Wednesday, March 11, 2009

So, What's Everyone Up To?

I'll start by answering my own question. I've got an article on Samuel R.Delany's Triton coming out in the sexuality issue of Science Fiction Studies in November. It's called "Born to be Bron: Destiny and Destinerrance in Samuel Delany's Triton" and it takes a bit of a different direction from Guy's marvellous essay on Triton in QU. What I'm looking at mostly is Derrida's concept of destinerrance, which is a French language pun on destination and errancy -- a way of pointing out that even when your journey gets derailed, it sometimes gets you where you're going, but getting where you're going may also turn out to be mistake or derailment in its own right.

It wasn't until I started writing this that I realized how chock full Triton is of failures of transmission and journeys going awry. There's something very queer about that; it's hard not to read it as a commentary on the idea that being gay is a result of something going wrong, of not reaching the right destination, and so on. And since evolutionary biology seems to be becoming -- or to have become -- the dominant discourse these days, is it possible to think of queerness as a proper variation, rather than a failure to reach the right destination? A matter of genetic diversity, rather than a genetic flaw?

Anyway, that's what I'm up to -- besides plotting the start of The Book, which has the tentative title of A Queer History of SF. What about the rest of you?


  1. I expect this to be a voyage of discovery. "The Captain says fasten your seatbelts".

  2. Tell us more about A Queer History of SF. Pretty please.

    I'm also working on The Book, but mine's a novel. It doesn't have a working title but it's set in seventh century Britain and follows the life of Hild of Whitby from birth to death. She lived to be 66. I have 90,000 words. Hild is only 12.

    I'm also pondering a matched set of essays and short fiction. I've no idea if there's a market of any kind for either. I keep trying to quash the idea, but it keeps popping back up most inconveniently. So if anyone has an opinion, I'd love to hear it.

    I've also had a nifty idea for a screenplay. And have started notes on a big old sword-swangin' fantasy. The problem, as usual, is time...

  3. I was planning to present a paper on transgender characters in SF&F at ICFA this year, but that has been messed up by travel issues. I'd like to keep working on The Book (for which the paper was a trial balloon), but my library is in CA and I am not. In the meantime there may be blog posts like this one.

  4. Cheryl, that's a great review: clear, ruminative, and transparent in terms of perspective. Thank you.

  5. Really looking forward to reading your essay, Wendy. You're so right about the failures and derailments in the book, and I'm excited by the suggested link to the discourse of genetic diversity. Triton's such a rich text! I have another essay on another rich text of Delany's - though not an sf one - that's recently come out in Journal of Modern Literature 32.1: "Utopia and Apocalyse in Samuel Delany's The Mad Man." Apart from that, enjoying study leave -- working on affect in contemporary US "marginal" fiction and queer literary celebrity among other things.