Chronological linearity is being challenged by quantum physics that implies temporal simultaneity; by evolutionary theory that charts multiple time-lines; and by religious and political millenarianism that espouses an apocalyptic finitude of both time and space. While science, religion, and politics have generated new narrative forms of apprehending temporality, literary incarnations can be found in the worlds of science fiction.
By engaging classic science-fictional conventions, such as time travel, alternative history, and the end of the world, and by situating these conventions in their cultural context, this book offers a new and fresh perspective on the narratology and cultural significance of time.
Impossible topologies abound in ancient mythologies, from the Australian Aborigines’ "dream-time" to the multiple-layer universe of the Sumerians. More recently, from Alice’s adventures in Wonderland to contemporary science fiction’s obsession with black holes and quantum paradoxes, counter-intuitive spaces are a prominent feature of modern and postmodern narrative. With the rise and popularization of science fiction, the inventiveness and variety of impossible narrative spaces explodes. The author analyses the narrative techniques used to represent such spaces alongside their cultural significance. Each chapter connects narrative deformation of space with historical problematic of time, and demonstrates the cognitive and perceptual primacy of narrative in representing, imagining and apprehending new forms of space and time.
This book offers a comprehensive analysis of the connection between narratology, cultural theory, science fiction, and studies of place.