Annexing the planets : the colonization of the alien body in science fiction [abstract]
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Science fiction has its historical beginnings in the late colonial era, and the discourse of colonialism shares with the discourse of science fiction a terminology of discovery, exploration, conquest, mapping and the claiming of new lands. Thus, it is no accident that one of the central concerns of science fiction is precisely the central concern of colonial discourse and, later, of postcolonial theory: an effort to understand the troubled relationship between the self and the other, which in SF terms is figured in the relationship between the human and the alien being, or the human and the alien landscape. Looking at science fiction through the lens of postcolonial theory opens up a body of source material seldom considered by postcolonialism. In fact, because it removes a discussion of colonialism to a hypothetical realm, science fiction is able, in some ways, to be more truthful than so-called "high art" fiction about the central dilemma of colonialism: what do you do with the aliens? Science fiction often brushes aside colonialism's humanist facade to show the colonialist's hostility to environments and bodies which are constructed as other than human. ...
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