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9. Feminist Fabulation

Marleen S. Barr

Subject Literature

Key-Topics feminism, science fiction

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405112185.2005.00011.x


In Feminist Fabulation: Space/Postmodern Fiction (1992), I explain that my term “feminist fabulation” signals “a new understanding of postmodern fiction which enables the canon to accommodate feminist difference and emphasizes that the literature which was called feminist SF is an important site of postmodern feminist difference” ( Barr 1992 : xv). Naming and renaming is integral to laying the initial groundwork for instituting this new understanding. Ursula Le Guin, for example, when discussing what appropriately to call her work, states that publishers, rather than she herself, designate her work “science fiction”: “I write science fiction because that is what publishers call my books. Left to myself, I would call them novels” ( Le Guin 1979 : 16). Feminist Fabulation explores why “science fiction” (SF) inadequately distinguishes between Le Guin's humanistic visions and, say, John Norman's gore-sodden Gor novels. Feminist fabulation, to supplement “feminist science fiction,” at once describes the texts Le Guin's work exemplifies and names a theoretical framework for including more women's fiction within postmodern literary canons. Writing in the science fiction issue of PMLA (May 2004), N. Katherine Hayles and Nicholas Gessler explain that “Marleen Barr's contribution to the on-going challenge to clarify the boundary between mainstream and science fiction has been to define ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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