Saturday, 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
inexplicable intrusion of the extraordinary into
the everyday. His "extraterrestrials" are really
updated versions of the trolls, dwarves, and elves
of fairy tales. E.T. is the best of his "suburban
fantasies" because it is closest to the fairy tale
pattern, following the psychological development
of a child. The character E.T. can be seen as
Jung's "eternal child" or child god and also as
the boy Elliott's magical alter ego, his repressed
animal side or budding sexuality, helping him to
Robert Sprich, Bentley College, Massachusetts. "'When
Worlds Collide': The Spectrum of Viewer Responses
to Star Wars and The empire Strikes Back."
Star Wars (1977) has become the top box office
success in film history, and its sequel, The Empire Strikes Back (1980), is also among the top
ten money-makers of all time. But a careful comparison of the two films leads to a paradox:
although the main characters and situation are
ostensibly the same and the plot-line is continued, the unconscious dynamics of audience responses are strikingly different. Star Wars is seen
as up-beat and life-affirming while its sequel
presents a pessimistic view of life.
Association and Pricksongs and Descants, Aldo us
Huxley's After Many a Summer Dies the Swan, and
Thomas Mann's Death in Venice.
Donald Palumbo, Northern Michigan University.
"Sexuality and the Allure of Fantasy Literature."
While fantasy alleviates our fear of death
obliquely by ever suggesting that the unknown in
general is merely the familiar transformed — and
directly through depictions of life after death,
forms of immortality, and resurrections — it also
more subtly releases us from the thrall of death
through its treatment of sexuality. For it is in
fantasy most specifically that sex — the precursor and symbol of life, of renewal, of the survival of the species despite the deaths of individuals — is death's antidote.
SATURDAY, MARCH 26
1 1 A. M. - 1 2 : 3 0 P. M.
SEXUALITY AND THE FANTASTIC IN LITERATURE AND FILM
Chair: Donald Palumbo, Northern Michigan University.
Anthony Ambrogio, Wayne State University. "The Sexual
Subtext of Ridley Scott's Alien: or, In Space, No
One Can Hear Your Primal Scream."
In Alien (1979), the Nostromo's crew members do
not have sex because they are really children:
siblings not interested in sexual relations but
more concerned about their relationship with their
Mother (the ship's computer), a relationship complicated by the arrival of the Alien, a child-
molesting penis whose sole activity is indiscriminate rape, violation. Instead of protecting them,
their unfeeling, love-denying Mother colludes with
the beast. Caught between a rock and a hard
place, the children die from rape or its resultant
unnatural "childbirth," until one breaks free from
her no-longer-safe nest/womb, destroys both the
Alien and Mother, and midwives her own "birth"/rebirth.
Ann R. Morris, Stetson University. "The Dialectic of
Sex and Death in Fantasy."
Contrary to Jung's concept of eros and thanatos as
"the great instinctual adversaries," literary
fantasy shows the complex dialectic between the
two. Man not only flees death in sexual fantasy
and fantasizes about death in the midst of copulation; he also welcomes death as a demon lover and
sees it, like sex, as a powerful creative stimulus. This ongoing, perhaps unresolvable dialectic
between sex and death is discussed in a number of
works, particularly John Irving's The World According to Garp, Robert Coover's Universal Baseball
NARRATIVE STRATEGIES IN
FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION
Chair: Olena Saciuk, Universidad Interamericana.
Carlos Hortas, Hunter College, CUNY. "Humor in the
Works of Jack Vance."
A comparison of Jack Vance's more "serious" fiction with some of his lighter works. The paper
will demonstrate that by the use of certain techniques such as inversion, incongruity, irony, and
a feeling for the absurd in human activity, Jack
Vance creates an effective and humorous parody of
certain science fiction conventions. The use of
parody is evidence of the health and vitality of a
genre that is able to poke fun at itself.
Ttam Dunn, Miami University, Hamilton. "A Comparison
of Narrative Structure in LeGuin's The Dispossessed and Pohl's Gateway."
Ursula K. LeGuin's The Dispossessed and Frederik
Pohl's Gateway make use of a plot-structuring
device which we may call metaphorically the "riffled" narrative; that is to say, in each case the
story is split halfway in its chronology and the
two halves are then "shuffled" so that the reader
in effect takes in both half-stories at the same
time. While both LeGuin and Pohl realize gains in
story impact from it, the gains are not the same.
Perhaps the long-standing criticism that science
fiction does not have the sophistication of main
stream writing misses the mark: it has its own
kind of sophistication and is evolving and developing critical forms and structures appropriate to
its particular undertaking.