ITALIAN SCIENCE FICTION
CHAIR: Gaetano Cipolla, St. John's University.
GAETANO CIPOLLA, St. John's University, "Italian
Science Fiction: A Survey."
Italian science fiction is surveyed from its
beginnings to the present, outlining the major
writers and their contributions. The evolution of
Italian science fiction from its heavy reliance on
foreign models to the development of an original
style is traced.
MARIO MIGNONE, State University of New York - Stony
Brook, "G. Berto's Fantarca."
Like many Italian writers who achieved success as
novelists or poets before turning to
"Fantascienze," G. Berto won renown with his Male
Oscuro and entered science fiction with Fantarca,
THERESA EPPRIDGE, College of
Art and the Unseen Reality."
New Rochelle, "Eskimo
which reveals underlying themes and structures
common with his other works.
PAOLO POSSIEDI, Montclair State College, "The Muse in
Italian Science Fiction."
The work of Gilda Musa, one of the
masters of Italian science fiction,
from the point of view of the codes
their relationship to science
ART FORMS AND THE FANTASTIC
CHAIR: Donald Curl, Florida Atlantic University.
J. RUSSELL REAVER, Florida State University. "The
Grotesquery of Gormenghast: Mervin Peake's Castle"
In this study I show how the peculiar
grotesqueries of Gormenghast Castle exist in the
uneasy balance between the fearful and funny as a
kind of reflection of the subconscious repressions
in Peake's responses to the castle's control over
him. Peake retreated into the fantasy of ancient
order and inflexible custom within the castle, but
he remained at the mercy of non-human power
becoming increasingly monstrous, relieved only by
our ability to laugh at the extremely irrational
behavior of the people living in Gormenghast
Castle. By showing tensions between people and
castle, this paper illustrates the horrors of
subconscious conflicts we can escape from only
momentarily through laughter.
D. HAMPTON MORRIS, Auburn University, "Stephane
Mallarme and the Cosmic Dance."
This paper will investigate Mallarme's fascination
with the ballet and attempt to show that the poet's
conception of the dance was not that of the
ordinary critic, for Mallarme viewed dancing as
not just another beautiful art, but as a form of
"Human Hieroglyphics," which, bypassing the normal
channels of communication, reveals the mysteries
of man and the cosmos. Mallarme's concept of the
dance as an expression of occult knowledge fits
well within the esoteric tradition.
Eskimo spirit sculptures bring to life the old
ways of seeing and the spirit traditions of a
culture caught in the disruptive inroads of western
ways. This paper considers some themes and visual
expressions in the shamanic carvings of Spence Bay,
Northwest Territories. Several of the works
examined are by the Inuit carver, Karoo Ashevak.
He is the foremost sculptor from this isolated
area and his works are consistently "spirit"
pieces. The ten slides that accompany this paper
make visual the characteristics of the traditions
discussed in the first part of this presentation.
MARCILENE K. WITTMER, University of Miami, "Mbari:
Spirit House of the Owerri Ibo (Nigeria)."
The sacred space and time of a typical seance can
be seen in the Mbari houses constructed by the Ibo
of Nigeria and decorated in order to propitiate
troublesome spirits and bring blessings to the
community. Since a seance is a transient event,
tangible evidence of its form seldom exists. This
is what makes the Mbari house such a special
document. This paper will trace the existence o
Mbari from its inception in a divination process,
through the various stages of execution, to its
final abandonment to the elements.
CRITICAL APPROACHES TO SCIENCE FICTION
CHAIR: Robert Begiebing, New Hampshire College.
ROBERT CROSSLEY, University of Massachusetts,
"Etherial Ascents: Human 'Flight in Eighteenth
The ancient human desire to fly, whether by
mechanical means or by physiological adaptation, is
susceptible to a variety of literary treatments.
Even in Paradise Lost Milton's angel Raphael
suggests to Adam that winged flight may be the
ultimate human mode of transportation, a natural
development in human evolution. In
eighteenth-century fiction Johnson's Rasselas and
Robert Paltock's Peter Wilkins provide rich
instances of the image of human flight in satire
and romance, and offer rough and fascinating
outlines of issues that would . become central in
later works of science fiction, notable in Well's
The War in the Air and Stapledon's Last and First
MICHAEL R. COLLINGS, Pepperdine University, "Science
Fiction and the Cliche: The Sociology of Meaning
The consensus of most science fiction critics is
that the genre is essentially a development of the
late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and
reflects the needs and concerns of industrialized,
bureaucratized, impersonalized society. Similar
conclusions have been reached concerning the
cliche. The parallels between the function of the
cliche in modern society and the history and
development of science fiction as a twentieth
century genre, suggest that the two have much in