Messianism and SF

Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower and Ursula K Le Guin’s The Dispossessed are both works which self-consciously conceptualize writing as a form of messianism. Le Guin’s ansible, a technology which allows people separated by space-time to become contemporaries, operates as an ambiguously utopian theorization of the ends of literature. In a non-trivial way the ansible allows for the resurrection of the dead. Likewise, the Earthseed book in Parable of the Sower is a holy text which is aimed at offering its adherents a place “among the stars;” it is a text which seeks to inaugurate a teleology towards an astral eden through the molding of entropy, the single phenomenon which lends the forward motion of time to our theories of physics. In this paper I take up the messianic conceptions of the temporal modalities of literature offered in these two works and place their respective political contexts in conversation. I inform this comparison of political contexts with the reception of these works in fan-zines.

Leave a Reply