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Science Fiction Circuits of the South and East

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Edited By Anindita Banerjee and Sonja Fritzsche

The first collection of its kind, this anthology documents a radically different geography and history of science fiction in the world. Western, specifically Anglo-American, SF is not the only hub of the global trade of alternative realities and futures. Rather it is but only one of several competing flows and circuits of distribution, contacts, influence, translation, adaptation, and collaboration, across space and time. The essays collected here focus on arguably the biggest and most influential of those competing hubs: the socialist world and its extensive cultural networks across the global South and East. Written by scholars from around the world, the chapters address the «other» transatlantic of the Caribbean, Latin America, African America, and the Soviet Union; the surprising multitude of transnational networks behind the Iron Curtain; and asymptotic and subterranean discourses across Russia, India, and China. Science Fiction Circuits of the South and East is intended for scholars, students, and fans interested in science fiction, popular culture, comparative literature, film studies, postcolonialism, techno-science, translation studies, and the literature and cultures of China, Cuba, Germany, India, Mexico, Poland, and Russia.

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Introduction: Beyond the West and the Rest: Science Fiction Circuits of the South and East (Anindita Banerjee / Sonja Fritzsche)

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ANINDITA BANERJEE AND SONJA FRITZSCHE

Introduction Beyond the West and the Rest: Science Fiction Circuits of the South and East

The Universe (which others call a Library), is composed of an indefinite, perhaps infinite, number of hexagonal galleries. … Like all the men of the Library, in my younger days I traveled; I have journeyed in quest of a book, perhaps the catalog of catalogs. (112)

— JORGE LUIS BORGES, “The Library of Babel,” 1949

Did you know there were three moons in the sky?

The first is the old one, the other two are Russian,

Look up, and you’ll see all three speeding by.

— Bengali children’s rhyme from the 1960s

For one of us, growing up in a remote coal-mining town in eastern India provided the first intimations of being deeply embedded in the circuits of science fiction (SF) examined in this book. From playground chants about three moons inherited from parents who came of age under Sputnik I and II, the circuits pointed towards a small collection of books on a neighbor’s shelf that was as far a cry from the canon of English literature taught at school as one could possibly imagine. Unlike utterly alien daffodils waving in the breeze and the unfathomable enigmas of cold country manors, these other “foreign” texts, translated into Bengali, spoke of places, times, things, and beings that were somehow more familiar in their radical...

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