By Ulrike Küchler, Silja Maehl, Graeme A. Stout
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Additional resources for Alien Imaginations: Science Fiction and Tales of Transnationalism
The progressive perspective on the interplay of words and pictures suggested by the dialogue between the novel’s narrative framework and languages is even more emphasized by the contrasting, reactionary setting of the Dream Realm against which the novel poses its aesthetic questions. To put it diﬀerently: while for Kubin and the story’s ironic authorial voice, the encounter with an alien art form (literary language) implies an engagement with new artistic languages in order to reach aesthetic advancement, for his narrator the alien art he is looking for in the Dream Realm is not so alien after all but promises, as a sort of aesthetic “safety net,” a conﬁrmation of traditional and familiar artistic conventions: he would rather hold on to familiar modes of artistic production than develop new ones.
I am here suggesting—indeed I am arguing—that “was” and “war” likewise converge. The scene of writing that was interrupted by the war of the worlds structurally superimposes the was and the war, rendering here the ﬂicker that so intrigued Derrida in Joyce’s text. The alien invasion is not something one anxiously awaits, hallucinates (alien abduction is almost always about sexual reproduction) or prepares for. It, and the war it provokes, by virtue of the logic of debt/guilt, always was. Moreover, as Derrida insisted, this menacing ﬂicker grips language itself, a fact anticipated by Wells when his narrator says: In spite of Oglvy [an acquaintance of the narrator and early victim of the Martians], I still believed that there were men in Mars.
For example, a head in a ﬂower vase—it could mean anything. However, when the public began to take notice of me, Castringius was forced to produce something more substantial. ” was his obstinate maxim. Now came works such as Mad Pope Innocence Dancing the Cardinals’ Quadrille. , emphases in the original While before the narrator always maintained the role of a distant albeit uncritical observer, it is after viewing these paintings, ironically, that he fully merges with the mindset of “the other side” (and it is only shortly after this that he meets and sees Patera for the ﬁrst and only time).