Wednesday, November 13, 2013

When I call science fiction a "field"

"Field", in one of its common senses, is sometimes used as a quasi-metaphorical description of collective endeavor, of a group of people working together, though usually individually at any given moment, not toward a specific or shared goal, but for many different reasons, along individual but nevertheless somehow parallel lines. In this sense sf most definitely is a field. But also:

Martin Heidegger, very roughly paraphrased, speaks of us, beings contemplating Being, as finding ourselves thrown into an open space, a clearing: a field?

Gabriel Josipovici, discussing Robert Pinget's novel Passacaglia, writes:

It leaves one, as one finishes it, with the sense of having lived through half a dozen or more potential novels... of having lived through them or half lived through them, and through so much else.... But more than that, the book leaves one with the sense of having participated in the birth of narrative itself. And, naturally, having no beginning, the book has no end, no third part, as Kierkegaard would say. When the field has been thoroughly plowed the book stops, for nothing more can or needs be said.
In terms of the single life--which of course ends, is bounded--the field can indeed be "thoroughly plowed" with nothing more able or needing to be said; but what of a field of such fields?

And Joanna Russ writes: "A story is closer to the interaction of magnetic fields than to what we think of as life. And perhaps life is, too." And stories themselves interact with one another, in the way of magnetic fields; and we must try to grasp, too, the relationships between the way we think of stories, "what we think of as life", and what, "perhaps", life is.

PS Come to think of it I think we can pick up resonances from almost every definition wiktionary has for the word.

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