Forms of Estrangement: Speculative Storytelling and the Contemporary Literary Imagination
By pulling together science fiction written in English from around the world and drawing from the fields of narrative, postcolonial, and world literary studies, this project intervenes in discussions about the relationship between colonialism, empire, and science fiction while also considering what science fiction might have to teach readers and scholars about contemporary literary production at large. Specifically, “Forms of Estrangement” shows how authors from a variety of cultural and national contexts employ a common aesthetic practice that I term formal estrangement. This term captures the process by which authors leverage the estranging capacity of literary form to disrupt hegemonic notions of time and space while pushing the genre in new directions. My focus on literary form marks a shift away from discussions linking science fictional estrangement to the genre’s imaginative content. Such a shift offers a critical method for reading the literary aesthetic practices of science fiction while also illuminating how the aesthetics of science fiction have begun to infiltrate the formal frameworks of literary works outside the genre.