2022 approaches and Academia Lunare is getting ready to launch Gillian Polack’s Story Matrices: Cultural Encoding and Cultural Baggage in the Worlds of Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Pre-orders will open at the end of February and the book will be available in paperback and ebook, on online retailers worldwide – and of course, on the publisher’s website.
About the book:
The culture we live in shapes us. We also shape the culture we live in. Stories we tell play critical roles in this shaping. The heart of cultural transmission is how stories and the way we shape knowledge come together and make a novel work. How do they combine within the novel? Genre writing plays a critical role in demonstrating how this transmission functions. Science fiction and fantasy illustrate this through shared traditions and understanding, colonialism, diasporic experiences, own voices, ethics, selective forgetting and silencing. They illuminate ways in which speculative fiction is important for cultural transmission. This study uses cultural encoding and baggage within speculative fiction to decode critical elements of modern English-language culture.
“Genre fiction in general answers critical questions about how we see ourselves and the stories we narrate. My first PhD looked at something equivalent: conceptions of time and the past in popular writing in the Middle Ages. That was over 30 years ago, and I’ve come back to my home turf and to the present. I am still an ethnohistorian/historiographer, however, and this informs my approach.
The important thing to note is that my work here does not undermine literary studies: it works alongside them. Instead of the focus being on the literary importance of a given work and how to understand it, the focus is on the cultural aspects of novels, that is to say, on novels as artefacts of culture.
The study uses cultural encoding and baggage within speculative fiction to decode critical elements of modern English-langauge culture. The culture we live in shapes us. We also shape the culture we live in. Stories we tell play critical roles in this shaping. The heart of cultural transmission is how these things come together and make a novel work. Especially how they combine with the world of the novel to communicate about the reader’s culture as well as the culture within the novel. Genre writing plays a critical role in this. How writers integrate issues such as shared culture, colonialism, diasporic culture, own voices, ethics, selective forgetting and silencing into their work illuminates ways in which speculative fiction is important for cultural transmission.”
About the Author:
Dr Gillian Polack is a Jewish-Australian science fiction and fantasy writer, researcher and editor and is the winner of the 2020 A Bertram Chandler Award. Her 2019 novel The Year of the Fruit Cake won the 2020 Ditmar for best novel and was shortlisted for best SF novel in the Aurealis Awards. She wrote the first Australian Jewish fantasy novel (The Wizardry of Jewish Women). Gillian is a Medievalist/ethnohistorian, currently working on how novels transmit culture. Her work on how writers use history in their fiction (History and Fiction) was shortlisted for the William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review. Discover Gillian’s blog here, and follow her on Twitter, @GillianPolack.