• Alien Evolution and Dialectical Materialism in Eastern European Science Fiction

    Carl Gelderloos (see profile)
    GS Prose Fiction, GS Speculative Fiction, LLC 20th- and 21st-Century German, Speculative and Science Fiction, TC Science and Literature
    Communism, Eastern Europe, Germany, Area studies, Socialism, Popular culture, Literature and science, Science fiction
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    Astrobiology, Science and Politics, German studies, Marxism, Science and literature
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    This essay reads Ivan Efremov's "Andromeda Nebula" (1957), Stanisław Lem's "Solaris" (1961), and Angela and Karlheinz Steinmüller's "Andymon" (1982) in order to explore the relationship between biological evolution and dialectical materialism, as it was negotiated through the trope of the alien in the context of the cultural politics of Eastern European science fiction. In these three novels, the relationship between human and alien is not used as a stage for fantasies of conquest or invasion, nor as a quasi-religious revelation offered by transcendentally higher forms of intelligence, as it sometimes is in Western science fiction. Rather, between the poles of anthropomorphic determinism and unbridgeable difference, these three novels stage the encounter between the human and the alien as a question of evolution, knowledge, and labor. In raising the possibility of intelligent life emerging from the cosmos, "Andromeda Nebula," "Solaris," and "Andymon" link biological evolution to the imagined futures of humanity, intertwining the possibilities of intelligent aliens and a non-alienated humanity. This version is the author's typescript. Please refer to the published version: Gelderloos, Carl. “Alien Evolution and Dialectical Materialism in Eastern European Science Fiction.” Science Fiction Circuits of the South and East, edited by Anindita Banerjee and Sonja Fritzsche, Peter Lang, 2018, pp. 101–134.
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    5 years ago
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