Full Text

41. Iain M. Banks: Excession

Farah Mendlesohn

Subject Literature

Key-Topics science fiction

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405112185.2005.00043.x


If John Clute's suggestion is correct, that the science fiction which told a common narrative of expectation, is indeed dead ( Clute 2003 : 65), if that future is no longer with us, then this might explain why it was space opera, with its wide spaces, implausible politics, large ships, and extravagant language - in short, the form that departs most enthusiastically from that rationalized future - which came to dominate SF at the end of the twentieth century. At the beginning of the 1990s Cyberpunk had dominated the external face of science fiction. In a world of fractionalized peace, and a huge displacement of money and power, Cyberpunk reflected the despair of many westerners at the mass exodus of manufacturing jobs to the developing world, and the threat suggested in the rise of computer networks. Cyberpunk was in many ways a betrayal of science fiction: it was pessimistic (postnuclear novels assumed human resilience), it accepted the inevitable victory of the corporatist agenda for the world even while railing against it, and it turned away from the outward-bound project that was SF and into the mind. But Cyberpunk left a legacy of verbal pyrotechnics. It was in this context that space opera, the despised child of SF, its most juvenile, immature canvas ( Westfahl 2003 : 201), emerged as the cutting edge of the genre ( Locus 2003 ). Space opera had never pretended to the plausible. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top