The Dystopian novel is a strange subspecies in literature. While it shares many aspects with the traditional science fiction novel, it is rarely categorized with science fiction. Whereas it might satirize the Utopian socialist fantasy of the perfect society, the satire is usually exchanged for righteous anger. The protest novel lurks at the heart of the Dystopian novel. Since the Dystopian novel is out to make an important statement about the world, critics are able to latch onto it like barnacles and deliver the same sermons. Harold Bloom compared 1984 to Orwell's example of the good bad novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, but still succumbed to the siren song of the Dystopian novel that belts out "Listen! We're talking about BIG IMPORTANT ISSUES!" With sadly characteristic arrogance and ignorance, Harold Bloom declares that "Cyberpunk science fiction has nothing to match Huxley's outrageous inventions."(Bloom AWH: BNW 1) Bloom is claiming that genetic engineering, societal encouragement of drug usage and anti-familial birthing chambers are somehow "outrageous" while the staples of cyberpunk virtual reality, artificial intelligence that creates programs to imitate voodoo gods, and fragmented communities with their own internal logic pale compared to such cliches. From this statement alone, one doubts that Harold Bloom has ever heard of Bruce Sterling, William Gibson or Neal Stephenson, much less has read these pioneers of the cyberpunk genre.Harold Bloom is not alone.
[...] Three generations of an egalitarian Israeli army and Margaret Thatcher can never persuade the Patais of the world from this silliness.Daphne Patai is using Swastika Night as a launch pad for her own tedious papers on the dangers of "patriarchy". If Swastika Night wasn't such a boring book, there might be even more critics jumping on the Swastika Night bandwagon, but thankfully, Burdekin wrote a series of tedious little sermons, barely disguised as fiction, and only Daphne Patai found those sermons terribly compelling. [...]
[...] The Dystopian novel is not a novel so much as a sermon dressed up with the barest of fiction. Few Dystopian novels manage to break out of their sermonizing to tell a story that has much value as a fiction. For a Dystopian novel to succeed as art, it must fail as a political sermon. And vice versa. For the purpose of this paper I will discuss Swastika Night in comparison with the two most famous Dystopian novels - Brave New World and 1984 which have managed to reverberate with audiences after their initial success. [...]
[...] Warrick's essay "The Encounter of Taoism and Fascism in The Man in the High Castle" she opens by saying that: Critical opinion regarding The Man in the High Castle is mixed It has been noted that: no character has a viewpoint wide enough to see the whole picture; Dick is guilty of a political blunder in assuming a victorious Japanese fascism would be radically better than a German one; the complex narrative structure and variety of characters are dismaying; the ending, in which novelist Hawthorne Abendsen admits to Juliana Frink that Germany and Japan really lost the war, vitiates the novel as science fiction. [...]
[...] Unfortunately the marvelous opening gives way to tedious belaboring of a point. The introduction serves to set up the society from the perspective of Hermann the unquestioning Nazi who lusts after a boy singer quickly hurries out when the women come into church reminisces about seeing the women's service with disgust and reminds the reader that women have no souls(9). The narrative shifts clumsily to the women's service as the yet unnamed knight reads from the rules for women (12-14) mistakenly tells them to have girl children and muses that "If a woman could rejoice publicly in the birth of a girl, Hitler Dom would start to crumble"(14). [...]
[...] John Savage is one of the most Victorian heroes to ever land in a 1930s book. Catherine Burdekin follows Percy Greg's lead in playing with the totalitarian gender roles and exaggerates. Hermann views all women with disgust. Every character must remind us that women are considered non- human. Von Hess enters the picture and explains the history as well as the "Reduction of Women". In Von Hess's portion of the book, Burdekin presents her most damning critiques of male dominance and female capitulation. [...]
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