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Title: Science fiction and language : language and the imagination in post-war science fiction
Author: Gallagher, Ron
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1986
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This study examines the claims for a privileged status for the language of science fiction. The analysis of a series of invented languages, including 'nadsat', 'newspeak' and 'Babel-17', establishes that beneath these constructions lie deep-seated misconceptions about how language works. It is shown that the various theories of language, implicitly or explicitly expressed by writers and critics concerned with invented languages and neologism in science fiction, embody a mistaken view about the relation between language and the imagination. Chapter two demonstrates, with particular reference to the treatment of time and mind, that the themes on which science fiction most likes to dwell, reflect very closely the concerns of philosophy, and as such, are particularly amenable to the analytical methods of linguistic philosophy. This approach shows that what science fiction 'imagines' often turns out to be a product of the deceptive qualities of the grammar of language itself. The paradoxes of a pseudo-philosophical nature, in which science fiction invariably finds itself entangled, are particularly well exemplified in the work of Philip K. Dick. Chapter Three suggests that by exploiting the logically impossible, by making a virtue of the tricks and conventions which have become science fiction's stigmata (time-travel, telepathy, etc.), Dick indicates a means of overcoming the genre's current problems concerning form and seriousness. In conclusion it is demonstrated through the work of J. G. Ballard, that any attempt to throw off science fiction's 'pulp' conventions is likely to lead the genre further into the literary wilderness.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PN Literature (General)