July 29 , Lecture 7, ENG237H1
- Technoscientific Enframing
- Darko Suvin’s “Novum”
- Cyberpunk: conventions and style
- Chapter 1 and (Technoscientific) identity
- The status of the body?
Case is challenged by science and technology. Immediately physical technology
Is technoscience a positive or negative influence upon human identity?
Some say glorification. Body is seen as meat. Matrix represents opportunity,
exaltation. Overcoming and surpassing limits of the body. Post human vision.
Increasingly intimidate relationship between technology and the human body.
Positive and optimistic.
But recent readings, attune to anxiety about technology. Communicating profound
anxiety. Not just socioeconomics structure but very grounds of human subjectivity
and sense of self. Anxiety about technology confirmed by how Case feels about the
With the influence of technoscience upon human identity, what is gained, and what
is lost or forgotten?
What other possibilities for identity/ subjectivity are created and provided by
“The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.
‘It’s not like I’m using,’ Case heard someone say, as he shouldered his way through
the crowd around the door of the Chat….” (3, ch.1)
Metaphor. Case’s perspective of his world. Conditions of the world. Sterile.
Malfunction. Broken. Natural seen as a technology.
“the television sky” (6, ch.1)
“the poisoned silver sky” (6-7, ch.1)
“mean shade of gray” (15, ch.1)
“hissing static” (31, ch.2)
“gray disk” (52, ch.3)
Taking over. Oppressive.
“Because in some weird and very approximate way, it was like a run in the matrix…
and it was possible to see Ninsei as a field of data, the way the matrix had once
reminded him of proteins linking to distinguish cell specialties…” (16, ch.1)
How construction doesn’t necessarily apply. Body is a site for created and unstable.
Altered and augmented. Simple but profound. What is the physical world? Matrix is
a desirable place to be. Condition to be experiencing. Disconnect and disregard of
the physical world. Disregarded by first opening sentence. Blended into virtual. Not just case. Reverse. Case used to think of the Matrix as proteins linking together.
Biological. Physiological terms. Changes of perception. Sense of identity and self.
“She slid down around him… his orgasm flaring blue in a timeless space, a vastness
like the matrix.. Strong and wet against his hips.” (33, ch.2) Strong physiological
response is seen in terms of matrix.
Darko Suvin’s “Novum”
Metamorphoses of SF: On the poetics and history of a literary genre”
“novum” (novelty, innovation)
Totalizing phenomenon or relationship deviating from the author’s… entails a
change of the whole universe of the tale.
The novum, is hegemonic”
Novum is how sf does what it does.
Spin membrane. Martians. Terraform. Replicators. Archway. The drug. New thing
“The new is always a historical category since it is always determined by historical
forces which both bring it about in social practice (including art) and make for new
semantic meanings that crystallize the novum in human consciousness”. It is new at
a particular time. Might be set in a new world. Fundamentally about now. Marxist
and materialist. Idea of newness. Tied to and embedded into historical process.
Novum, innovation, newness relates to the context. The metaphor is grounded into
what is happening during that period of time in real life.
Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, Jr. “The seven beauties of SF”