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Writing / Reality in Cult Fiction of the 1980s and 1990s

Christine Farwick

The 1980s saw the emergence of cyberpunk, that third wave in science fiction, and of radical constructivism. This interdisciplinary approach provides a sophisticated terminology for discussing our everyday constructions of reality in general (fiction in reality) and the parallel worlds of cyberspace in particular (reality in fiction). Phenomenological issues such as the invisible and the blind spots of perception are explored. The reader’s prominent role in reception theory is developed further, showing his emancipation as observer and user of literature. Based on recent findings in the neurosciences, the role of emotion in the reading process is examined, too. The present study claims that cult fiction functions as a literary significant Other. Rather than the apocryphal other side of the canon, it represents a literary subculture.
Contents: Astounding SF: Reality in Fiction: Sex ’n’ Drugs ’n’ Cyberspace: William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984) – Shock to the System: Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash (1992) – (De)Construction Site: Michael Marshall Smith, Spares (1996) – A Liverpudlian Fabric(ation): Clive Barker, Weaveworld (1987) – Living Next Door to Alice: Jeff Noon, Vurt (1993) – Amazing Stories: Fiction in Reality: «At Once Risqué and Conformist»: File under Cult – The Artist formerly known as God – The Reader - Co-Author, Observer, User – Reality is for those who can’t face SF – Canonical Conspiracies.