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DismantlingsWords against Machines in the American Long Seventies$
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Matt Tierney

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781501746413

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501746413.001.0001

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(p.93) Chapter 4 Distortion

Matt Tierney

Cornell University Press

This chapter talks about distortion as a form of dismantling. It describes distortion as the historical and theoretical technique by which readers learn to approach political documents as if they were science fiction. When considered as a vehicle of distortion, literature is measured for its potential to alter exploitative conditions, like those of war, patriarchy, and racism. The science fiction writer Samuel R. Delany insists that transformative change takes shape neither in utopian nor in dystopian visions of the future, but rather in efforts toward significant distortion of the present. This attitude, which is also a theory and practice of literature, is one way to describe the inheritance of cyberculture in the works of writers and activists who employed speculative language to repurpose the thought of Alice Mary Hilton and the Ad Hoc Committee. These writers and activists focused not on the machines that would unveil the myth of scarcity, but instead isolate the forms of human life and relation that would follow the act of unveiling.

Keywords:   distortion, dismantling, science fiction, literature, transformative change, Alice Mary Hilton, cyberculture

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