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Galactic Empires and the Contemporary Extravaganza: Dan Simmons and Iain M. Banks

Christopher Palmer
Science Fiction Studies
Vol. 26, No. 1, On Science Fiction and Queer Theory (Mar., 1999), pp. 73-90
Published by: SF-TH Inc
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4240753
Page Count: 18
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Galactic Empires and the Contemporary Extravaganza: Dan Simmons and Iain M. Banks
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Abstract

This essay discusses sf by Dan Simmons and Iain M. Banks as a contemporary version of galactic-empire fiction. This fiction shares a set of characteristics: ambitious, multifarious inclusiveness; uninhibited hedonism; complicated relations with textuality and intertextuality; a complicated depiction of space as noncoherent, subject to no uniform rules; decentered subjects, but, on the other hand, a return of depth. It is suggested that this fiction expresses the operations of a postmodern imaginary on the materials of traditional galactic-empire sf; this imaginary operates mainly by excess, overload, and exacerbation. A postmodernizing of the galactic-empire novel ends up expressing the anxieties of the postmodern condition.

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