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Things made strange: on the concept of 'estrangement' in science fiction theory


Spiegel, Simon (2008). Things made strange: on the concept of 'estrangement' in science fiction theory. Science Fiction Studies, 35th y(106):369-385.

Abstract

The concept of "estrangement" has been central to sf criticism ever since Darko Suvin defined the genre as creating the effect of "cognitive estrangement". By going back to the theories of Viktor Shklovsky and Bertolt Brecht, I will show how Suvin, in his approach, intermingles formal, fictional, generic, and receptive aspects of estrangement. Contrary to Suvin’s assessment, it is not sf’s primary formal operation to render familiar things strange, but to make the alien look ordinary, a process I call naturalization. In sf, estrangement mainly happens on a diegetic level, when a marvelous element is introduced into an apparently realistic world.

Abstract

The concept of "estrangement" has been central to sf criticism ever since Darko Suvin defined the genre as creating the effect of "cognitive estrangement". By going back to the theories of Viktor Shklovsky and Bertolt Brecht, I will show how Suvin, in his approach, intermingles formal, fictional, generic, and receptive aspects of estrangement. Contrary to Suvin’s assessment, it is not sf’s primary formal operation to render familiar things strange, but to make the alien look ordinary, a process I call naturalization. In sf, estrangement mainly happens on a diegetic level, when a marvelous element is introduced into an apparently realistic world.

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9 citations in Web of Science®
7 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Cinema Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
900 History
Language:English
Date:November 2008
Deposited On:08 Jan 2009 10:47
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:43
Publisher:SF-TH Inc.
ISSN:0091-7729
Official URL:http://www.depauw.edu/sfs/covers/cov106.htm
Related URLs:http://opac.nebis.ch/F/?local_base=NEBIS&con_lng=GER&func=find-b&find_code=SYS&request=000000231

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