By Ulrike Küchler, Silja Maehl, Graeme A. Stout
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Extra resources for Alien Imaginations: Science Fiction and Tales of Transnationalism
Unlike the passage from “The Exodus from London,” there is no telltale evocation of the Jew. Rather, what we have is a scene given meaning by a journalistic discourse in which there is a substitution, a metaphor, where instead of Jews hammering all night in their ﬁlthy, substandard housing, we have Martians acting, as it were, not like Jews, but as Jews. Important here is not Wells’ ingenuity as a writer, but his ability to eﬀect a substitution based on a discursively maintained anxiety about foreigners, not simply as strangers, but as presences known to be present, but somehow diﬀerently.
I am here suggesting—indeed I am arguing—that “was” and “war” likewise converge. The scene of writing that was interrupted by the war of the worlds structurally superimposes the was and the war, rendering here the ﬂicker that so intrigued Derrida in Joyce’s text. The alien invasion is not something one anxiously awaits, hallucinates (alien abduction is almost always about sexual reproduction) or prepares for. It, and the war it provokes, by virtue of the logic of debt/guilt, always was. Moreover, as Derrida insisted, this menacing ﬂicker grips language itself, a fact anticipated by Wells when his narrator says: In spite of Oglvy [an acquaintance of the narrator and early victim of the Martians], I still believed that there were men in Mars.
They create a mosaic of decontextualized artifacts and biographies that have lost their meaning and net of references. Their only remaining function is discursive preservation and ideologization, thus turning the Dream Realm into a state that is a space of the past without being a historical place. Of the former population only a blue-eyed clan stayed, while the new inhabitants of the Dream Realm, and its newly founded capital, Perle, are mainly Germans. 16 A short look at the story’s development illustrates how the narrative links the encounter with the alien other and alien art to assume a critical perspective on aesthetic concerns in general and those of the modern era in particular.
Alien Imaginations: Science Fiction and Tales of Transnationalism by Ulrike Küchler, Silja Maehl, Graeme A. Stout