FRIDAY, 11 A.M. - 12:>0 P.M.
Russ's We Who Are About To brings a feminist
perspective to the Crusoe-like survival story.
Angela Carter's Heroes and Villains depicts a
post-apocalyptic world in which a civilized woman
proves stronger than male barbarians. Thomas
Berger's Regiment of Women presents a dystopian
society in which sex roles have been completely
reversed. These novelists suggest the need for
transitional formulas that respond to the needs of
a culture whose stereotypes are in flux.
Patricia Frazer Lamb and Diana Veith, Westminster College. "Again, The Left Hand of Darkness: Androgyny or Homophobia?"
In Ursula LeGuin's The Left Hand of Darkness the
male, human narrator, Genii Ai, and the Gethenian,
Estraven, never consummate their mutual love,
ostensible because they are involved in a hazardous journey and their very survival would be
jeopardized by any expression of sexuality. A
more important motive, however, is that a sexual
relationship would undermine LeGuin's portrayal of
Gethenian androgyny in giving Estraven a biologically passive, subordinate role. Yet another
motive, contrarily, is that the relationship Genii
and Estraven establish during their terrible journey is more reminiscent of an asexual male-bond —
psychologically making theirs a homosexual, "forbidden" love that cannot be fulfilled.
Lillian M. Heldreth, Northern Michigan University.
"Speculations on Heterosexual Equality: Was It in
the Beginning, or Shall It Ever Be?"
Authors such as Vonda Mclntyre have successfully
portrayed women as active "heroes," in control of
their sexuality and their destiny. Others cannot
get away from an ideal of male domination even in
stories of female warriors, or have tried looking
backward to a golden age of woman-dominated goddess-worship which may never have existed. O/er a
period of time the works of some authors, like
Marion Zimmer Bradley and Anne McCaffrey, reveal
tremendous growth in their ability to imagine
women in positive roles. Perhaps Ursula K. LeGuin
is the most successful at imagining situations in
which equality might actually work. And yet the
possibility still exists that James Tiptree, Jr.,
is right in holding that equality is as impossible
as nonviolence for society as a whole.
FRIDAY, MARCH 2 5
1 1 A. M. - 1 2 : 3 0 P. M.
ANIMALS AND SOCIAL SATIRE II
Chair: Christa-Maria Beardsley, Indiana University at
Hallam Walker, Davidson College, North Carolina. No
Michele K. Langford, Pepperdine University, California.
While apparently pursuing a tradition when he
writes his Natural History, Felix Labisse renews
totally this literary "lieu commun." The beasts
that he identif ies,classifies, and describes are
not to be found in the real world but spring forth
from the depths of his imagination. As an artist
and poet Labisse gives consistency to the
creatures that dwell in his secret world. He does
so, however, with great humor, and irony becomes
the incisive tool with which he carves portraits
of his contemporaries, turning at times the sharp
point toward himself.
Joseph J. Marchesani, Pennsylvania State University.
"Conditionally Satire: Walter M. Miller, Jr.'s
Although Walter M. Miller, Jr., is not usually
regarded as a satirist, at least one of his works,
"Conditionally Human," may be appreciated more
fully if it is considered as a satire. In
examining the work, this paper raises three
questions: (1) What is the subject of its satire?
(2) What practices does its satire exaggerate or
invert in order to transform our perception? (3)
What shared value does its satire affirm? In
answering these questions, the paper asserts that
"Conditionally Human" envisions a constrained
technology and a regressive humanity whose sense
of purpose in any larger moral scheme has been
lost. Miller's strategy for satirizing this predicament envisions a race of artificially enhanced
chimpanzees, called "neutroids," who are morally
legitimized through references to a Biblical order
of creation and redemption.
SCIENCE FICTION: THE NEW HUMANISM
Chair: Michael H. Palmer, Louisburg College.
Mark Siegel, university of Wyoming. "Science Fiction
Even though literature teachers have been slow to
embrace science fiction as humanistic literature
that might help to bridge the growing gap between
humanists and scientists, few artistic genres can
claim to be more broadly concerned with human
beings and their values, capacities, and achievements than science fiction. This paper describes
a course, "Science Fiction and Science," developed
after the author's participation in an NEH-spon-
sored program called Creating Connections. With
more universities every year adopting general
education requirements to stress interdisciplinary
learning and with the increasing understanding
that true humanism implies a much broader field of
knowledge than has often been allowed in the past,
courses like "Science Fiction and Science" may
assume a more central place in the curriculum.
David Ketterer, Concordia University. "Change, Truth,
and Sex in The Seedling Stars by James Blish."
The Seedling Stars is the most important of three
books that Blish wrote concerned with genetic
engineering. In this four-story sequence the
particular technique — one designed to fit human
beings to alien worlds — is called "pantropy"
which means "changing everything." But the question arises, if everything about a human being is,
or can be, changed, is the result still a human