Michel Serres: Science, Fiction, and the Shape of Relation

Salisbury, Laura
March 2006
Science Fiction Studies;Mar2006, Vol. 33 Issue 1, p30
Academic Journal
Literary Criticism
This article offers a synoptic introduction to the thought of Michel Serres and suggests how his work might be used to read science fiction. Serres's intensely topological form of analysis explores the complex relationship between realms that are normally held to be distinct within modern thought, such as science and fiction, mathematics and mythology. The article argues that such a topological method offers sf studies a theoretical language for mapping its own generic transgressions; it also suggests that topology can be used to read the disturbingly continuous cognitive and imaginative spaces found at once in the Gothic and in cyberpunk. The article goes on to argue that Serres's later use of information theory, alongside his concept of the quasi-object, opens up a way of reading the topologically complex relationship between embodiment and objects, subjectivity and the world of social relations, found in the work of China Miéville. Serres's most recent work on globalized telecommunications explores the ungainsayable social bonds within this network of quasi-objects, articulating the vital relationship between the local and the global. Exploring Serres's account of quasi-objects that reads technological communication as constitutive of a philosophically reconfigured intersubjectivity, the article finally uses this work to read Geoof Ryman's recent novel "Air" (2005).


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