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Do Metaphors Dream of Literal Sleep? A Science-Fictional Theory of Representation [Hardcover]

Seo-Young Chu

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Book Description

21 Dec 2010
In culture and scholarship, science-fictional worlds are perceived as unrealistic and altogether imaginary. Seo-Young Chu offers a bold challenge to this perception of the genre, arguing instead that science fiction is a form of 'high-intensity realism' capable of representing non-imaginary objects that elude more traditional, 'realist' modes of representation. Powered by lyric forces that allow it to transcend the dichotomy between the literal and the figurative, science fiction has the capacity to accommodate objects of representation that are themselves neither entirely figurative nor entirely literal in nature. Chu explores the globalized world, cyberspace, war trauma, the Korean concept of han, and the rights of robots, all as referents for which she locates science-fictional representations in poems, novels, music, films, visual pieces, and other works ranging within and without previous demarcations of the science fiction genre. In showing the divide between realism and science fiction to be illusory, "Do Metaphors Dream of Literal Sleep?" sheds new light on the value of science fiction as an aesthetic and philosophical resource - one that matters more and more as our everyday realities grow increasingly resistant to straightforward representation.

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Chu has produced a volume that is clever, witty, erudite, impeccably thorough in its reference to both primary and secondary sources, and written in a refreshingly nonformulaic yet unmistakably scholarly tone. -- D. C. Maus Choice 20110701

About the Author

Seo-Young Chu is Assistant Professor of English at Queens College, City University of New York.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reconstructing Sf criticism 15 Nov 2012
By Farah Mendlesohn - Published on
It turns out that when you try to reinvent science fiction criticism from scratch, what you end up with looks remarkably like science fiction criticism as it currently exists. Which is rather interesting in itself. In addition tho, the chapters on war trauma and "Post-Memory Han" are fascinating and worth the price of the book alone.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Double Lives of Metaphors, Robots, and Other Science-Fictional/Lyric Figures." 8 Oct 2011
By ROROTOKO - Published on
This book is on the Rorotoko list. Professor Chu's interview on "Do Metaphors Dream of Literal Sleep?" ran as the Rorotoko Cover Feature on June 20, 2011 (and can be read in the Rorotoko archive).
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