Sunday, September 9, 2012

Infinite Summer #12: Should this book be considered science fiction?

OK, so we've read enough of this book to argue the point.

Here are some interesting view points

1] Infinite Summer #7: Is Infinite Jest Science Fiction?
2] Is Infinite Jest Science Fiction?
3] Why IJ Doesn't Really Count as Science Fiction

This is a hand-out that I give the students when we talk about SF.
No, we don't even begin to talk about all the sub-genres only those we will come across throughout the school year.

Here's what I say
I suppose it does fall under some sort of alternate or futuristic type of SF. And, it does thoroughly follow the definition...I don't know where I found that definition:

1. Takes a scientific hypothesis (there are several for this book...I'm focusing on one for this exercise)
Our need for technology really doesn't plug us in and help us to communicate. It just gives us one more piece of entertainment to be addicted to and this addiction alienates us even more from our fellow man.

2. Vision of what life would be like if the hypothesis were true
People would be selfish and narrow minded. Even those that had feelings, even those that bothered to think would be squashed by society and by 'the machine' (cue Pink Floyd). To beat 'the machine' we have to join it? It hurts me that I am part of 'the machine'...and, yet, I don't want to be like Thoreau and live in the woods either.

                                                         "Welcome To The Machine"

Welcome my son, welcome to the machine.
Where have you been? It's alright we know where you've been.
You've been in the pipeline, filling in time,
provided with toys and Scouting for Boys.
You bought a guitar to punish your ma,
And you didn't like school, and you know you're nobody's fool,
So welcome to the machine.
Welcome my son, welcome to the machine.
What did you dream? It's alright we told you what to dream.
You dreamed of a big star, he played a mean guitar,
He always ate in the Steak Bar. He loved to drive in his Jaguar.
So welcome to the machine.

3. Uses scientific imagination to tell a story about consequences and holds a mirror up to tomorrow in order to examine contemporary life
The world of this novel is so similar to our own that I find myself questioning basic idioms I've always believed to be true. You know "It's no longer recreational if you have to do it to survive. It's an addiction." seems that DFW would argue if it ever was recreational at all. We just allowed ourselves to think that. I also wonder about television addiction and Facebook and even blogging. Am I communicating or am I just glorifying myself. What aspects of new technology help us to become more global and what aspects hinder our growth. Infinite Jest is Science Fiction.

What do you all think?

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...