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Solar FlaresScience Fiction in the 1970s$
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Andrew M. Butler

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781846318344

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846317798

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date: 20 November 2018

Ruptures: Metafiction and Postmodernism

Ruptures: Metafiction and Postmodernism

(p.221) 16 Ruptures: Metafiction and Postmodernism
Solar Flares
Liverpool University Press

Metafiction refers to fiction that is aware of its own fictionality. Coined in 1970 by the critic and novelist William Gass, metafiction took to extremes the tension between realism and the real in the nineteenth-century novel. Examples of metafiction within the science fiction genre include Philip K. Dick's post-1974 novels such as Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said (1974) and Joanna Russ's The Female Man (1975). The strategies of metafiction and the undecidability between fiction and reality were symptomatic of postmodernism, whose definition also proved problematic. This chapter focuses on postmodern science fiction writers such as Richard Cowper, Christopher Priest, Robert Sheckley, Barry Malzberg, Richard Brautigan, Tom Robbins, Kurt Vonnegut, Philip José Farmer, William S. Burroughs, Thomas Pynchon, Robert Shea, Kingsley Amis, Angela Carter, Emma Tennant, John Sladek and Frederik Pohl. It also examines the television programme Welt am Draht (World on a Wire/World on Wires and cyberpunk.

Keywords:   Richard Cowper, metafiction, science fiction, postmodernism, Welt am Draht, cyberpunks, Kurt Vonnegut, Kingsley Amis, Angela Carter, Frederik Pohl

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