appearance of SciFi and, at the same time, its byproduct, the presentation seeks to explore the impacts of an ideologically limited notion of “Science”, and how it relates to how SciFi is usually framed as being capable of predicting or influencing the future (and hence, reproducing the discourse of techno-determinism). One case-study example is used here: the appearance of polyamory (a form of responsible non-monogamy) and its relation with Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. To counter the problems raised with this slanted view on how SciFi is defined, construed and represented, we turn to Michel Foucault’s notion of heterotopia, a space that is Other. If literature can be conceptualized as a space, then perhaps a new typology (or, in this case, a heterotopology) of it is made possible, one that seeks to escape (in regards to SciFi) the entrapment of techno-scientific determinism by integrating (SciFi) literature in a dynamic of several spaces, times and influences and thus contextualizing it as a cultural product that produces culture.