Thursday, March 03, 2011


Genres often classifed as both nonmimetic and non-SF are actually varieties of science fiction that correspond mimetically to specific types of cognitively estranging referents....Slipstream—a relatively young subgenre that has emerged over the past several decades, with prominent examples including Don DeLillo's 1985 White Noise, the 1998 film The Truman Show, and Ed Park's 2008 novel Personal Days—is a type of science-fictional mimesis whose cognitively estranging referent is the partially virtual reality of living in a mainstream hypermediated and rendered half-surreal by technology. —Seo-Young Chu, Do Metaphors Dream of Literal Sleep?: A Science Fictional Theory of Reputation

White Noise? Heyyy—I'll take it!™


Chu's book is pretty fascinating! (Where else could you read about Joe Haldeman and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha?) I don't know that anyone else has called Personal Days "slipstream"—but it makes sense. One of my first published stories was in Trampoline, edited by Kelly Link, a/k/a the Queen of the Slipstream:


Now I'm thinking that titling my SF column "Astral Weeks" was also a way of saying I would cover "slipstream," given the first line of the song...

I like this bit in the epilogue:

"As these allusions to the many 'chapters that might have been' are meant to imply, Do Metaphors Dream of Literal Sleep? A Science-Fictional Theory of Reputation is a fragment of a much larger hypothetical book containing an infinite number of chapters that correspond to an infinite number of cognitively estranging objects and phenomena."

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