China Mieville on “Cognition as Ideology: A Dialectic of SF Theory”

Wow. I only just came across this, but China Mieville–Hugo Award-winning author of Perdido Street Station, The Scar, Iron Council and The City and the City–gave an hour-long lecture at the University of Kansas in 2009 where he discussed the scholarly theory and political implications of science fiction, and the distinction between science fiction and fantasy. It’s fascinating analysis from a fascinating writer and thinker.

“The cognition effect is a function of charismatic authority. It is the surrender of the reader to the authority of the text, and the authority of the author function.”

Or in other words, the science in SF need not be plausible for the story to be ‘believable’, and for the reader to happily immerse themselves in the writer’s world–but only as long as the internal logic of the story is consistent, and the author presents the ‘science’ of the story’s universe in an authoritative–or charismatic–way.

Worth setting aside an hour for. Videos embedded below the jump.

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