Friday, October 23, 2009

Gwyneth Jones's Imagination/Space

Here's a heads-up about a new Gwyneth Jones title being released by Aqueduct in November. (It's at the printer now.) Imagination/Space: Essays and Talks on Fiction, Feminism, Technology, and Politics collects twenty-one pieces of nonfiction by Gwyneth and covers a lot of territory, from speeches and talks delivered at conferences and conventions, to science fiction criticism and a sharp critical reconsideration of the feminist sf canon.

One of my favorite pieces is "True Life-Science Fiction: Sexual Politics in the Lab," which describes her experience shadowing Dr. Jane Davies in her lab as preparation for writing the PKD-Award-winning Life (which Aqueduct, as everyone here knows, published) and engages in a conversation with 1970s feminist sf. Here's a taste:

I saw a woman in a white coat, maybe a few years older than myself (but I'll feel childish 'til I die), with a warm smile. I stumbled through my intro, and Dr. Davies showed no sign of impatience. Unprepared, and babbling I'm afraid, I began to tell her my story....

....I trembled every time I had to use a technical term. Mitochondria, how do you pronounce that? I rambled around, explaining about taking things apart, identifying er, the basic components, as if that's what's important... I remember Dr. Davies gently prompting me. "Reductionism--?"

"Uh, yes."

Reducing dramatic situations to their component parts, isolating them from the real world, is science fiction's most treasured technique, borrowed from science itself. But Anna's story had to be natural, complex, full of inextricable connections, like a novel about real life. And here I was asking a scientist to help me...

Needless to say, I'll let y'all know when it's available.

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