By P. Youngquist
Cyberfiction: After the long run explores a global the place cybernetics units the phrases for all times and tradition - our international of ubiquitous info-tech, on the spot capital flows, and immanent disaster. Economics fuses with expertise to create a brand new type of speculative fiction: cyberfiction. Paul Youngquist finds the ways that J. G. Ballard, Philip ok. Dick, Samuel Delany, Octavia Butler, and William Gibson, between others, map a territory the place info reigns splendid and the long run is changing into a specific thing of the prior.
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Extra info for Cyberfiction After the Future
That may be why Empire, for all its theoretical savvy, falls on deaf ears as a useful discourse for diagnosing a new world order. ” The work of Manuel Castells is representative here. In rich detail Castells describes the emergence of what he calls “informationalism,” a new technological paradigm wherein “what is specific to our world is the extension and augmentation of the body and mind of human subjects in networks of interaction powered by microelectronics-based, software-operated, communication technologies.
If that sounds familiar, that is because Hardt and Negri use a vaguely cybernetic model to describe the way this new world order works. Witness their baleful preoccupation with “control,” a logic of communicative constraint they adapt from Deleuze, who lifts it from William Burroughs. Control scripts social agency so completely because, in Delueze’s words, it “extends well outside the structured sites of social institutions though flexible and fluctuating networks” (Deleuze, Negotiations 23). Control regulates life not only in close quarters but even more effectively out in the open, ensnaring it in preestablished networks of prescribed agency.
That is why Fredric Jameson sells the genre short when he insists that it positions the present as the past of an extrapolated future it can only fail to realize. Jameson’s allegiance here to Adorno (the last Eurotopian, albeit in a negative mode) blinds him to the return that the futures of speculation produce in the present. The whole point of a futures contract is to add value to the present, predictably for the hedger, exponentially for the speculator. Science fiction returns the value of its speculative futures to the present, not to confirm its stasis, but to change it.