utorak, 20. studenoga 2012.

Hybrid storyspaces & Quantum fiction


O novim, hibridnim prostorima pripovijedanja, o učincima novih televizualnih i kibernetičkih medijskih prostora (YouTube, blogovi, Google mape, Yahoo Jukebox) na pisanje, o novim žanrovima (videoclip novels, zapping fiction, docufiction, hypertext), novim procesima (mashups, mapping, sampling, remixing) i novim kritičkim forumima (blogovi, web-stranice, video-radovi, open-source publikacije). I što je to kvantna proza?


The Hybrid Storyspaces Project
Christine Henseler, Union College & Debra Castillo, Cornell University

In the spirit of an "urgent" redefinition of the critical enterprise in twenty-first century Hispanic literature, the Hybrid Storyspaces project is committed to a "real time" exchange of scholarly endeavors in contemporary Hispanism, one that provides a multimedia and open resource for further writing, thinking, and exchange.
The goal of Hybrid Storyspaces is to contribute to the rethinking of transnational Hispanic literary theory and practice, taking into account the evolving literary forms of our time. On this site, collaborators examine the contributions to theory and practice suggested by new, hybrid spaces of storytelling, including the effects of new televisual and cybernetic media spaces (YouTube, blogs, Google maps, Yahoo Jukebox), new genres (videoclip novels, zapping fiction, docufiction, hypertext), new processes (mashups, mapping, sampling, remixing), and new critical forums (blogs, webpages, videos, open-source publications).
Hybrid Storyspaces first came into existence as a collaborative endeavor between Christine Henseler (Union College) and Debra Castillo (Cornell University). On April 30-May 1st, 2010, Cornell University became the site of the Hybrid Storyspaces conference that brought together an intimate and dynamic group of authors, scholars, and graduate students. The goal of this conference was to rethink transnational Hispanic literary theory and practice through the lens of new media technologies. In line with this theoretical goal, we encouraged a hybrid presentation format. We asked that participants not present papers at this conference, but rather create interactive and/or multimedia presentations whose goal it was to enter into physical and virtual dialogue with one another. We encouraged interdisciplinary, collaborative and interactive presentations-live wires and ideas in motion rather than fixed and finished products. The result of many of these discussions and interactions can be found on this site as well as at the Mario Einaudi Center for international Studies / Latin American Studies Program site.Given the success and enthusiasm over this conference, we compiled and requested expanded, additional, and translated essays that was published by the Hispanic Issues On Line Series under the title Hybrid Storyspaces: Redefining the Critical Enterprise in Twenty-First Century Hispanic Literature. These essays are available for free, and we present links to the essays on some of the pages included on this site.
Onto this site, we welcome working papers and finished products on the theory and practice of hybrid storyspaces in twenty-first century Hispanic literature in print and across platforms. Contributors can present ideas and interpretations of varying lengths and formats, in progress or in semi-completion, essays or multimedia material that allow authors and readers to begin sharing, collaborating and commenting on each other’s work. In addition, we welcome blog comments that can be placed on our official "Hybrid Storyspaces Blog" page.
We hope to receive your comments, workings papers, conference papers, blogs, multimedia or other material (in English or Spanish). Please send any submissions to both Christine Henseler (henselec@union.edu) and Debra Castillo (dac9@cornell.edu)

Writing in the Age of Quantum F®iction:
Science, Technology and “Actualism” in Mutantes Fiction 

A conversation between Christine Henseler, Germán Sierra
and Vicente Luis Mora

Christine Henseler: On page 51 of Teleshakespeare, Jorge Carrión presents a section called “La ficción cuántica” and begins by stating: “Porque la de nuestros días es una ficción cuántica.” As a literary critic with no background in sciences, I first cringed at the terminology—“What the hell is quantum fiction? Then I approached my friend, Google, for some explanations and my “quantum” knowledge quickly quantified. Jorge’s ideas on quantum fiction were mind-altering. I went in search of the quantum world and found myself intrigued by the literary possibilities of redefining the Mutantes’ relationship to their/your metafictional/metamedia construction of reality on multiple planes, or in Jorge’s words “la multiplicidad simultánea de estados (51).”
In the process of reading about both quantum fiction and reading Jorge’s work, I began to ask myself a series of questions, questions that relate to the way quantum fiction connects to the use and design of new media technologies as used in the fiction of all of you Mutantes writers. Spinning off of the work of Jorge, I too believe that the lens of quantum fiction allows for a more broad umbrella term that can connect paradigms related to technology, to science, and to linguistic innovation.

Although I realize that you may already be familiar with this term, what I present to you below is an overview of the use of the term, some thoughts on its relationship to technology, and a few paragraphs from the work of Susan Strehle’s book on Fiction in the Quantum Universe (1992). I would like to invite you to comment on any and all sections, expand on them from an academic or scientific viewpoint, and give examples from your works (if you are an author) that might fit into this category, might contradict it, or might expand on it. (Christine Henseler)

What are the characteristics of quantum fiction?

I learned that term “quantum fiction” was first used by American novelist Vanna Bonta in her novel Flight: A Quantum Fiction Novel (1996). On Wikipedia it says that Bonta used the term “to define stories in which consciousness affects physics and determines reality; in her words, ‘the genre is broad and includes life.’ Bonta further explains her development of this new genre by stating that, "I don't write science fiction. Science fiction is a niche genre, defined by Ray Bradbury as depiction of the real. 'Quantum fiction' is the realm of all possibilities, and that is a core passion of my work. The genre is broad, and includes life because fiction is an inextricable part of reality in its various stages, and vice versa.” [i]
Although I find this description rather broad, a few observations may be made at this point:

A.  Bonta’s reference to quantum fiction’s broadness and relationship to life may be related to the Spanish Mutantes’ authors reference to Levy’s cosmopedia or Agustín’s Fernández Mallo’s reference to “lecturas transversales” (with the word ‘’transversales” directly speaking to the existence of various states or planes).
B. Bonta clearly distinguishes quantum fiction from science fiction. I find this to be a very important distinction since the line between the two genres is being redrawn every day, and since I think (correct me if I am wrong) that the work of the Mutantes may want to distinguish itself quite distinctively from science fiction (even though I realize that some science fiction texts have been included under this umbrella term of the Mutantes).
C. Bonta differentiates her work from science fiction by saying that the latter depicts “the real” while quantum fiction describes “the realm of all possibilities.” Although this is counter intuitive, I think this seemingly contradictory perspective may lead to an innovative approach to combine the Mutantes’ perspective on reality with their linguistic innovation as based in new media technology. The work of Strehl below will make this more clear.

Here are a few definitions of quantum fiction derived from the following Velocity Books website:


1) A genre of literature in which otherwise supernatural, paranormal or fantasy elements are made plausible by elements of quantum science in the story;
Christine Henseler: quantum fiction here sounds like magical realism. How is it different when viewed through quantum science?

Germán Sierra: More than magical realism, this definition suits fantasy/science fiction based on the extrapolation of quantum mechanics to the human level. It might be fun, but it it is not conceptually different from any other kind of sci-fi.
2) Literary genre coined by American novelist Vanna Bonta to define stories that hinge on the quantum view of reality, categorizing fiction that identifies human consciousness as an inextricable component of physical reality; "the genre is broad and includes Life";

Christine Henseler: As in the case above, I would ask what elements of human consciousness are you exposing in your texts that other writers in Spain are not?

Germán Sierra: This is a much more interesting assertion, and it can be understood in two ways:

1- Human consciousness and the human mind are undoubtedly part of the physical reality. What we call “mind” is a property of a level of matter organization. In other words: under some conditions, matter organizes itself into “mind” or “consciousness”.

2- We do not perceive an objective “reality”. What we call “reality” is a construction produced by us (not just “the brain”, because a brain is an integrated part of the body, and not a single, isolated human, but a community of interacting humans) through physical interactions with the environment. Living beings are hypothesis about their environments, and perceptions need not to be “accurate” but “performative” —This is, favorable for the surviving of the species.
In this sense, the physical reality we work with is “mediated” by the particular organization of physical reality that has become “us”.

It is quite difficult not to note that literature pretending the representation of an “objective” reality is deeply rooted on idealism.

Vicente Luis Mora: I agree with Germán in this. Even in the case that there could be an objective reality out of us, our knowledge and physical capacities don’t allow us to have an appropriate an direct impression of it. We are polluted, as Descartes and Pascal described, for our limited senses and our incapability of thinking about infinite concepts with finite means and finite instruments. The majority of narrators and poets in Spain (and outside the country) they have a narrow and childish vision of reality that is called “naive realism”. From the perspective of epistemology, is an absolute “cul de sac” which blocks a correct vision or envision of what reality can be.

3) Stories where the material world (empirical science) and an unquantified animating force (spirit/the observer) meet;

Christine Henseler: In this observation I find utterly important the reference to the material world as it relates to human observation and perception. For, what I think distinguishes your work from others is this axis, and especially the scientific knowledge base you bring to the table.

Germán Sierra: This is more or less responded in my previous response to question #2. Perception is the result of complex interactions among elements of organized matter. Of course, translating this idea in a literal way would result in a scientific paper, not a fiction work. But this is metaphorized in different ways along my fictional work.

4) Stories in which theme, character or plot pivots on some aspect of quantum mechanics, such as the wave-particle duality of matter where reality behaves as both particle (solid) and wave (energy), depending on the observer (characters, point of view);

Christine Henseler: I find this fascinating and I wonder whether you think your works present characteristics defined by quantum mechanics. If so, how?

Germán Sierra: I never think about my work as defined by a particular scientific theory, such as quantum mechanics or N-dimensional spaces, or evolution. However, some of this ideas are probably there when I’m writing. In my forthcoming novel Standards, I consciously play with some of these ideas, and this is made clear by introducing some quotes by scientists who worked in these disciplines (though not particularly quantum mechanics...) Agustín Fernández Mallo did something similar in most of his books. Confronting a scientific description with a literary one creates a double viewpoint that could be metaphorically understood as a wave/particle duality. This is an example:

        Working with spaces that have many dimensions is actually something everyone does every day, although admittedly most of us don’t think that way. But consider all the dimensions that enter into your calculations when you make an important decision, like buying a house. You might consider the size, the schools nearby, the proximity to places of interest, the architecture, the noise level—and the list goes on. You need to optimize in a multidimensional context, enumerating all your desires and needs.

           The number of dimensions is the number of quantities you need to know to completely pin down a point in a space. The multidimensional space might be an abstract one, such as the space of features you are looking for in a house, or it might be concrete, like the physical space [...] You can think of the number of dimensions as the number of quantities you would record in each entry in a database—the number of quantities you find worth investigating. (Lisa Randall, Warped Passages)

        Los viajeros, detenidos por su abundancia, se dejan servir cafés y bocadillos. Acampan al amparo de la cúpula de acero y vidrio laminado rodeando las mesas con sus equipajes de cabina —siempre mayores de lo que permite el reglamento— y sus compras de última hora, todo ello amontonado al azar en las cestas de los carritos: el cartón de tabaco, las botellas de licores autóctonos, el juguete recién llegado a los escaparates, el regalo nimio de marca prestigiosa para la esposa o el marido. Cada cual parece convencido de la inminente revocación de su condena a la inmovilidad y, entretanto, todos ellos aparentan concentración; trabajos importantes que se llevan consigo a todas partes. Son barridos, arrastrados a un disco, por las cámaras de seguridad.

5) Any tale highlighting elements such as synchronistic adventures (entanglement theory), multi-dimensional reality, interactive metaverses, nonlinear time or consciousness as a participant in the creation of physical reality.

Christine Henseler: As a literature centered the human and literary effects of technology, on an implicit or explicit level, I wonder if you can expand on these ideas.

How do new media contribute to the creation of quantum fiction? From the perspective of quantum fiction, what happens when we move between media technologies?

In Teleshakespeare Jorge says, “la ficción cuántica se apropia sin ambages de su naturaleza de marketing, de su ambición tecnológica e integradora, de su condición viral, y la resemantiza; entronca con las poéticas que hicieron conceptualmente posible la existencia transmediática y las reivindica por su poder de difusión e influencia (Cervantes, Sterne, Duchamp, Borges, Godard, Moore); reivindica el arte como complejidad científica, como crítica social e histórica, como vehículo de conocimiento disfrazado de vehículo de entretenimiento” (55)

Christine Henseler: In what Henry Jenkin’s calls “transmedia,” different media outlets provide different renditions of a particular piece of work. Although one could combine them all into a series of parallel renditions that, together, might display a more multidimensional set of abstractions, I do not think that they necessarily lead to quantum fiction. The difference in my mind is precisely in the commercial value attributed to many transmedia techniques and products vs, the metaphysical appreciation of different realms identified through more complex literary techniques. So, I wonder, to what degree does quantum fiction naturally embody the transmedia world of entertainment? To what degree might it always be left out given its complex and multi-dimensional view of reality—or is it this multidimensionality that inherently feeds into its transmediality?

Fiction in the Quantum Universe (1992) by Susan Strehle

Strehle says that fiction has been marked by a dual dynamics in which it either represents life in a realistic fashion or it centers on the antirealistic processed of artistic processes” (1), often referred to as “metafiction, irrealism, counterrealism, surfiction, disruptive fiction and parafiction,” even postmodernism (3). As such, the history of literature shows that critics regard all contemporary authors who have abandoned realism as having abandoned reality in the same stroke. But, according to Strehle, contemporary fiction departs from realism without losing interest in reality. She gives the example of a comment made by Pynchon in an introduction to a collection of short stories, Slow Learner. He said: “In fact the fiction….that moved and pleased me then as now was precisely that which had been made luminous, undeniably authentic by having found and taken up, always at a cost, from deeper, more shared levels of the life we all really live” (4). Strehle explains that writers like Pynchon, Atwood, Barth, Coover, Gaddis , and Barthleme, “want fiction to comment on a lived reality through the pane of art. [. . .] They affirm both art …and the real world” (5)

Christine Henseler: In the above words I can’t help but think of what appears as contradictory remarks about Agustín’s works, namely that he writes docufiction, but that he is an experimentalist (which he denies). I think that the idea of quantum fiction might allow both to coexist, and even allow for the inclusion of technology without emptying the real into notions of the hyperreal or the simulated (two terms I have always found troublesome).

Germán Sierra: This is a very interesting remark. Realism, as said before, has been constructed on the idea of an immutable “reality” which is, in fact, a derivative of Platonic idealism. The debate between “realistic” and “antirealistic” fiction cannot be understood outside the idealistic framework. A complex reality can only be approached through “experimentation”, that is, the creation of models based in previous matter organizations and their posterior selection by interactions with the world. Most authors try to avoid the word “experimental”, because “experimental literature” is often identified with a particular type of experiments: namely the formal experiments of the modern avangardists. In this view, “experimental literature” is required to produce something that is “completely new”. Over this misunderstanding, critical attacks against contemporary experimentalists are not infrequent, based on the assumption that “they are not doing anything that has not been done before”.
owever, this criticism would be absurd in a scientific discipline. Scientists are not supposed to create “something new” with every experiment, but to learn something from the experimental setting they’re studying. Once we accept that “reality” is a hypercomplex set of interactions, the best way to approach it is, precisely, through the production of models based on the existing information. For me, the “coefficient of experimentality” of a work of art does not depend exclusively on its internal structure, but also on the aspects of “reality” it tries to reach.
Of course, technology and all its products are as “real” and “physical” as a house, a mountain or a memory. And our perception of a technological representation (a picture or a fMRI image) is as “simulated” as the perception of any non-technological entity (such as the sea or ourselves).

Vicente Luis Mora: I can’t remember exactly where, but in some occasions Agustín defended his process of creation as experimental in the scientific way: essay + error. Its a vision that share other scientific writers as Javier Fernández, Germán or Javier Moreno. Agustín has pointed indeed towards many ways of technological depict or construction of reality: morphing, pixel, augmented reality. In fact his work would work like another technical way of create reality.   

Strehle argues that the above-mentioned writers, “form a challenging new fiction that is based on the awareness of interpretation as an interactive process. While the neorealists attempted, often in subtle ways, to see things as they really are, and while the metaficionists or neomodernists bring theoretical intelligence to late idealism that spins reality out of the mind, these other writers engage the double but undivided nature of art as the human interpretation of a nonhuman reality” (6).

Christine Henseler: I find these words quite enlightening because I think it is important to define you as writers through the Spanish tradition of realism and neorealism, but then explain how you move beyond those traditional terms based on the binary of realism/antirealism. The words I underline above seem especially important in this redefinition of yourselves, do you agree?

Germán Sierra: I would rather say “the nature of art as the human interpretation of a non-anthropocentric reality", because “nonhuman” still has a dualistic nuance. Besides that, I think the Strehle fragment is quite accurate to define what Mutant writers do (or, at least, what I try to do). "Nonhuman reality" could be also interpreted as a reality of radical uncertainty, a continuous flow in which human categories and predictions are almost immediately contradicted. Fiction would then just be able to take an "instant picture" of one of the sucesive strates of the system, of a singular event which is the product of a complex random event. I have tried to reflect this "singular events" (R. E. Ulanowicz, The Thirds Wind w, 2009) in some of my stories (http://www.guernicamag.com/fiction/5/ions/)

On the other hand, Spanish realism and neorealism are more related to the adscription of realist writers and their literary work to a single and stable "identity" ("I am a romantic writer, so my novels are about love" or "I am a political writer, so I write about social exclussion") The problem is not with the interpretation of "human" realities,  but with the representation of humanistic illusions, both by the public persona of the author and by his work. In this environment, writing about identities as interactive processes and/or commercial goods adquired and used for each occassion, is seen as "unrealistic". There are many ways to write a "realist" story selecting material from a world of radical uncertainty, but it is unlikely that a "realist writer" might accept the existence of radical uncertainty

To understand writers position between realism and antirealism, Strehle suggests the use of the word “actualism,” a term that derives from new physics to represent the way reality is understood by the culture at large (6). In physical science the term derives from “a distinction Werner Heisenberg makes between the actual and the real. At the subatomic level, he says, reality is not real, but it is active, dynamic, ‘actual.’” (7)
Strehle says that, “at the subatomic level, reality is discontinuous or quantized; particles make quantum leaps from one energy state to another. Subatomic reality is energy, rather than matter, for particles whose position and velocity cannot be determined can’t be said to “exist” as things” (9).

Christine Henseler: Would you say that your work develops a subatomic reality?

Vicente Luis Mora: In my poetry subatomic concepts are essential. Nova and specially Tiempo are books about the construction of Universe, physic laws, particles and scientific observation of reality. I think that my vision is very similar to American poet A. R. Ammons cosmogony. Ammons essayed to build an poetic/scientific observation of Nature. Subatomic aesthetic does not entails a fatalistic or deterministic perspective, as maybe Michel Houellebecq’s is; on the contrary, I defend that Science is a profound and rich Humanism that show us the liberty and intellectual development of the Human being. Looking in a smaller way is looking in a closer way, that’s all.

In a separate piece on the fiction of Guyanese writer Wilson Harris, the author of the article talks about how Harris “finds analogies between his art and quantum physics, in which sub-atomic particles behave in startling ways. ‘The quantum concept is that if one fires out an object, it breaks into particles and waves. Conventional novelists go along a linear road, but the quantum split can bring the past into the present in a new art of fiction.’"[ii]

Christine Henseler: After just having read and worked on Agustín Fernández Mallo’s fiction, especially the Nocilla trilogy, I could not help but think of his “Catástrofe’s de primera y segunda especie” as an example of the unexpected ways of subatomic behavior.

Strehle explains how physics has changed our perception of reality, starting with the work of Einstein in 1905 and ending with Niels’ Bohr in 1927. She summarizes these changes, this new reality, as being “relative, discontinuous, energetic, statistical, subjective, and uncertain” (13). These changes are not totally new, nor were they perceived only in physics, but were felt in everything from psychoanalysis (Lacan), philosophy (Foucault), and literary theory (Derrida). Subsequently, quoting Norman Mailer, she argues that “reality is no longer realistic” (14), but rather “actual,” “for they act, they produce tangible effects, but you cannot call them ‘real,’ because they cannot be described as res, as things” (14).

Strehle says that, “With its roots not in things but in acts, relations, and motions, actualism describes a literature that abandons the old mechanistic reality without losing interest in the external world. Where ‘real’ evokes the thing fixed in space, ‘actual’ refers to the ‘action or existence’ of phenomena in space-time; according to the OED, it implies action that is ‘present, current,’ not eternal or absolute. [. . .] Finally, the dual meaning of “to act” as both ‘to make’ and ‘to fake’ gives actualism’ special relevance for a fiction that describes and embodies both sorts of acts” (14).

What might be the relationship between quantum fiction, technology, and your construction of “actuality”?

Critics are too quick to judge your work through the supposedly superficial lens of media technology. Television, film, the Internet, Facebook, blogs are worthless to a world marked by the material reality of the sacred Word on a page. To remove the word from the page, to place it into or in relation to digital media supposedly fragments and empties its significance. Subsequently, stories lose meaning; identities are disenfranchised; literary value is lost.

But as we know, Facebook can charge revolutions. Media technologies can recharge the Word.

A media technology is not only as good as the programming of its software application or the design of its features, but the use of these features in the actual world. According to Strehle’s words above “actuality” does not deny reality, but rather places it within a different space-time coordinate in the literary act of making a perceived reality present. Your work might depart from realism, but you do not, as Strehle suggests, lose interest in reality.

Strehle says that, “in the quantum universe, space and time aren’t separate, predictable, and absolute; narratives can’t steer by the fixed [poles that guided realistic fiction. …their fiction considers twentieth-century history, politics, science, and discourse: in short, the actual world.

Instead of the writers’ reflections on art, the criticism of contemporary fiction can only gain by recognizing these writer’s mixed choices and plural aims: rather than choosing between art and actuality, contemporary novelists pursue both in fiction” (Strehle)

Consider the idea that through the prism of quantum fiction authors can create worlds that are richer in the multileveled and interlinked notions of reality, between the deepest levels of the physical world, through physics, mathematics, and metaphysics, which gives meaning to it all. In the words of Will Arntz, "If physics is the bones, then metaphysics supplies the tissue and meat and body."[iii]

To talk about quantum fiction means opening the metafictional dimension of reality itself—integrating into ourselves it that which cannot be explained in order to present dimensions that move beyond a reality that can be explained.

~ Christine Henseler


[i] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Tlogmer/Quantum_fiction
[ii] http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2006/dec/16/featuresreviews.guardianreview15

[iii] http://www.scienzaeconoscenza.it/articolo/a-quantum-fable-fiction-and-physics-on-film-versione-inglese-e-italiana.php

Post-Digitalism and Contemporary Spanish Fiction
Germán Sierra

Germán Sierra: Neuroscientist and author of contemporary innovative fiction. I got my MD and PhD degrees at the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain) before doing postdoctoral research in cognitive neuroscience with Prof Joaquin Fuster at the Brain Research Institute in UCLA. I currently work at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain), where I am Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Principal Investigator of the Neurochemistry of Epilepsy Laboratory at the Medical School. I have done extense research in the neurochemistry of the hippocampus during experimental epileptic seizures. My work has been published in major Neuroscience and Neurology journals as well as in several Neuroscience and Neurology books both in English and Spanish. As a writer, I am deeply interested in contemporary experimental fiction. I have been included in the so called "Nocilla generation", "Mutantes" or "Afterpop writers": an emergent group of Spanish writers who are strongly committed with innovative literature. Most of my fictional work deals with metamediatics and the role of science and technology as cultural discourses in postmodern and posthuman societies. I have published four novels (El Espacio Aparentemente Perdido, Debate, Spain, 1996; La Felicidad no da el Dinero, Debate, Spain, 1999; Efectos Secundarios, Debate, Spain, 2000 and Intente usar otras palabras, Mondadori, Spain, 2009) and a book of short stories (Alto Voltaje, Mondadori, Spain, 2004). My novel Efectos Secundarios was awarded with the Jaen Prize in 2000. Besides, my fictional work has been published in several anthologies both in Spanish and English, and my essays are in books about contemporary culture, technology and writing.

This presentation analyzes the works of authors such as Eloy Fernández Porta, Robert Juan-Cantavella, Agustín Fernández Mallo, Juan Francisco Ferré and others, and explain how some concepts related to post-digitality, as currently used in electronic music and other arts, are useful to understand the recent work of the most representative contemporary Spanish authors. The impact of the digital on previously extremely mediated societies modifies reality before it is perceived or structured into coherent narratives. Thus, reality is often acquired as hyper-reality: a pre-rational mix of old-fashioned narrative discourses and non-discursive "databased" information. To the written account of the reception ("embodiment") of this digitally-processed hyper-reality ("mixed" reality), I call post-digital fiction. As Mark Hansen wrote about Danielewski's House of Leaves, post-digital literature is "a symptom of the impossibility of expressing the digital, of its resistance to orthographic capture". My presentation discusses the work of several contemporary Spanish fiction writers who have faced the challenge of the mediatization and digitalization of culture by locating their creative and critical practice "at the edge of chaos", creating new metaphors, possibilities for narrative innovation, interdisciplinary border crossings, hybrid networks and capacities for establishing new connections, absorbing and processing information from traditional and electronic media, market theory, science and technology, philosophy, metacreation, and the avangardist tradition of modernist, postmodernist and avant-pop literature.

Additional Resources
Website: www.germansierra.com  or  http://sites.google.com/site/sciandlit/
Email: german.sierra.paredes@usc.es
Twitter: http://twitter.com/german_sierra
Tumblr: http://germansierra.tumblr.com/

Twenty Years of Internet Exploration
Rosina Conde

Rosina Conde an artist and performer from Mexicali, Mexico, has published more than sixteen books including short stories, novels, poetry, theater, and essays; she has taped blues recordings, and has presented five performance art pieces in national and international venues. The winner of numerous prestigious national prizes, her work has been translated into English, French, and German. She was founder, and is currently a full time academic, in the Creative Writing Academy of the Autonomous University of Mexico City.

Additional Resources

Website: http://www.rosinaconde.com.mx/

Text and Internext: The Literary Change to Fluid Texts and its Effect in Current Narrative
Vicente Luis Mora

Vicente Luis Mora (Córdoba, 1970) is a writer, cultural gestor and researcher in the fields of literature and those related to new technologies. He has a PhD in Contemporary Spanish Literature, a degree in Law and studies in Philosophy. His work involves cultural and literary critique which he shares through his blog "Diario de Lecturas" and in magazines like Ínsula, Quimera, Clarín, Siglo XXI, Mercurio, Cuadernos del Sur and other digital mediums. He is the Director of the Center of the Institute of Cervantes in Alburquerque.

In the same way that exhibition, for artists like Philippe Parreno, is no longer the logical and only end of the creative process, the publication of the literary work in the form of a book is only one of the possible "happy endings" of writing these days. The new phenomena such as blogs, e-literature, text processors and digital readers allow writers to express themselves in many different ways which are shaking the old concepts of text, writing, authority and distribution. I explain the new possibilities in writing and publishing for the authors who take advantage of both worlds, with an emphasis on the writer as Textual artist. In reference to this, I explore a few cases in transatlantic literature in Spanish, using the example of my new novel, Alba Cromm (2010). Full text of this paper is available under attachments

Additional Resources
Website: http://www.vicenteluismora.com/
Blog: http://vicenteluismora.blogspot.com/
Email: vicenteluismora@yahoo.es

Close Readings of the Historic and Digital Avant-Gardes: An Archeology of Hispanic Kinetic PoetryEduardo Ledesma

Eduardo Ledesma (Barcelona-Spain, 1972) is a PhD candidate in the department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard University. Previously he had earned his MS in Structural Engineering and worked as a bridge designer and builder. His research is focused on Contemporary Peninsular -in Spanish, Catalan and Portuguese- and Latin American Literature (20th, 21st Century) as well as Film and Visual Culture, and New Media topics, especially those involving digital poetry and literature, but also museum based work such as installation and video art. He is currently spending a year in Barcelona, Spain, on a Fulbright grant, writing a dissertation on "The Historic Avant-garde and the Digital Age: Experimental Literary Forms in Barcelona, Madrid and Lisbon." which explores the relation between the historic avant-garde (1905-36) and digital literature (1995-2010) in three Iberian cities, considering its relevance to debates on emerging media, cultural literacy, international belonging and the status of existing art forms vis-a-vis the digital. Beyond the academic Eduardo is an avid distance runner.

"We pleasantly greet the avant-garde but we don't want to restrict our scope to any [artistic or aesthetic] category." These words from Catalan digital poets Lluis Calvo and Pedro Valdeolmillos encapsulate the complex relation between past and present in cyberpoetics. In telepoesis -and in filmic poetry- the innovative interplay of the figural and the textual in interactive environments (designed to immerse the reader-spectator) has arguably drawn on and magnified historic avant-garde notions of visual poetry. Despite the apparent newness of contemporary technological poetic experiments linking graphics, text, video and sound in multiple panes in an orgy of simultaneity, most media theorists recognize that the ‘new' in new media is and has always been part of a continuum with the past -all media as re-mediation,- and that the digital can be better understood when viewed in an archival context. It is in this framework that I explore the kinetic impulse in 20th century Catalan poetry from early attempts in the 1920's by Joan Salvat Papasseit to dynamize poems through analogies of movement, to Joan Brossa's kinetic poetry in the 60's, and most recently to the cyber kinetics present in digital poetry, such as Valdeolmillos and Calvo's web-based project Epimone. In his e-anthology The Circus, an anti-poem by installments (2007), Pedro Valdeolmillos presents animated poems, such as "Skirmish," a work where two capital A's deploy their dashes as foils in a duel whose dramatic potential is significantly heightened by the beat from an electronic soundtrack. The animated letters also relate to Joan Brossa's visual poetry which uses decontextualized letters, and in turn hail to Salvador Dalí's interest in "animating" the static and inanimate by way of any number of visual tricks-such as phosphenic repetition in The Accomodations of Desire (1929)- or, for that matter, his development and use of the paranoid-critical method. The shift from static to dynamic script also serves as a metaphor for reader participation, mimicking previous attempts by the avant-garde to expand reader-spectator roles. In digital poetry textual motion often produces new combinations of letters, words or phrases as time unfolds. Indeed contemporary Catalan cyber poetics defy spatial and temporal containment, promoting the productive intersection of performance, film and music in the sort of dynamic collages that partakes both of contemporary filmic and video aesthetics, while demonstrating the permanence and debt to their Modern past. After the implantation of the internet at a social level, more and more people turned to writing blogs as a way to give voice and publicity to their opinions, starting at times lively debates about the issues discussed. Until the advent of blogs, the only way in which people could contest mainstream ideas or participate in a public debate was in the form of "a letters-to-the-editors ghetto" (Barlow, Blogging America 4).Similarly, in recent years there has been a proliferation of literary blogs, in which authors and critics alike have found alternate ways to express opinions on literature, be it in the form of reviews or conversations, for example, or even in theAbstract publication of poems and short stories. My presentation will focus on the unprecedented relevance that blogs have had in the so-called "Generación Nocilla," a contested and problematic literary phenomenon that nonetheless has brought up to light the debate on what the 21st century literature should be like. My work will consider the impact that new tools of information and dissemination such as the aforementioned blogs, as well as podcasts and youtube videos are having and still may have in our conception and access to literature nowadays.

Additional Resources
Email: eledesma@fas.harvard.edu

Voice, Music and the Experience of the Neutral in Martín Rejtman’s Fictions
Irene Depetris Chauvin 


Ireni Depetris Chauvin is Pa ostdoctoral Researcher at University of
Buenos Aires - CONICET. In Argentina she studied history at the Universities of La Plata and Buenos Aires where she also taught social history. She has published articles on Argentine and Spanish cinema, on film soundtracks, and on Latin American intellectual history and cultural studies. Currently she is writing a dissertation that questions representations of youth vis-à-vis the market culture in literary works and films by contemporary authors from Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. Outside of her academic interests, she really enjosy music in all its forms, wine and cineclubismo.

AbstractMartín Rejtman's films (Rapado, 1992; Silvia Prieto, 1998, and Los guantes mágicos, 2003) and short stories (Velcro y yo, 1999) follow the journeys of an apathetic middle-class youth pauperized as a result of the Argentine economic crisis. These slacker narratives point towards the triviality of both the ideology of the market economy and identity politics. However, even in the more "flat" dimensions of meaning, the young characters capture glimpses of experience in which music incarnates as dance, escaping from the obvious senses to feel, intense and briefly, a significance. Drawing from Roland Barthes' idea of the grain of the voice and Deleuze's conception of difference in repetition, I discuss how in Rejtman's films and short stories music functions as an alternative mode of subjectivization. In the first part of the presentation I will analyze how electronic music, and in particular the notion of loop, informs Rejtman's short stories and allows to conceive experience in terms of a "present in progress." Secondly, through an analysis of the relation of the fictional characters with the films intra-diegetic music I demonstrate the importance of dance as a line of flight, or an escape through self-disappearance and detachment.

Additional Resources
Email: ireni22@gmail.com.

E-literature in Bytes and in Paper.The Digital Revolution inContemporary Literature from Spain 
Laura Borrás

The Bicephalous Writer: The Commingling of the Creative Writer and the
Jorge Carrión

Jorge Carrión was born in Tarragona (Spain) in 1976. He holds a Ph.D. in Humanities from the University Pompeu Fabra, where he teaches Contemporary Literature and Creative Writing. He was a member of the editorial board of the magazine side between 2002 and 2005 and the Board of Directors of Chimera magazine between 2006 and 2009. Cultural critic of the supplement is ABCD and writes for various Spanish and Latin American publications. He published The test against space travel. Juan Goytisolo and WG Sebald (Iberoamericana, 2009), Australia travel book. A trip (Berenice, 2008), The chronic skin of the mouth (Thrush Books, 2008), The artist's book GR-83 (Desktop Publishing, 2007), Chronicles and travel essays compass (Berenice, 2006 ) and the novella Jan (Laia Books, 2001). In addition, a foreword to the edited volumes Madrid / Barcelona. Literature and city (1995-2010) (Iberoamericana, 2009), The place of Piglia. Critical non-fiction (Kandy, 2008) and Global Amor (Laia Books, 2003). His chronicles on Latin America have been collected in the North is South (Debate Venezuela, 2009). The dead (Mondadori, 2010) is his first novel.

Todos los escritores son también lectores críticos. La crítica se puede ejercer de maneras directas (reseñismo, ensayo literario, ensayo académico, etc.) o indirectas (conversaciones privadas, entrevistas, artículos de opinión, etc.). A partir de mi experiencia como crítico literario y como autor de un libro de viajes, Australia, que interviene críticamente en la tradición de la literatura de viajes española y de una novela, Los muertos, que trata de responder a la pregunta ¿cuánta teoría es capaz de soportar un artefacto de ficción?, trataré de reflexionar sobre el diálogo entre la teoría crítica y la libertad creativa que se da en el seno de una obra que entiende la ficción y la no ficción como vasos comunicantes y creativos, en toda su complejidad.

Additional Resources
Website: http://www.jorgecarrion.com/
Blog: http://jorgecarrion.com/blog/
Email: jordicarrion@hotmail.com

Enveloping Literature and Other Challenges to the Multimedia Author 
Doménico Chiappe

Picture Biography

Doménico Chiappe: Born in Peru in 1970 and raised in Venezuela since 1974. In 2002 he settled in Madrid. He has won the prize for short story Ramon J. Sender and published in Spain storybook Paragraphs Loose (UCM, 2003) and the novel Interview with Mailer Daemon (The Factory Publishing, 2007).Teaches workshops in fiction, literary journalism and hypermedia in public and private schools such as La Casa Encendida, Universidad Carlos III and Fuentetaja Creative Writing Workshops. He is a researcher at the Institute of Culture and Technology at the University Carlos III and a regular columnist for media.He has been awarded an Honorable Mention in the UNICEF's Latin American Awards and Agencia EFE. As a multimedia artist has published the novel hypermedia Earth Extraction and directed the collective novel Cosmos's Footprint.
AbstractDiez años después de la escritura de la novela hipermedia Tierra de extracción (en la que se ensayaba con la circularidad, la brevedad, la fragmentación), los retos del autor multimedia conducen hacia una evolución más radical del lenguaje narrativo, hacia la realización de una literatura envolvente: indagar en formas de escritura post-literarias (permutación, repetición y los idiomas de programación), aumentar la característica lúdica, buscar la hiperfonía de la creación y construir el libro como objeto virtual. Con su consolidación, la literatura envolvente se trasladará de la pantalla hacia el espacio público, e inaugurará una nueva era de lectura.

Additional Resources

Website: http://domenicochiappe.com/
Video: "Tierra de extracción, Puesta en escena"
Tierra de extracción: http://domenicochiappe.com/antoHome/tierra.html
La huella de Cosmos: http://domenicochiappe.com/tierra.htm
Email: dchiappe@gmail.com

Topological Time in Proyecto Nocilla [Nocilla Project] and Postpoesía [Post-poetry] (and a brief comment on the Exonovel)
Agustín Fernández Mallo

Agustín Fernández Mallo (La Coruña-Spain, 1967) has a bachelor's degree in Physical Sciences. In 2000, the term Post-poetic Poetry reached its height making connections between literature and sciences, which is reflected in Yo siempre regreso a los pezones y al punto 7 del Tractatus (2001), Creta lateral Travelling (2004), Premio Café Món and the book of poems and performance of Joan Fontaine Odisea [mi deconstrucción] (2005). In 2007 he was awarded with the City of Burgos Award for poetry for his book Carne de Píxel. His book, Postpoesía, hacia un nuevo paradigma, has been a finalist for the Anagram of Essay Award in 2009. In 2006, Mallo published his first novel, Nocilla Dream, which was selected by Quimera magazine as the best novel of the year, by El Cultural de El Mundo as one of the best ten, and in 2009 it was chosen by critics as the 4th most important Spanish novel in the decade. Both critics and the general public have agreed with amazement in what his novel trilogy is doing for Spanish literature. The second novel, Nocilla Experience has received awards for best book of the year in 2009, and the last, Nocilla Lab, has been chosen by critics of the cultural section of El País, Babelia as the third best novel in Spanish in 2009.

AbstractSe pone de relevancia el carácter de "contenedor de tiempo" que es Internet, o de espacio en el que puede darse una nueva arqueología. Para ello se definirá el "tiempo topológico" ayudado de la idea de evolución humana señalada por Levi Strauss, así como la idea de Altermodernismo enunciada recientemente por Nicolas Bourdieu en The radicant (2009). Esto obliga a pasar por la idea de archivo informático como una nueva manera platonismo, así como a tratar brevemente la teoría de redes. En una segunda parte se intentará definir un nuevo concepto: Exonovela.

Additional Resources:
Video: "Proyecto Nocilla, la película": http://vimeo.com/6897147
Blog: http://blogs.alfaguara.com/fernandezmallo/
Email: wittmallo@yahoo.com

The Migrant Youth Sorrows of Rigoberto González’ Men Without Bliss
Armando García

This paper was part of our Youth, Identities, and Transnational Flows Conference.

Excerpt: I begin with a quote: “I wish I didn’t have to write this essay in response to the sorrows of migrant deaths.” That is how I updated my Facebook status two nights ago as I sat staring blankly at my computer screen trying to write the first word to a paper I wish I did not have to write. But truth be told, the problem is not writing itself but the nature of my writing: I write in response to the sorrows of migrant deaths, the threat of migrant suicides, the massacres of undocumented migrants crossing the U.S.-México border, becoming the target for lawful violence once the physical crossing is over. I write in order to enact my own sorrows as I am faced with a cultural production from the Américas being saturated with blood, violence and death even as I speak. More than two decades ago Gustavo Pérez-Firmat begged the question:  “Do the Americas have a common literature?” As intellectuals addressed that question by looking back through the 19th and 20th-century literary and cultural dialogues between the Américas North and South, the answer was a comparison between the cultural practices of key historical figures in the encounters between Europe and Latin America (from Martí to Derrida, Lezama Lima to Sarduy and Freud, Whitman to Sarmiento). While that answer may still arguably hold true, it is also an answer that can no longer adequately encompass the Américas today. In light of the recent acts of lawful violence in Arizona and across the U.S. and México, the deaths of Brisenia Flores and her father in 2009 at the hands of Minutemen agents, the 2008 brutal massacre of Luís Ramírez in Pennsylvania: What do the migrant sorrows of the Américas seek to redress? That is the question that the migrant literature and digital culture at the center of my essay beg to answer.

Additional Resources
Web: http://www.postsecret.com/

Post-Digital Remixes and Carnavalesque Relinkings: Eduardo Navas’s Goobalization

Claire Taylor 

Claire Taylor is Senior Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at the University of Liverpool. She is actively involved in research on Latin American cyberculture, having been invited to give six papers on this topic to date, having organised three panels at major conferences, and having several publications on this topic. She was awarded an RDF-funded PhD studentship in this area, and is currently supervising the student in question who is conducting research on digital culture in Brazil. She is also the second supervisor for an interdisciplinary PhD student working on transmedia fictions. Dr Taylor is also joint leader on a project on Latin American cyberculture, in conjunction with Dr Thea Pitman (University of Leeds). The project examines cultural products created for the Internet, and new discourses, practices and communities generated by such cultural products. It explores the way Latin American online practice provides for new formulations of cybercommunities, which are reconfigured across and beyond the confines of the nation state, and which propose new ways of negotiating locality. Outputs already achieved include a symposium in 2006, and an edited volume which was published in 2007. Further details of the project are available on the project website: http://www.liv.ac.uk/soclas/research/lacyberculture/index.htm. Dr Taylor is also a leader on a collaborative project with colleagues at the University of Georgia, Athens, entitled Latin American Cybercultural Studies: Exploring New Paradigms and Analytical Approaches, which will include a conference to be held in Liverpool in 2011.

This paper explores the literary paradigm of magical realism, and investigates how it may be transformed or surpassed by novels on the internet. Drawing on Alvaro Bisama's thought-provoking, but essentially undeveloped notion of ‘Macon.doc' (Bisama 2002), the article explores a range of Latin American hypertext fictions and multimedia novels, paying particular attention to Jaime Alejandro Rodríguez's Gabriela Infinita, Diego Bonilla's Space of Time, and Ana Clavel's Cuerpo náufrago. Where Bisama coined the term ‘Macon.doc' to define contemporary urban space which is structured by flows and networks rather than traffic and connections, this paper expands upon his notion to develop a theory of Macon.doc for Latin American hypertext fictions. Macon.doc is therefore proposed as a notion through which to read the transformatory effects of new media technologies on Latin American narrative. Firstly, the notion of Macon.doc engages with the sense of location inherent to the notion of Macondo, and argues that, in the case of Macon.doc, these new media fictions exploit what Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto has termed the ‘dissociation of space from place', and create worlds which cross over from the real to the virtual. Secondly, the notion of Macon.doc provides a reflection on the reconfiguratory potential of hypermedia fictions: if the original inhabitants of García Márquez's Macondo famously had no second chance, now, in the digital realm, characters, plot lines and events find themselves with second (and third, and fourth...) chances in their constant reworkings in the hands of the user. Thirdly, the notion of Macon.doc provides for reflections on the visual and the textual strategies for the interpellation of the reader/viewer/user in these works, in a similar way in which the reader was drawn into the magical realist world of Macondo. Finally, the paper concludes by arguing that, whereas the defining category of twentieth-century Latin American fiction, magical realism, negotiated between planes of fiction (the real and the magical), now with Macon.doc the principal negotiation is between media and genres.

Additional Resources
Latin American cyberculture website: http://www.liv.ac.uk/soclas/research/lacyberculture/index.htm
Email: C.L.Taylor@liverpool.ac.uk

An Archaeology of Digital Aesthetics: Musical Sampling in Rodrigo Fresán’s “Señales captadas en el corazón de una fiesta”
J. Andrew Brown 

J. Andrew Brown earned his Ph.D. in Spanish at the University of Virginia in 2000. His research and teaching interests focus on issues of technology, science, global popular culture and Latin American cultural identity. He is the author of Cyborgs in Latin America (Palgrave, 2010), Test Tube Envy: Science and Power in Argentine Narrative (Bucknell UP, 2005) and editor ofTecnoescritura: Literatura y tecnología en América Latina, a special issue of Revista Iberoamericana 73.221 (Nov-Dec, 2007). His articles on Latin American narrative and film have appeared in such journals as Comparative LiteratureHispanic ReviewJournal of Latin American Cultural StudiesLatin American Literary ReviewRevista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos, and Science Fiction Studies, among others.

Professor Brown is currently editing a collection of essays on Latin American science fiction and critical theory and has begun work on a project that examines the functions the aesthetics of sampling and mashups in recent Latin American narrative. He is General Co-Editor for Latin America of Revista de Estudios Hispánicos.

Additional Resources
E-mail: abrown@artsci.wustl.edu

The Art of Seduction: Truth or Fanfiction in the World of Lucia Etxebarria’s Online ‘Friends’ and the Blogosphere
Virginia Newhall Rademacher   

Virginia (Jenny) Rademacher is Assistant Professor of Spanish Literature and Culture, and Director: Languages and Global Cultures at Babson College,Wellesley MA. She received her PhD in Spanish Literature from the University of Virginia in 2007 with an emphasis on contemporary (post-1960) Peninsular narrative and culture. She also holds an M.A. in International Affairs and Economics from Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and a B.A. from Harvard University. Her doctoral dissertation, "Biographical Questioning and the Quest for the Real in Contemporary Spanish Narrative" explores recent trends in Spanish narrative which employ and stretch the limits of "traditional 'biography." She considers how these literary approaches to negotiating the real relate to efforts in other fields and disciplines such as law, finance, and business that also grapple with risk, uncertainty, and speculation in an effort to figure out who or what to believe. She has published articles and reviews in various journals and texts, including Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies, Ciberletras, and Contemporary Literary Criticism. Recent presentations include "Transatlantic Crossings: Post-Dictatorship Transitions and Cultural Transformations in Spain, Argentina, Chile" and "Nirvana-Lite: Simulated Games of Identity in Lucia Etxebarria's Courtney and I and A Story of Love Like Any Other," Her interests also include contemporary Latin American and U.S. Latino narrative, film, and culture. At Babson, she currently teaches interdisciplinary courses on Post-Dictatorship Spain and Latin America, U.S. Latino Literature and Culture, and Spanish & Latin American Cinema Current projects include revising her dissertation into a book and a chapter in an edited volume. She resides in the Boston area, and is the mother of four girls.

My paper explores how author Facebook sites loosely cast as "fans only" and blogs created by authors are used by these writers to re-shape and revise their images and biographies. I use as a starting point Spanish author Lucía Etxebarria's fan Facebook site and Chilean writer Alberto Fuguet's blog, and then examine the sites of various other authors. Author Lucía Etxebarria's Facebook site decribes itself as "just fans," yet she interjects herself regularly into the site both through posts that advocate for her political or philosophical views or that identify links to her work, as well as through those that project a personal connection or relationship with the reader. At the same time, this Facebook ‘friendship' is oddly unidirectional. That is, fans are not able to write on Lucia's personal wall, but only on this ‘fan' site, onto which she selectively inserts posts that project the appearance of a dialogic relationship with her readers. But if this is the reader response theory of the digital age, who is trying to seduce whom, and on what basis? That is, are Etxebarria's ‘fans' constructing their image of her and her work , or to what extent is she simultaneously trying to mold this image through this artificially conversational but ostensibly one-directional (fans only) on-line ‘friendship'? The mixture of distance and closeness with which she addresses her readers seems to capture well the simultaneous anonymity, immediacy and proximity of our digital relationships. In thinking about the blogs and Facebook sites that many of us assiduously read and contribute to, and which these and other authors (including ourselves) use as potent tools of self-construction and promotion, I am curious. To what extent in constantly revising and re-casting ourselves in order to forge connections with readers, to ‘seduce' people into reading about us and our lives, do we find ourselves still lost, no closer or more certain of who we are or what we were seeking in the first place? As readers, who or what is it that we hope to ‘find' on these pages, and what is it that these authors want us to find (or alternatively to erase, or not to find)? To what extent do these attempts at autobiographical creation and biographical consumption mislead us into a sense of having discovered something real - (The ‘real' Lucía Etxebarria or Alberto Fuguet, or perhaps simply of having satisfied some elusively ‘real' connection with a present but absent individual in the first place)? And yet, in what way is reading and writing these narratives deeply satisfying to us? This blurred distinction or knowledge can extend not only to what we consume of what writers say is true about themselves or others, but also to our own knowledge or awareness of the borders between the real and the fictional, the biographical other and our own self-creation.

Additional Resources:
Website: http://www3.babson.edu/academics/faculty/rademacherv.cfm
Email: vrademacher@babson.edu
 The Traveling Texts of Local Content: Following Content Creation, Communication and Dissemination via Internet Platforms in a Brazilian Favela

Tori Holmes


Tori Holmes is a third year PhD student at the University of Liverpool in the UK, and the holder of a studentship linked to the Latin American Cyberculture and Cyberliterature project. Her research investigates the production and dissemination of 'local content' on the internet and beyond by residents of favelas (shantytowns) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She has a BA in Modern Languages (Spanish and French) from the University of Cambridge and an MA in Area Studies (Latin America) from the Institute of Latin American Studies (now Institute for the Study of the Americas) in London, where her dissertation research looked at the emergence of cabinas públicas (internet cafés) in Peru. She has also worked in the UK and Brazil as a project coordinator, freelance researcher/consultant and editor/translator specialising in the social use of information and communication technologies, including in development work.

AbstractAlthough internet access in Brazil continues to be highly skewed it has expanded in recent years, and numerous surveys have shown that Brazilian internet users are enthusiastic users of social media tools and platforms. The internet has also become part of daily life for many of those who live in the country's urban periphery neighbourhoods, including favelas. At the same time, new voices and personalities have emerged from these areas, claiming visibility and space as what Ivana Bentes calls ‘novos sujeitos do discurso'. This paper presents early findings and analysis from PhD research looking at how people living in a favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, use the internet to produce and disseminate their own representations and narratives about their local area. The specific focus of the research has been ‘local' content published on blogs (text, video, and photos) and the communication that takes place around them (via email, microblogging and/or social network sites used for interaction and dissemination). An ethnographically-inspired methodology has been developed, involving ‘following the content' across internet sites and platforms, interacting with content producers via the internet and face-to-face, and analysis of content sites and texts. Using a case study approach, the paper discusses the practices involved in publishing and disseminating such local content on the internet, how texts may change as they travel between internet platforms and offline, and in particular how the place/space of the favela is embedded in or frames content creation and dissemination activities.

Additional ResourcesWebsite: University of Liverpool 
Email: V.Holmes@liverpool.ac.uk

Stealing, Sharing: Competing Logics of Cultural Production in the Digital Age
Zac Zimmer

Zac Zimmer is currently a graduate student fellow at Cornell University's Society for the Humanities. He is finishing his dissertation, "Utopia and Commons: Land, Literature and History in the Americas", in Cornell's Romance Studies Department.Abstract of Presentation Read at Hybrid Storyspaces conference
My project investigates the concept of the "commons" as it relates to contemporary cultural production in Latin America. I compare two examples: a well-publicized act of literary plagiarism in the case of Argentine novelist Sergio De Nucci's 2006 Bolivia construcciones, on the one hand, and new movements of collaborative literary production that exploit technologies of sharing and digital reproduction, on the other. Both examples are based on some concept of remix and sample culture, but the two respective logics differ in significant ways. While Di Nucci's literary appropriation participates in a tradition of self-conceived "revolutionary plagiarism," the examples of digital collaboration point towards a more cooperative and performance-based concept of art. How do these two logics of artistic production relate to the "cultural commons," and what kind of community does each respective example propose? In the spirit of this hybrid conference, I hope to create an open discussion about these competing logics of cultural production, and to expand my particular project to a general consideration of an "aesthetic of the commons."

Additional Resources
Email: zac.zimmer@gmail.com

Internet Monetary Fiction

Fran Illich

Picture Biography
Fran Ilich is a Tijuana born cyberpunk, writer and media artist, mainly working on theory and practice of narrative media. During the early nineties was involved with Contra-Cultura (menor) and the independent media scene in Tijuana, where he was known to be an eclectic producer working with literature, photography, comics, videofilms and electronic music. Because of this he was identified as part of the Generation X Mexican literature, with other writers like Guillermo Fadanelli & Nahief Yeyha. In 1995 he started publishing Cinemátik, a printed tabloid dealing with urban electronic culture. In 1996 he was screenwriter for Discovery Channel Interacción, a show produced by Beatriz Acevedo. In 1997 he published Metro-Pop, a novel. In 1998 he was signed by Digital Entertainment Network as creator for a series of 6 minute show, targeting young Latin audience, however the series never got produced as the multimedia dot-com company and internet pioneer went bankrupt. The same year along with other members of Laboratorios Cinemátik was involved in producing Cinemátik 1.0, a festival considered to be the 1st cyberculture festival in Latin America. In 1999 he distanced from what became the Nortec sound and moved to Berlin where he got more involved with the Nettime scene, collaborating with Florian Schneider, Geert Lovink, Natalie Bookchin, Pit Schultz, Ricardo Dominguez and Alexei Shulgin.In 2002, he worked as a researcher for Centro Multimedia del Centro Nacional de las Artes. In 2003 & 2004 he directed seminars of narrative media for Universidad Internacional de Andalucía, in Seville, while being enrolled as a student of Latin American Studies at Alliant International University.

AbstractThe presentation describes the collaborative and creative work Ilich has been doing, roughly from 2000, when he initiated the Borderhack festival in the Mexican side of the Tijuana-San Diego borderwall, and moved to Mexico City to become an editor for the magazine Sputnik Cultura Digital. In 2005 after the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle meetings in Chiapas with Subcomandante Marcos and EZLN, he launched the autonomous server possibleworlds.org.In 2007 the magazine he edited, Sab0t, was presented at Documenta 12 magazines. His latest novel is Tekno Guerrilla, a story set in the Tijuana of the HEM (Hecho En México) graffiti crew. In January 2009, during 1er Festival Mundial de la Digna Rabia of the Zapatista Army he was one of the keynote speakers on the panel of "Otra Comunicación, Otra Cultura", along with Subcomandante Marcos, Comandante Zebedeo, Hermann Bellinghausen, Gloría Muñoz, Sergío Ramírez Lazcano, and Roco of Maldita Vecindad. Since then he has mainly focused on the cooperative media conglomerate Diego de la Vega S.A. de C.V.

Additional ResourcesWebsite: http://sabotage.tv/
Video: "Literatura y tecnología"
Email: ilich@sabotage.tv

Cristina Rivera's Tweets
Edmundo Paz Soldán

Edmundo Paz Soldán: Professor of Hispanic Literature at Cornell University. Paz-Soldán has a B.A. in Political Science, University of Alabama-Huntsville (1991); M.A. in Hispanic Languages and Literatures, UC-Berkeley (1993); Ph.D. in Hispanic Languages and Literatures, UC-Berkeley (1997). Winner of the Bolivian National Book Award (1992 and 2003), and the Juan Rulfo Short Story Award (1997). He has published Alcides Arguedas y la narrativa de la nación enferma (Plural, 2003), and is the coeditor, with Debra Castillo, of the volume of critical essays Latin American Literature and Mass Media (Garland, 2000), and, with Alberto Fuguet, of the anthology of short stories Se habla español: Voces latinas en U.S.A. (Alfaguara, 2000). He teaches Modern and Contemporary Spanish-American Literature, Andean Literature, Narrative and Mass Media, and Creative Writing. He is the author of six novels (among them Río fugitivo and El delirio de Turing), and three books of short stories (Las máscaras de la nada, Desapariciones, and Amores imperfectos). Simulacros,an anthology of his short stories, has also been published. His work has been translated to seven languages.

This paper asks us to think about what it would mean to take seriously the rigorous restriction of form and style implied by a literature written in tweets. In the course of the discussion, Paz Soldán evokes fellow blogger and tweeter, the Mexican novelist Cristina Rivera Garza

Additional Resources
Website: http://www.sololiteratura.com/edm/edmprincipal.htm
Blog: http://www.elboomeran.com/blog/117/edmundo-paz-soldan/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/edpazsoldan
Email: jep29@cornell.edu

AGUSTÍN FERNÁNDEZ MALLO and GERMÁN SIERRA: Two Points of View of Postindustrial Society

The influence of technology has been fundamental in the history of literature, as we can see from reading the major works in literature from each period. For instance, The Iliad, The Divine Comedy, Don Quixote, Bouvard and Pecuchet or Ulyses from James Joyce are full of references related to technology. One of the cited books, Don Quixote, is one of the main references in the history of Spanish literature. However, in the case of Spanish Peninsular literature, its relation with technology has had a weak interaction, at least in the past. The influence of technology in Spanish Peninsular literature is described in punctual cases, sometimes without continuity. In order to explain this, it is important to remember the difficult relationship between Spanish society on the one side and science and technology on the other. As a consequence, “La polémica de la ciencia española” (the controversy of Spanish Science) is one of the main themes in the historiography of science in Spain. This ideological debate, that covers the XIX and XX centuries, is a conflict between faith and reason and the roles they had to play in Spanish society, producing very controversial claims such as “Que inventen ellos” (Let them [foreign people] do the inventing), from the philosopher and writer Miguel de Unamuno. This is proof of the lack of interest in technological innovation in some circles of Spanish scholars and intellectuals. In contrast, literary movements such as “la Generación del 27” (1927 Generation) paid attention to technology in a way similar to that of other contemporary movements of the historic avant-gardes, like the futurist and surrealist movements. Decades later, Juan Benet, one of the most important authors in Spanish Peninsular literature after the Civil War, connected Spanish Literature with the most relevant international tendencies, presenting elements of technology in his writings, regarding them as a perfect tool in order to describe how time goes by. The use of technology as a resource in writing was also applied by Javier Marias in nineteen nineties (1990), precisely one of Benet's disciples. The influence of technology in human relationships is one of the main points in understanding Marias' literary success.
Although the examples shown below show the discontinuity and the problems of introducing technology into Spanish literary speech, today - at the beginning of the XXI century - not only is technology normally used in Spanish Peninsular literature, it is also one of the contemporary literatures most interested in the study of technology’s influence on society. Consequently, some contemporary Spanish writers have a particular point of view on technology. This being the justification of this communication, structured around visions of technology in our postindustrial society of two Spanish writers: Germán Sierra (A Coruña, 1960) and Agustín Fernández Mallo (A Coruña, 1967), both considered “mutantes” (mutants) by critics.

Postmodern points of view on technology: Posthumanism and Spanish Peninsular Literature

As Vicente Luis Mora affirms in some of his essays (La luz nueva and El lectoespectador), the use of new technologies in Spanish contemporary narrative is very common nowadays. In fact today an important group of authors exists who not only consider technology in their works of fiction, but who also use it in order to “compose” their pages (“pantpáginas” pantpages in Mora's words).
Most of these writers think of technology from a posthumanist point of view, as defined by Katherine N. Hayles. That is, a postindustrial society where the coexistence with machines implies the creation of not strictly human societies. Sierra and Fernández Mallo agree with this perspective. However, as we can read below, this common point of view produces very different visions of the role of technology in contemporary societies.

Germán Sierra and the essential tension of technology

Germán Sierra is the author of five narrative books, a compilation of short stories: Alto Voltaje; and of four novels: El espacio aparentemente perdido, La felicidad no da el dinero, Efectos secundarios and Intente usar otras palabras. He is one of the writers in Spain most interested in Anglo-Saxon Postmodernity. His quotations of J. G. Ballard were probably the first in Spanish literature, and the influence of Don DeLillo and cyberpunk aesthetics have been fundamental in his writing. Clearly, the point of view of technology of the authors just mentioned has also influenced Sierra.
Sierra's perspective is that technology has an aggressive effect on the natural environment, in the same way that Ballard's write crashes, DeLillo discusses industrial accidents and Gibson talks of the destruction caused by big corporations. As a consequence, this creates a dangerous environment. This fact can be contrasted in Sierra's short story “Alto Voltaje” (High Voltage), which is included in the compilation of short stories with the same title. In this tale, Sierra tells the story of a scientist that, due to economic problems, works as sensationalist journalist in the media, specializing in the popularization of science. He has to visit a village in which it seems that some High Voltage towers are provoking cancer in its inhabitants. At no time the short story solves the relationship between the High Voltage towers and the disease. The tale, however, refers to human vulnerability in our contemporary ‘Techno Scientific’ society. That is exactly Sierra's perspective of technology that we can find in all his writings: a complex postindustrial world with oppressive environments in which technology never provides the progress of past ages, on the contrary, it contributes to a major vulnerability in humans. In addition, technology helps the centers of power manipulate individuals.
This skeptical stance presented by someone who I consider to be a conceptual postmodern writer, who considers the knowledge provided by Technoscience as relative, can easily be found in his books. For instance, in La felicidad no da el dinero, the information relating science and technology is abusive and obsessive. And in Efectos secundarios, according to the author, technology is an aggressive tool that confronts the natural environment with dramatic consequences, as we can read in the first sentence of the novel:
La vibración telúrica de las excavadoras y martillos neumáticos se difunde –como se extiende el líquido inyectado en el músculo glúteo- por las anfractuosidades de la corteza, aprovecha la elasticidad de las rocas pulverizadas y los apelmazados residuos orgánicos que componen la capa más externa de la Tierra para viajar hasta las puertas del infierno y rebotar contra las rocas silicoaluminosas, más densas y compactas, regresando a la superficie deformada en seísmo casi imperceptible, silencioso y continuo como el crecimiento del cabello”
This point of view can be observed in other passages of the book, like when Sierra says that the city “se construyó imitando el orden dictado por los dioses, obedeciendo a la matemática celeste plagada de triángulos y obediente a los círculos”. This is a metaphor that describes the city as a living organism that eats everything surrounding it, including the citizens that live there. This negative point of view includes mythological elements to state the human desire to become godlike with the use of science and technology, even though it also implies “militares medidas de seguridad”, “códigos digitales”, “videocámaras” and “pistolas automáticas”.
In Intente usar otras palabras, a novel that treats our egocentric society and its desires of panopticism (the desire to be watched, described by the author as “el deseo de que alguien observe cada instante de nuestra vida”) with the help of the Internet. In this book, the role of technology is the alienation of individuals. The computerized environment in which the characters live is one of the reasons of their lack of action. This metaphor is complemented with the description of a working atmosphere full of technology but that is cold and barren: “Carlos Prats pierde el tiempo escuchando el casi imperceptible zumbido del aire acondicionado, las voces vecinas amortiguadas por los tabiques de Pladur, el chirrido del fax cada vez que evacua sus planas deyecciones blancas y negras”. In the sense of alienation we can understand the concept of panopticism proposed in the novel or wiretapping that we can find in the pages of the book. Precisely, the telephone is described as “la máquina de las mentiras” (the machine of lies).
However, all of Sierra's writings are structured around opposed ideas and, in the case of technology, the aggressiveness of technology against the natural environment is complemented with the interesting interaction between technology and arts. In all Sierra's fictions we can find a character that represents this interaction: the cyber artist. This character can be represented by a writer, such as Arturo in Efectos secundarios; a graphic artist such as the photographer Pablo Melchor in Intente usar otras palabras; or a performer that uses biology to perform art in the same way that Eduardo Kac, such as Álex in La felicidad no da el dinero, who proposes the concept of “transgénesis”, an idea inspired by molecular genetics that tries to synthesize the arts and sciences.
In connection with the last paragraph and with the second section of this communication, Sierra is one of the Spanish writers who tend to use new technologies and their possibilities in order to complement their writings. La felicidad no da el dinero is organized around Internet addresses. One important part of the plot of Efectos secundarios is revealed through e-mails. And we mentioned above the influence of computers in Intente usar otras palabras, in which Google appears everywhere, including in the title of the novel and translations by Google Translator.
Finally, the synthesis of the confrontation between technology and the natural environment can be observed in the contrast between a extremely technified world and the return to a natural and idealized past. Even though Sierra's fictions normally develop in a technological environment, in each narration there is a passage in which the action goes back to a past related with nature. For example, in El espacio aparentemente perdido, and the reminiscences of the narrator about his scientific vocation as a biologist:
“La naturaleza estaba llena de una poesía que se podía observar, experimentar, y de esa sensación provenía probablemente la afición por la biología que se desarrollaría hasta llevarme a los estudios universitarios, y esa necesidad de observar y de experimentar me llevaría también a una honda decepción en la universidad y, sobre todo, la inquietud, el deseo de novedades que jamás me abandona.”
In La felicidad no da el dinero, in the final passage that takes place in a small village there is a sexual scene written with natural concepts, contrasting with the continuous techno scientific advertising that appears in the novel. In Efectos secundarios, this can be seen in the character of Valcárcel who lives in a village, and in the short tale “Alto voltaje”, with the differences between old technology, represented by the train, and new technology, represented by the high voltage towers and energy that changes the life of the inhabitants of the village. However, this is a false perception because the natural environment is manipulated (for instance, with the fish farms in La felicidad no da el dinero) that intensifies the confrontation between natural and technified and shows it as a contradiction: the dream to come back to an idealized natural environment versus the fascination for cybernetics. A contradiction that in my opinion remains in all the humans and shows complex thinking in the posthuman aesthetics of Sierra.
To conclude the analysis of Sierra's point of view, in my opinion the issue between “bad technology” and “good technology” is solved in his writings by discussing the use that technology gives, technology being initially neutral. It is its interaction with men that gives a moral content. The ethics of technology in Sierra's books belongs to the humans and their decisions.

Agustín Fernández Mallo and timeless and amoral technology

On the contrary, in Fernández Mallo's narrative, technology and nature are never pure. They are in continuous interaction and cannot be dissociated or confronted. To understand the theoretical background of this position, it is important to mention that the author is deeply influenced by late postmodernism, especially European postmodern philosophy and American postmodern poetry.
Although this point of view can be found in all Fernández Mallo's narrative works, as we can see below, the book in which this perspective is most prominent is Nocilla Lab, the third part of his trilogy, Proyecto Nocilla. This novel is also divided into three parts. The first part is written in a conventional way, with a continuous paragraph, as Thomas Bernhard used to write. In this paragraph, the biography and the influences of the author are explained. In the passage, references to Particle Physics alternate with criticizing arguments of radical environmentalism. This confrontation against environmentalism continues into the second part of the novel. This section is written in the common style used by Fernández Mallo: micro passages fragmented and ordered numerically. In this part, the criticism against conservationism is contrasted with the artificial reality of our environment, and with a series of manufactured and technological elements: computers, plastic gardens, pictures of sounds and smoke from tobacco. The last part, constructed in pieces, is focused in a clear posthuman atmosphere. Within it plastic trees grow up and the narrator is surrounded by common and technological elements not always pleasant: credit cards, computers and trash. Finally, after pages and pages fighting against himself, the narrator escapes. The book finishes as a graphic novel in an oil rig. In this place, the graphic version of Enrique Vila-Matas tells stories about clocks and cells of concrete. The only natural elements in this part are the sea and a threatening storm.
As we have read, in this book Fernández Mallo denies the image of the environment as a reality. From his point of view, nature is in continuous interaction with technology. This perspective is connected with the idea of timelessness, the position of Fernández Mallo faced with the techno science products. For example, in paragraph 22nd of Nocilla Dream, Niels (a Danish zoologist) is carrying out research with dwarf dogs in order to defuse landmines. The sinister project shows that Fernández Mallo does not ignore the less ethical science projects. When Niels solves his problem with desert rats, with the help of another character Frank, the tragicomic version of science is showed to us. However, we cannot find evidence in the text that landmines did not exist 200 years ago. Fernández Mallo's perspective is timeless, without the influence of the history of technology. His characters interact with objects that exist in the world. More evidence of this point of view can be read in the 67th paragraph in the same book. In it, Fernández Mallo describes the picture of a Japanese man that saw the nuclear explosion of Hiroshima covered only by one umbrella. Facing the three possibilities of man’s destiny (one positive, the other negative, the last neutral), the author chooses the positive: an aesthetic fascination in front of the mushroom cloud and its performance. In other words, Fernández Mallo never denies the existence of the bomb, he never denies the nuclear drama (negative possibility), or the relation between power, technology and weapons (neutral possibility), but chooses the third possibility. He assumes the existence of nuclear weapons to be something real and inevitable. However, his election is aesthetic. This artistic decision perfectly defines his poetics with an enthusiastic perspective that is sinister at the same time. This election is obvious at the beginning of Nocilla Lab, when the author begins the narration with something common place in contemporary Spanish Peninsular literature: Chernobil. In this case, instead of going into the dramatic consequences of the nuclear disaster that took place in 1986 with the victim who comes back to find his home destroyed in Pripiat, Fernández Mallo identifies himself with the story of the lonely man. And later, he states that there would be other possibilities: a more realistic literature, a literature compromised against the dangers of techno science. But he prefers to use his particular style in order to demonstrate comparisons between science and society. Also his aesthetic decision is the reason to choose a ruined Parcheesi Palace in the ex Soviet Union, where he could choose between lots of technoscientific industries that were built there, but which, today, are in ruins.
In other words, Fernández Mallo’s relationship with technology is determined by the aesthetic fascination and the fact that techno science is a reality even though its products can be dangerous. The influence of timelessness and the positions of late postmodernism is fundamental to this point of view. With these poetics, the author affirms that sciences’ statements are poetic and immutable, surpassing the human statements, as he mentions by saying “el peso y la masa son cosas tan importantes que ni la muerte las anula”, or in “la paradoja del aumento de entropía que genera vida en vez de muerte”. Statements that will survive in a posthuman world.
Consequently, Fernadez Mallo's position on technology is not only uninterested in ethics, its only interest is aesthetics. The individual cannot decide on a positive or negative use of technology, especially in issues related with natural environment. This vision is commonly accepted in countries in which technology has only been developed recently. This is the case for Spain nowadays, and was the case of the USA in the nineteen fifties. But Fernández Mallo uses a particular and sinister tone for the influence of late postmodernity, because the point of view of Fernández Mallo is not ingenuous.

The intellectual background of Germán Sierra and Agustín Fernández Mallo in the case of technology is very similar. Their philosophical and aesthetic principles, as posthumanism, postindustrial society, and the fact that interaction with technology is a main theme in our lifes, is present in the writings of both authors. They also share the idea that technology could be a complement to writing. However, their point of view on technology differs.
Both consider technology products as ethically neutral. But from Sierra's perspective, the use of technology by humans is fundamental in order to define the ethical practices that interact with technology, from Fernández Mallo's perspective the lack of morality of technology includes its use.
This main difference is determined by the cultural and biographical influences of both authors. While Sierra is notably influenced by Anglo-Saxon postmodern narrative, especially by authors such as Don DeLillo, J. G. Ballard and William Gibson, in whose writings the criticism against bad uses of technology is very powerful, Fernández Mallo is influenced by late postmodern philosophers and poets, whose perspective of technology is aesthetic and timeless. Or in other words, while in Sierra’s work there is evidence of criticism against technology derived from criticism against the Cold War, Fernández Mallo grows up in an atmosphere fascinated with technology in which fears related to a nuclear war decrease in favor of global capitalism.

Editors: Christine Henseler and Debra A. Castillo
VOLUME 9 (spring 2012)

Introduction. Hybrid Storyspaces: Redefining the Critical Enterprise in Twenty-First Century Hispanic Literature
Christine Henseler and Debra A. Castillo

I. Creative Code-Switching

  1. The Bicephalous Writer: The Commingling of the Creative Writer and the Critic in a Single Body
    Jorge Carrión
  2. PostDigitalism in Contemporary Spanish Fiction
    Germán Sierra
  3. Cristina Rivera Garza’s Tweets
    Edmundo Paz Soldán
  4. Enveloping Literature and Other Challenges to the Multimedia Author
    Doménico Chiappe
  5. Twenty Years of Internet Exploration
    Rosina Conde

II. Technologies of Production and Consumption

  1. Topological Time in Proyecto Nocilla [Nocilla Project] and Postpoesía [Post-poetry] (and a brief comment on the Exonovel)
    Agustín Fernández Mallo
  2. Breaking the Code: “Generación Nocilla,” New Technologies, and the Marketing of Literature
    Vicent Moreno
  3. The Art of Seduction: Truth or Fanfiction in the World of Lucia Etxebarria’s Online ‘Friends’ and the Blogosphere
    Virginia Newhall Rademacher   
  4. You'll Never Write Alone: Online Sharing Economy and the New Role of the Reader
    José Enrique Navarro
  5. E-literature in Bytes and in Paper.The Digital Revolution inContemporary Literature from Spain
    Laura Borràs

III. Remixing and Recycling Narrative Bits and Bytes

  1. An Archaeology of Digital Aesthetics: Musical Sampling in Rodrigo Fresán’s “Señales captadas en el corazón de una fiesta”
    J. Andrew Brown
  2. Post-Digital Remixes and Carnavalesque Relinkings: Eduardo Navas’s Goobalization
    Claire Taylor
  3. Voice, Music and the Experience of the Neutral in Martín Rejtman’s Fictions
    Irene Depetris Chauvin
  4. Close Readings of the Historic and Digital Avant-Gardes: An Archeology of Hispanic Kinetic Poetry
    Eduardo Ledesma
  5. The Travelling Texts of Local Content: Following Content Creation, Communication and Dissemination via Internet Platforms in a Brazilian Favela
    Tori Holmes
Afterword: A Bookless Literature?
Luis Martín-Estudillo and Stephanie A. Mueller 


Hispanic Issues Series is a refereed book series in English touching on theoretical and methodological issues toward a reconfiguration of Hispanic cultural history and criticism. Each publication stresses collaborative research, drawing on a network of scholars from the United States and abroad. Sample areas of inquiry include Literary Criticism and Historiography, Popular and Mass Culture, Hispanic Cultural Studies, Literature and Institutions, and Hispanic Sociolinguistics.

Past Volumes

Volumes 1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-39
Volume 1: The Institutionalization of Literature in Spain
Ed. Wlad Godzich and Nicholas Spadaccini
Volume 2: Autobiography in Early Modern Spain
Ed. Nicholas Spadaccini and Jenaro Talens

Volume 3: The Crisis of Institutionalized Literature in Spain
Ed. Wlad Godzich and Nicholas Spadaccini

Volume 4: 1492-1992: Re/Discovering Colonial Writing
Ed. René Jara and Nicholas Spadaccini

Volume 5: Ortega y Gasset and the Question of Modernity
Ed. Patrick H. Dust

Volume 6: Cervantes's Exemplary Novels and the Adventure of Writing
Ed. Michael Nerlich and Nicholas Spadaccini

Volume 7: The Politics of Editing
Ed. Nicholas Spadaccini and Jenaro Talens

Volume 8: Culture and Control in Counter-Reformation Spain
Ed. Anne J. Cruz and Mary Elizabeth Perry

Volume 9: Amerindian Images and the Legacy of Columbus
Ed. René Jara and Nicholas Spadaccini

Volume 10: Latin-American Identity and Constructions of Difference
Ed. Amaryll Chanady

Volume 11: Critical Practices in Post-Franco Spain
Ed. Silvia López, Jenaro Talens, and Santos Zunzunegui
Volume 12: The Picaresque: Tradition and Displacement
Ed. Giancarlo Maiorino

Volume 13: Bodies and Biases
Ed. David William Foster and Roberto Reis

Volume 14: Rhetoric and Politics. Gracian and the New World Order
Ed. Nicholas Spadaccini and Jenaro Talens

Volume 15: Framing Latin American Cinema
Ed. Ann Marie Stock

Volume 16: Modes of Representation in Spanish Cinema
Ed. Jenaro Talens and Santos Zunzunegui

Volume 17: Cervantes and his Postmodern Constituencies
Ed. Anne J. Cruz and Carroll B. Johnson

Volume 18: A Revisionary History of Portuguese Literature
Ed. Miguel Tamen and Elena Buescu

Volume 19: Modernism and its Margins
Ed. Anthony Geist and José Monleón

Volume 20: Culture and the State in Spain, 1550-1850
Ed. Tom Lewis and Francisco J. Sánchez

Volume 21: Charting Memory: Recalling Medieval Spain
Ed. Stacy Beckwith
Volume 22: Latin American Literature and the Mass Media
Ed. Debra Ann Castillo and José Edmundo Paz-Soldán

Volume 23: National identities and Socio-Political Changes in Latin America
Ed. Mercedes Durán-Cogan and Antonio Gómez-Moriana

Volume 24: Iberian Cities
Ed. Joan Ramon Resina

Volume 25: Pablo Neruda and the U.S. Culture Industry
Ed. Teresa Longo

Volume 26: Marriage and Sexuality in Medieval and Early Modern Iberia
Ed. Eukene Lacarra Lanz

Volume 27: Women's Narrative and Film in The Twentieth-Century Spain
Ed. Ofelia Ferrán and Kathleen M. Glenn

Volume 28: Latin America Writes Back: Post modernity in the Periphery
An interdisciplinary Cultural Perspective
Ed. Emil Volek

Volume 29: The State of Latino Theater in the United States: Hibrity, Transculturation, and Identity
Ed. Luis A. Ramos-García

Volume 30: Ideologies of Hispanism
Ed. Mabel Moraña

Volume 31: Hispanic Baroques: Reading Culture in Context
Ed. Nicholas Spadaccini and Luis Martín-Estudillo
Voume 32: Reason and Its Others: Italy, Spain and the New World
Ed. David Castillo and Massimo Lollini

Volume 33: Generation X Rocks: Contemporary Peninsular Fiction, Film, and Rock Culture
Ed. Christine Henseler and Randolph D. Pope

Volume 34: Spanish and Empire
Ed. Nelsy Echávez-Solano and Kenya C. Dworkin y Méndez

Volume 35: Post-Authoritarian Cultures: Spain and Latin America's Southern Cone
Ed. Luis Martín-Estudillo and Roberto Ampuero

Volume 36: Latin American Jewish Cultural Production
Ed. David William Foster

Volume 37: New Spain, New Literatures
Ed. Luis Martín-Estudillo and Nicholas Spadaccini

Volume 38: Spectacle and Topophilia: Reading Early Modern and Postmodern Hispanic Cultures
Ed. David R. Castillo and Bradley J. Nelson

Volume 39: Poiesis and Modernity in the Old and New Worlds
Ed. Anthony J. Cascardi and Leah Middlebrook


Quantum fiction

Quantum fiction is a literary genre that reflects modern experience of the material world and reality as influenced by quantum theory and new principles in quantum physics. The genre is not necessarily science-themed and blurs the line separating science fiction and fantasy into a broad scope of mainstream literature that transcends the mechanical model of science and involves the fantasy of human perception or imagination as realistic components affecting the every day physical world. Quantum fiction is characterized by the use of an element in quantum mechanics as a storytelling device. In quantum fiction, everyday life hinges on some aspect of the quantum nature of reality.

The genre reflects the modern human experience of new perceptions about material reality as affected by quantum physics, which transcends mechanical models of science and factors in imagination and human perception as components of reality. This genre is characterized by any or all of the following characteristics:
  • The author's use of quantum mechanics to make plausible supernatural, paranormal, or fantastic elements of a story in which reality appears to defy the laws of mechanical physics
  • A character as a consciously influencing observer of reality
  • The scientific recognition of an unquantified animating force of matter measured by Observer effect (physics), posited as consciousness or spirit
  • A theme, character, or events of a story existing per an element explainable as reality according to quantum theory
  • Adventures involving synchronicity, multiple dimension reality, interactive metaverses, parallel worlds or life as a multiverse
  • Consciousness (a character or a reader) as an interactive influence in the creation and perception of reality and plot line
  • Reality behaving unpredictably as per subatomic particles

The genre quantum fiction was coined by American novelist Vanna Bonta to define stories in which consciousness affects physics and determines reality; in her words, "the genre is broad and includes life."[1] Bonta further explained her development of this new genre: "I don't write science fiction. Science fiction is a niche genre, defined by Ray Bradbury as depiction of the real. 'Quantum fiction' is the realm of all possibilities. The genre is broad, and includes life because fiction is an inextricable part of reality in its various stages, and vice versa."[2][3][4]


Summary of Flight: A Quantum Fiction Novel

The book that labeled and introduced quantum fiction as a literary genre to readers was Flight: A Quantum Fiction Novel (1995) by Vanna Bonta.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11] The novel is a novel within a novel in which the protagonist struggles to sort out plot points of a fiction he is writing from reality as coincidences happen in real life from his novel's plot.[12] The first line of Bonta's novel is “Which came first — the observer or the particle?” Various parts of Bonta's novel appear in pop culture philosophies and discussion.[13]

Quantum fiction - new forms of storytelling

Usage of the term quantum fiction began to appear in 21st century books and academic papers that identified and discussed a new and emerging literary genre that is affected by the new view of the world given by quantum physics. Various artists, academia, and critics explored it independently of one another and in various contexts with the common denominator of a new literary genre. By 2010, hindsight reveals a movement and usage by multiple authors and critics.[14][15]
In his book Loose Canon (Cosmos Press, 2001), author Charles Platt describes quantum fiction as "a blueprint for avoiding literary obsolescence." Platt writes, "I do believe that "Quantum Fiction" would circumvent some problems associated with traditional science fiction."[16] Platt argues, "If a nineteenth-century writer such as Charles Dickens sampled a few modern science-fiction novels, he might be surprised by the writing style and the speculative content, but he'd find nothing new in the methods of storytelling. Popular novel-length narratives are built basically the same way today as a century ago, and science-fiction writers are in the ironic position of depicting the future using techniques derived entirely from the past." Platt writes, "My own modest proposal for revitalizing the novel is a form that I will call, for want of a better term, "quantum fiction." Like the quantum theory, it acknowledges the observer (in this case, the reader) as an active participant."[17] In 2001, Platt states, "I believe it should be possible to develop from these prototypes a new genre of "quantum fiction" with genuinely broad appeal."[18]

Quantum fiction, literary technique

A literary genre, as a category of literary composition, is determined by literary technique, tone, or subject matter (content). Quantum fiction as a genre is primarily defined by technique of writing, and tone and subject matter is not limited. Unlike science fiction which is largely defined by content, the subject matter of a quantum fiction can be anything.[19]
In the fiction of Guyanese novelist and poet Wilson Harris, the author's style, which he defines as quantum fiction, is by way of technique, of narrative structure. In a thesis exploring Harris's literary genre of The Carnival Trilogy as quantum fiction, Rebekka Eklund describes "In his ambitiously experimental writing, Harris creates a narrative structure which is multiple and flexible."[20] It is Harris's treatment of ordinary characters and events, unrelated to science per se, that defines the genre. In interviews, Harris often describes the effects of quantum perception on the literary process, techniques and devices.[21]
Wilson Harris described he has been writing since his first novel what he was to eventually realize as quantum fiction, to give witness to "realities hidden from the world you see."[22] In the dissertation Quantum Value in Wilson Harris's "Architecture of the Tides, Andrew Jefferson–Miles states, "In quantum fiction, the whole cosmos is involved, and that cosmos will leave its trace, its spontaneous quantum of knowing and recognizing, on even the smallest, shortest-lived thing."[22]
In the volume Redefining the Critical Enterprise in Twenty-First Century Hispanic Literature (Hybrid 2012), Spanish author Jorge Carrión writes "My books attempt to problematize these supposed units of meaning, because perhaps we are in a time of quantum fiction. I repeat: “quantum fiction.” This is a concept I have been working on for a very short time. It is a new concept, like “counter-space” or “theoryphobia” were in their time."[23]
In 2009, in a doctoral thesis on the Science of Art, Alexis Blanchet defines the necessity of the quantum fiction genre distinction. "Fictional worlds now appear as shifting and undefined as ever to audiences. The notion of quantum fiction aims to provide a framework of production and reception to the contemporary processes of industrialization and diversification of fiction."[24]
In quantum fiction, the author perceives and creates characters who experience reality with a surreal or nonlinear view of things that does not correspond with the way the physical senses generally experience life and the world, and that behaves in ways posited by quantum theory.

Quantum theory and quantum fiction

Quantum fiction brings quantum theory forward as the explanation behind the concept of life imitating art and art imitating life via substantiation of literary plot developments, time sequence, character experiences and other literary elements based on quantum mechanics. The term Quantum fiction is etymologically based on the discovery of Max Planck, who first used the word quantum to describe the minute forces at play in the realm of physics. The field was pioneered by quantum physicists Erwin Schrödinger,[25] Werner Heisenberg,[26] Wolfgang Pauli,[27] Niels Bohr,[28] and Eugene Wigner,[29] as well as contentions of Louis DeBroglie, Max von Laue and Albert Einstein.[30] One contention, among others, is that quantum mechanics is a statistical approximation to a deeper reality which behaves predictably via the observer being an inextricable part of reality (Observer effect (physics)).
As quantum theories such as Wave–particle duality and the behavior of matter on a subatomic behavior evolves, theories have emerged that life is central to being, reality, and the cosmos. Biocentrism, a theory proposed in 2007 by American scientist Robert Lanza, posits that life creates the universe rather than the other way around.[31] Biocentric theory builds on quantum physics, and this view asserts that current theories of the physical world do not work, and can never be made to work, until they fully account for life and consciousness.

Quantum reality examples in fiction

In quantum fiction, an author can create characters (the observers) within the work of literature to experience or affect reality (time, place, the material world) via any number of aspects of quantum mechanics, as distinct from classical mechanics. Works of quantum fiction can also introduce reality affected as spooky action at a distance, proved by Alain Aspect, as the course of everyday reality. In quantum fiction, seemingly mundane events can be written as a many-branched tree, wherein every possible quantum outcome is realized in some time line, as posited by the Hugh Everett Many-worlds interpretation.
In Bonta's definitive 1995 Flight: a quantum fiction novel, the protagonist is a writer writing a novel within the novel. The character is a metaphor for the observer (any human being living, observing and interacting with reality). The writer begins to notice coincidences between what he is writing (about a girl in a parallel world) and his real life. Further, the protagonist in the novel mentions Bonta, the Flight author, thereby adding yet another parallel reality to the novel's two plot lines. Another quantum element that recurs in the book is via coincidences the characters experience, not by way of the mystical, but as a technique by which Bonta structures synchronicity as a device of quantum entanglement, the behavior of all matter connected on a subatomic level and intersecting by participation of the observers. Bonta's quantum fiction novel posits a quantum animism and the mind as permeating the world at every level. Bonta first depicts some of the novel's characters as otherwise invisible and non-material "observers" of reality, then quantifies them via their impact on reality through a process of elimination, hence making human consciousness central to the novel as both witness as well as co-creator of reality, a view posited by quantum theory.

New art of fiction: Quantum vs. Linear

Novelist Wilson Harris stated he realized what he was writing was quantum fiction, and further described it as giving witness to "realities hidden from the world you see." He describes, "The quantum concept is that if one fires out an object, it breaks into particles and waves. Conventional novelists go along a linear road, but the quantum split can bring the past into the present in a new art of fiction."[32] Wilson is describing how Many-worlds interpretation and wave-particle duality[33] appear in and define the genre of his novels, and how it affects every day characters, not otherwise related to science per se in theme.
In 2003, when interviewed by British-Guyanese poet, novelist and playwright Fred D'Aguiar, Harris describes, "“Quantum” brings a hand in fiction that challenges all conventional fixtures of control within the psyche of art." Harris explains that an awareness of the "mystery of consciousness" as actuated by quantum theory brings different patterns of control in a work of fiction, and he correlates his construction of plot and narrative to a technique he later came to realize as a new technique in literature. "The language of conventional, linear fiction, which seems so strong, becomes an illusion and is broken by quantum holes," Harris describes.[34] In a dissertation that reviews a Harris trilogy, Rebekka Edlund analyzes his structure as "linearity replaced by simultaneous possibilities, or "polyhistory," and argues the consequences on literature of a reality as "quantum stuff" is that linear storytelling becomes obsolete.[35]

Quantum fiction, emerging 21st century genre

In Fiction in the Quantum Universe (June 2002),[36] Susan Strehle argues that new fiction has developed from the influence of modern physics. This book explores and advances a pluralistic view of the meaning of contemporary fiction as it relates to the quantum-defined view of "reality."
While quantum fiction novels diverge markedly from a previously held view of reality, Strehle argues that they do so in order to reflect more acutely that aspect of reality which, only the advent of quantum mechanics evidenced as real, or actual; i.e., Reality is no longer "realistic." In in the new physical or quantum universe, reality is discontinuous, energetic, relative, statistical, subjectively seen, and uncertainly known — all terms taken from new physics.
Storytelling technique of quantum fiction, regardless of content, time period or setting, is executed via various literary techniques that pattern a literary work according to quantum behavior as opposed to mechanical physical reality. Devices of the technique include nonlinear plots and timelines unfolding in lives of characters or the narrator, or a characters experience of quantum reality, such as the infinite possibilities of being able to die and live multiple times, and with the creator's awareness, whether intended or not, of the interconnectedness of everything and a fluid behavior of reality that can appear surreal. Life, whether fictional or real, is no longer a world that behaves as old Newtonian physics that perceives atoms as the smallest unit of being. Quantum theory is a radically new view of the universe as fluid and interconnected, influencing the fundamental technique, by which stories are told in a literary genre identified as quantum fiction. It is more the way stories are told and fictional realities behave, not what they are about.
Since the inception and coining work of quantum fiction recognized by Publishers Weekly in 1995,[37] the influence and definition of literature by this as a genre is evidenced in the creation of novels,[38] short fiction,[39] calls for submissions,[40][41][42] television and film.[43][44][45][46][47] In 1999, Debra Di Blasi categorizes one of her stories as quantum fiction in the collection Prayers of an Accidental Nature: Stories.[48][49]
In 1996, Aesthetics and Ethics, Literary Criticism Vol. 41 talks about a literary genre 'quantum fiction', "Charles Platt has evidenced a form he has decided to call, "for want of a better term, quantum fiction."[50]
Editorial reviews of new fiction recognize and analyze the defining and qualifying elements of the distinct genre of quantum fiction, which vary from work to work.[51][52][53]
Authors have begun defining their work quantum fiction.[54][55][56] In 2001, when Charles Platt wrote that he believed quantum fiction would circumvent some of the problems with science fiction, he stated "...and the only person who tried to use this form was me (in my novel Protektor, Avon Books)."[57]
A 2002 university dissertation on humanities and social sciences, in the chapter "Quantum Scripts", examines the question of what knowledge quantum fiction requires its readers to have.[58]
The technique of constructing a quantum plot and narrative first person in the story-telling of Wilson Harris grew from his approach to perception of life and language. Harris states that "across the years" he then recognized it as native to the fiction he wrote. Harris credits Quantum Reality, the nonfiction book by physicist Nick Herbert, as initially sparking his interest of how quantum theory conceives a world view of "simultaneous possibilities." After reading quantum theory, it defined for him how he had instinctively been writing. He stated he realized his method of storytelling, the technique, not content, was quantum fiction.[59]
Quantum theory postulates a surreal view of things that does not correspond with the way we generally experience the world, and which is not explained by mechanical laws of the physical world. Unlike science fiction, which the California Department of Education defines as a "story based on impact of actual, imagined, or potential science, usually set in the future or on other planets," quantum fiction is a literary technique that relies more on literary fiction than genre writing. It is unlimited to content or subject, and authors craft ordinary characters through sensibilities and perception affected by the quantum view of the world.
The term is used by Susan H. Young in her book Quantum Fiction: Relativity and Postmodernism in Lawrence Durrell's The Alexandria Quartet (2000) to retrospectively best categorize the genre of novels by Lawrence Durrell published in 1957—1960.[60] Durrell's tetralogy presents three perspectives on a single set of events and characters in Alexandria, Egypt World War II. Durrell explains the four novels are an exploration of relativity and the notions of continuum and subject–object relation. In a 1959 Paris Review interview, Durrell described the ideas behind the Quartet in terms of a convergence of Eastern and Western metaphysics, based on Einstein's overturning of the old view of the material universe, yielding a new concept of reality.[61]
A science fiction novel, Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand, by Samuel R. Delany is described as quantum fiction in a literary reference volume, not by way of subject matter or futurism, but defined by Delany's technique of "reflecting the radical uncertainty of quantum fiction in his world view and fictive discourse."[62]
Discussion about the emerging genre of quantum fiction is the subject of 21st century academic papers and some university courses. In 2006, in a dissertation about quantum mechanics and modern fiction, Samuel Sean Kinch discusses the work of Nicholas Mosley as quantum fiction and cites Susan Strehle's Fiction in the Quantum Universe as an organized analysis of the emerging genre. He writes, "To date, Strehle offers the most systematic poetics of quantum fiction."[63]
In 2007, Professor Samuel Coale began teaching a college course on quantum theory’s influences and effects upon contemporary American fiction.[64] Coale presents his theories in several papers. In Quantum Flux and Narrative Flow: Don DeLillo’s Entanglements with Quantum Theory, Coale presents novels by Don DeLillo and discusses DeLillo's use of quantum theory and how it is revealed in the structure and style of his novels. Other topics include similarities between quantum theory and postmodernism, the themes of perception and time and space in DeLillo's work, and religious interpretation.[65] In the essay "Psychic Visions and Quantum Physics: Oates’ Big Bang and The Limits of Language," Coale analyzes the literary style of novelist Joyce Carol Oates. According to the Coale, the characters of Oates are indicating that the individual self recognizes the strange and unfathomable otherness at the mysterious center of self-hood.
Alexis Blanchet's 2009 dissertation and doctoral thesis mentions quantum fiction, and argues the new genre quantum fiction is a necessary framework genre for relationships between fiction, cinema, and video game involving life and interactive participation as overlapping of realities.[66] In a 2007 interview about quantum fiction, Vanna Bonta states, "As people become more aware of this universe as a quantum universe, it will embrace things like holographic entertainment experiences. Already, virtual reality and virtual interaction are an element of quantum fiction."[67]

Quantum fiction television

On March 1, 2012, NBC premiered the quantum fiction television series Awake in which the protagonist lives in parallel realities with differing circumstances.[68][69]

Quantum fiction (as "Actualism")

Susan Strehle explores how the changed physical world appears in both content and form in recent fiction, calling it "actualism" after the observations of Werner Heisenberg.[70] It is characterized by incompletions, indeterminacy, or "open" endings that involve the reader or some undetermined element to continue or resolve the work. Within that framework, Gravity's Rainbow is cited as an example as it ends not with a period but with a dash. Strehle sets forth that although important recent narratives diverge markedly from realistic practice, they do so in order to reflect more acutely on what we now understand as real.
Within this framework, Strehle's book also presents a critical analysis of major novels by Thomas Pynchon, Robert Coover, William Gaddis, John Barth, Margaret Atwood, and Donald Barthelme.
Strehle argues that such innovations in narrative reflect on twentieth-century history, politics, science, and discourse.
The perception of a changed reality reaches into philosophy, psychology, literary theory, and other areas. The final chapter extends the discussion beyond North American borders to African, South American, and European texts, suggesting a global community of writers whose fiction belongs in the quantum universe.[71]

Quantum fiction titles

Books described or reviewed as quantum fiction: (incomplete list)


  1. ^ quantum fiction definition
  2. ^ "Vanna Bonta Talks About Quantum fiction", author Interview by Laurel van der Linde, 2007 (transcript at gather.com
    , audio at IMDB.com
  3. ^ Ray Bradbury interview
    "I am not a science fiction writer. I am a fantasy writer. But the label got put on me and stuck."
  4. ^ Quantum fiction
    Quantum fiction literature and books
  5. ^ Publishers Weekly
    June 1995; "Whatever 'quantum fiction' is, we need more of it."
  6. ^ St. Petersburg Times April 14, 1996, by Delilah Shapiro Jones; "FLIGHT: A Quantum Fiction Novel may be the first work of 'quantum fiction' in recorded history."
  7. ^ Novel melds reality, fantasy
    by Kyle Bell; Alexandria Gazette; October 1996
  8. ^ Flight: a quantum fiction novel
    Audiogeist; February 11, 2008
  9. ^ Flight: quantum fiction and alternate realities
    Gaggle of Book Review; January 26, 2008
  10. ^ An Interview with Author Vanna Bonta
    Producer/director Laurel van der Linde interviews author Vanna Bonta about the emerging genre of quantum fiction; November 2007
  11. ^ Quantum Fiction
    quando la quantistica detta le leggi della scrittura, by Maria Zuppello; Panorama Mondadori, January 16, 2008
  12. ^ Flight: a quantum fiction novel
    Book summary and reviews
  13. ^ "Which came first — the observer or the particle?"
    The eternal question
  14. ^ Writing in the Age of Quantum Fiction: Science, Technology and “Actualism” in Mutantes Fiction
    , Professor Christine Henseler, Germán Sierra, Vicente Luis Mora
  15. ^ 5 genres of fiction you might not know about
    , by Emily Babb; Oct.7, 2012
  16. ^ Loose Canon - Quantum Fiction, a blueprint for avoiding literary obsolescence
    , by Charles Platt; Cosmos Books (August, 2001) ISBN 1-58715-437-4; "I do believe that "Quantum Fiction" would circumvent some problems associated with traditional science fiction."
  17. ^ Loose Canon
    , by Charles Platt; Cosmos Books (August, 2001) ISBN 1-58715-437-4; page 74
  18. ^ Loose Canon
    , by Charles Platt; Cosmos Books (August, 2001) ISBN 1-58715-437-4; page 78
  19. ^ Quantum Fiction – Entertainment: Light is the new spooky
    Quantum mechanics; July 16, 2012
  20. ^ "Carnival and Quantum theory"
    Metaphors of identity in Wilson Harri's The Carnival Trilogy, by Rebekka Eklund; The Society for Caribbean Studies Annual Conference Papers; Vol 7 (2006)
  21. ^ Michael Gilkes Interviews Sir Wilson Harris
    , Kaieteur News; July 18, 2010
  22. ^ a b Theatre of the Arts - Wilson Harris and the Caribbean;
    edited by Hena Maes-Jelinek, Bénédicte Ledent; Editions Rodopi B.V. Amsterdam — New York (2002); Quantum Value in Wilson Harris's "architecture of the tides," by Andrew Jefferson–Miles; "In quantum fiction, the whole cosmos is involved, and that cosmos will leave its trace, its spontaneous quantum of knowing and recognizing, on even the smallest, shortest-lived thing. (page 181)
  23. ^ The Bicephalous Writer: The Commingling of the Creative Writer and the Critic in a Single Body
    , by Jorge Carrión; Storyspaces: Redefining the Critical Enterprise in Twenty-First Century Hispanic Literature. Ed. Christine Hensler and Deborah A. Castillo. Hispanic Issues On Line 9 (Spring 2012)
  24. ^ Les synergies entre cinéma et jeu vidéo: histoire, économie et théorie de l'adaptation vidéoludique
    , by Alexis Blanchet; Thèse soutenue - Thèse de doctorat en Sciences de l'art; (October 30, 2009)
  25. ^ By Michel Bitbol, Olivier Darrigol, Erwin Schrödinger,Institut autrichien de Paris
  26. ^ from [1]
    "Quantum theory has led the physicists far away from the simple materialistic views that prevailed in the natural science of the nineteenth century" Werner Heisenberg, Physics and Philosophy, (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, (1962), 128
  27. ^ "I confess, that very different from you, I do find sometimes scientific inspiration in mysticism … but this is counterbalanced by an immediate sense for mathematics." —W. Pauli, from [2]
  28. ^ John Honner (2005). "Niels Bohr and the Mysticism of Nature". Zygon Journal of Science and Religion 17-3: 243–253.
  29. ^ Wigner, Eugene; Henry Margenau (1967-12). "Remarks on the Mind Body Question, in Symmetries and Reflections, Scientific Essays"
    . American Journal of Physics 35 (12): 1169–1170. Bibcode 1967AmJPh..35.1169W
    . doi:10.1119/1.1973829
    . Retrieved 2009-07-30.
  30. ^ pay link to Einstein letter
  31. ^ [Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness Are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe],Robert Lanza, MD with Bob Berman
  32. ^ A Life in writing
    , by Maya Jaggi; The Guardian Dec. 16, 2006
  33. ^ [Particle or Wave: The Evolution of the Concept of Matter in Modern Physics (History of Science Physics) [Hardcover] Charis Anastopoulos] Princeton University Press, July 1, 2008
  34. ^ An interview with Wilson Harris
    , by Fred D'Aguiar; BOMB 82 magazine - Winter 2003, Literature
  35. ^ "Carnival and Quantum theory"
    Metaphors of identity in Wilson Harri's The Carnival Trilogy, by Rebekka Eklund; The Society for Caribbean Studies Annual Conference Papers; Vol 7 (2006) "The narrative consequence of this malleability, which applies to space as well as time, is that linear storytelling becomes obsolete."
  36. ^ Fiction in the Quantum Universe, by Susan Strehle (Scholarly Book Services, June 27, 2002)
  37. ^ PUBLISHERS WEEKLY - June 1995
    ; Book Review Flight: a quantum fiction novel, by Vanna Bonta
  38. ^ In quantum fiction, things as they are
    , By Frank Roylance; The Baltimore Sun, August 20, 2000
  39. ^ The smoker, quantum fiction
    , by Pranaya Rana; January 26, 2011
  40. ^ Elemental Mirror Call for Quantum Fiction Submissions
    August 19, 2010
  41. ^ Intraflux quantum fiction
  42. ^ Parrell Worlds & Quantum Fiction Book
    Library Thing
  43. ^ A Quantum Fable: Fiction and Physics on Film
    by Barbara Stahura; Scienza e Conoscenza Magazine; issue 10, English and Italian
  44. ^ Quantum Genre (QG)
    Quantum Physics and Quantum Fiction: Likeness and Deviations; Being and Becoming Literary Magazine
  45. ^ Quantum Fiction: A review of Jean-Philippe Toussaint's 'Running Away'
    , by Kathleen Beazie; Charlotte Viewpoint, April 24, 2010
  46. ^ The Quantum Physicist’s Revenge
    , by RJ Dent
  47. ^ The New Nature of the Multiverse, A Quantum fiction
  48. ^ Prayers of an Accidental Nature: Stories
    , By Debra Di Blasi; Coffee House Press; April 1999 ISBN 978-1-56689-083-0
  49. ^ "Our Perversions (quantum fiction)"
    p. 121
  50. ^ Aesthetics and Ethics, Amerikastudien, Volume 41; J. B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung., (Jan 1, 1996) - Literary Criticism; "Charles Platt has evidenced a form he has decided to call, "for want of a better term, quantum fiction." (page 418)
  51. ^ Quantum Fiction: A review of Jean-Philippe Toussaint's Running Away
    , a review by Kathleen Brazie; Charlotte's View, Metropolitan Ideas and Art
  52. ^ Reality, the New Fiction
    , by Scott Henderson
  53. ^ Inner/Outer fiction/operating manual: Linear Shouting
    Tsogblogsphere January 22, 2010
  54. ^ The new nature of the multiverse - a quantum fiction
    Michael Moorcock
  55. ^ Quantum Fiction
    , by Ranse Parker
  56. ^ Changing Planes
    , by Laurie Brenner; quantum fiction
  57. ^ Loose Canon
    , by Charles Platt; Cosmos Books (August, 2001) ISBN 1-58715-437-4; page 73 "I do believe that "Quantum Fiction" would circumvent some problems associated with traditional science fiction. And the only person who tried to use this form was me (in my novel Protektor, Avon Books)."
  58. ^ Dissertation abstracts international: The humanities and social sciences
    - University Microfilms International; Issue 12 (2002) Education. Chapter Five, "Quantum Scripts...," examines the question of what knowledge quantum fiction requires its readers to have, and how fiction helps establish new thought patterns based on scientific concepts."
  59. ^ An interview with Wilson Harris
    , by Fred D'Aguiar; BOMB 82 magazine - Winter 2003
  60. ^ Quantum Fiction: Relativity and Postmodernism in Lawrence Durrell's
    The Alexandria Quartet
    , by Susan H. Young; City University of New York; 2000
  61. ^ "Lawrence Durrell: The Art of Fiction No. 23 (interview)"
    Gene; Mitchell, Julian (23 April 1959), The Paris Review.
  62. ^ Masterplots II: Nonfiction Series
    Volume 4, Frank Northen Magill; Salem Press (1994) ISBN 0893564788, 9780893564780
  63. ^ Quantum Mechanics as Critical Model: Reading Nicholas Mosley's Hopeful Monsters
    by Samuel Sean Kinch; Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction - Taylor & Francis; SPRING 2006, VOL. 47, NO. 3 291; Page 4. "To date, Strehle offers the most systematic poetics of quantum fiction, which she employs to discuss the uses of quantum mechanics in the novels of..."
  64. ^ Contemporary American Fiction: Quirks, Quarks and Quests
    Wheaton College
  65. ^ Quantum Flux and Narrative Flow: Don DeLillo’s Entanglements with Quantum Theory
    , by Samuel Coale; published in Language and Literature, August, 2011
  66. ^ Les synergies entre cinéma et jeu vidéo: histoire, économie et théorie de l'adaptation vidéoludique
    , by Alexis Blanchet; Thèse soutenue - Thèse de doctorat en Sciences de l'art (Doctoral thesis on Science of Art); (October 30, 2009)
  67. ^ Author Vanna Bonta Talks About Quantum Fiction Laurel van der Linde Interviews Vanna Bonta About the Emerging Genre of Quantum Fiction
  68. ^ Quantum fiction: Are You Awake?
    The Quiet Pen; February 29, 2012
  69. ^ Quantum Fiction - Television
  70. ^ Fiction in the Quantum Universe
    , by Susan Strehle; Scholarly Book Service ISBN 978-0807843659 (June 27, 2002)
  71. ^ [3]
  72. ^ Quantum Fiction: Jean-Philippe Toussaint's 'Running Away'
    , by Kathleen Brazie; Charlotte Viewpoint, April 24, 2010
  73. ^ 'The Time Traveler's Wife
    , by Audrey Niffenegger
  74. ^ http://www.amazon.com/Happened-Boston-20th-Century-Rediscoveries/dp/0812970667
  75. ^ Flight: a quantum fiction novel
    , by Vanna Bonta
  76. ^ [http://www.amazon.com/The-Alexandria-Quartet-Boxed-Set/dp/0140153179
    The Alexandria Quartet, by Lawrence Durrell
  77. ^ Protektor
    , by Charles Platt
  78. ^ http://www.amazon.com/The-Eyre-Affair-Thursday-Penguin/dp/0142001805
  79. ^ Mobius Dick
    , by Andrew Crumey
  80. ^ The Invention of Morel
    , by Adolfo Bioy Casares
  81. ^ [http://www.amazon.com/Our-Tragic-Universe-Scarlett-Thomas/dp/0151013918
    Our Tragic Universe, by Scarlett Thomas
  82. ^ Hopeful Monsters, by
    Nicholas Mosley


Further reading

  • Writing in the Age of Quantum Fiction: Science, Technology and “Actualism” in Mutantes Fiction
    , Professor Christine Henseler, Germán Sierra, Vicente Luis Mora
  • Carnival and Quantum theory
    Metaphors of identity in Wilson Harri's The Carnival Trilogy, by Rebekka Eklund; The Society for Caribbean Studies Annual Conference Papers; Vol 7 (2006)
  • Loose Canon, by Charles Platt; (Cosmos Books, 2001) ISBN 1-58715-437-4
  • The Composition of Reality: A Talk with Wilson Harris, by Vera M. Kutzinski; Callaloo - Volume 18, Number 1,1995
  • Vanna Bonta talks about quantum fiction Wikiquote; Transcript, Author Interview; Audible.com (2007)
  • An interview with Wilson Harris
    , by Fred D'Aguiar; BOMB 82 magazine, Winter 2003, LITERATURE
  • Selected Essays: The Unfinished Genesis of the Imagination, by Wilson Harris
  • “Psychic Visions and Quantum Physics: Oates’ Big Bang and The Limits of Language,” by Samuel Coale; Studies in the Novel; Vol. 38 Issue 4, p427; (Academic Journal, December 2006)
  • Fiction in the Quantum Universe
    , by Susan Strehle (Scholarly Book Services, Inc. June 27, 2002) ISBN 978-0807843659
  • Weaving the Tapestry of Memory: Wilson Harris's "The Four Banks of the River of Space, by Jean-Pierre Durix
  • Callaloo, Vol. 18, No. 1 (1995)
  • The Entanglements of Nathaniel Hawthorne, by Samuel Chase Coale; Camden House (August 1, 2011)
  • Quantum Enigma (Physics Encounters Consciousness), by Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner (Oxford University Press, 2006)  - wikipedia
When Books Get Wings: Flight, Quantum Fiction

That is the year that Vanna Bonta had the audacity to suggest that quantum physics was not a flaccid topic of conversation boring the last to leave academia cock-tail parties, but a viable possibility to explain light, matter, time, and the very nature of our existence. That was the year she released Flight, the world's first hello, how do you do, to the emerging genre of Quantum Fiction.
I barely grasp the notion that when I violate the leash law walking the dog at 8:00 a.m. on the beach near San Diego that someone in the UK is just sitting down to afternoon tea. I asked my high school science teacher (twice) "Would you mind repeating that?" when he contradicted all my conventional perceptions and told me that time was relative, and a mathematician proved it.
Now Vanna Bonta is telling me there is even more that I don't know, but I surrender my resistance to learn something new because she seduces me with of a novel that is rare, and eloquent, and literary. And don't even dare to call it Science Fiction.
That mistake was made in 1996, but now the science is catching up to the light-year swiftness of her vision, and to call it sci-fi now is done at your own peril.
Here is the notion that is every bit as counter-intuitive as what that frizzy-haired mathematician had to say about time being relative: Matter can exist in two places simultaneously.
"Would you mind repeating that?"
Matter can exist in two places simultaneously.
Rather than intimidate us with formulae from the body of science that suggests and supports this theory, Ms. Bonta creates a novel that boldly goes where no novel has gone before. This new galaxy of literary possibilities discovered by Vanna Bonta and christened "Quantum Fiction" is the place "where science has caught up to fiction and found spirit." Real people, a real/surreal situation, that she makes entirely plausible and completely engages the imagination in an adventure of life as a multiple dimensioned reality.
Here's what happens in Flight, a quantum fiction novel.
Mendle Orion is a writer of what he believes is science fiction, and he's damn good at it. He makes an appeal for understanding of his soul to an anonymous readership, having failed to gain acceptance and compassion within the confines of a loving relationship with a woman. He craves connectedness that transcends the need for sex, and a character in his work-in-progress novel is his first glimpse at a kindred spirit. As he composes his fiction, "Every word brought her closer to him. Aira. Aira Flight, he murmured her name sotto voce. His soul chanted more than the name, it chanted the elan vital of balm to every instance of abuse, rejection and non-comprehension he had ever received."
While Mendle is in attendance at a sci-fi writer's convention as the keynote speaker, the Aira Flight of his novel is in trouble. A malevolent and self righteous force is attempting to turn all intelligence into slumber, establishing an empire of nothingness, which Mendle terms "The Comfort Zone of Oblivion." In his novel, Aira is an intelligence that is afloat in a dimension that is about to ingest her. She escapes, but only by becoming condensed-she becomes human.
And she becomes manifest in Mendle's hotel room at the convention.
The merger of quantum physics, sometimes referred to as quantum mechanics, into our conventional perception of reality is expressed through Mendle's thoughts: "Life is seen in pieces. The mind, body chemicals, other's evaluations, Time itself, all can fluctuate the total picture, or allow one to see only bits and corners, or only what one wants to see. What is the whole story?"
Flight, the novel, is an attempt to re-evaluate our perception of reality by introducing the possibility that thought affects matter. As Vanna Bonta says, "Every reality begins with an idea." But this is not a science lecture. It is a story of love and longing, and human potential.
It is hard to know if Vanna Bonta is a physics theorist who writes or a writer who happens to be a physics theorist. Her prose is of a caliber that matches the quality of her thoughts, and could propel any novel into greatness. Here is just one sample of her gift:
"On the far edge of the basin that sprawled below the hill, a weathered, large barn stood in a fenced patch of its own. Its dusky silhouette was solitary in the distance. Nearby towered a lone tree, the uncontested custodian of the field, with its arms fountaining majestically in mute loyalty."
Ms Bonta is a renaissance woman, offering a plethora of ideas and observations and theories in the guise of a novel, to make it all palatable. Reading Flight is like eating a gourmet meal. It is all about taste and nuance of flavor, and indulging the senses, and oh, by the way, we end up having all our nutritional needs met when we're done. We've learned something.
And what of Vanna Bonta? Mendle Orion has already conjured her for us in the form of Aira Flight.
"Angel, nymph, genius, he touched her in his mind, yet vulnerable."
Be not blinded by the light.
--Thornton Sully, Editor-in-Chief, "A Word with You Press"

An Interview With Author, Vanna Bonta Regarding Flight, A Quantum Fiction Novel

Laurel van der Linde
Transcript of November 2007 recorded interview
Accomplished writer/audio producer/director Laurel van der Linde interviews author Vanna Bonta about the emerging genre of quantum fiction, introduced by her controversial book Flight: A Quantum Fiction Novel, now available on audio book.

LL: So Vanna, I was hoping you could answer a few questions for us pertaining to Flight: A Quantum Fiction Novel. Could you define the term "quantum fiction" as a literary genre?

VB: Quantum fiction is any story that witnesses life and the human experience on a sub-atomic level. It involves quantum theory, bringing it forward as a possible explanation behind the concept of life imitating art, and art imitating life, in that all of us are - to some degree - the authors of our lives, in how we interact with reality. So, in the case of characters in quantum fiction, they bridge science, philosophy, and cognition, or the involvement of consciousness.

LL: What makes a story quantum fiction rather than some other literary genre?

VB: Well, quantum fiction is literature that embodies the new physical or quantum universe. It involves the view of reality as a multi-dimensional experience in which reality is subjectively seen and uncertainly known.

LL: Can you give us an example?

VB: Well, in one aspect of theoretical physics it's held that in any scientific experiment the observer affects the outcome. Electrons can behave differently whether they are being observed or not. And they can behave as both a wavelength or a more solid particle. So that brings up some interesting questions about how real can "real" be, if it's affected by the person viewing it. In a way, we can define it by what it's not. Just as how do we define consciousness? Or what has been called the human soul or the spirit, if it can't be quantified as matter or a particle. Often times it can be quantified or observed just by a process of elimination. Just like on a sub-atomic level if you break down an atom, and keep breaking it down to its sub particles, and then it disappears, and what's remaining is the person observing it. Well, through the process of elimination the observer or some aspect of awareness is indirectly quantified. For example, in Flight our protagonist grapples with reality to determine the validity of what's what: His dreams, with the drives of his physical body, what others think, being manipulated, his own will, and wishful thinking, fears. Like all of us, he navigates through a pre-existing world - what we see as solid reality - and discovers the existence and integrity of his consciousness, his self, his own awareness, his own power of his own ability to create.

LL: So what you're saying is a character's self-awareness and individual perception interacts with the quantum theory of reality and is essential to the plot?

VB: Yes, exactly. Like in life, the way we perceive life and reality is often instrumental in how things can unfold. For example, quantum fiction plays that out by factoring in consciousness or awareness and perception as a real playing component. Which quantum theory is now revealing to us is, through characters,  non-linear plot lines, or the involvement of multiple dimensions. It ultimately witnesses the physical world as inextricable from consciousness or the observer of that world. Not that the science particularly has to do with a good story, but Heisenberg and other physicists have conducted experiments (like the double slit experiment), where electrons behave differently depending on whether they are being measured or not. That is life on the sub-atomic level. And whether we are aware of it, of the science, it is definitely a factor of what we experience as every day reality.

LL: Then if I understand this correctly, what you mean by sub-atomic adventures is literary material which delves beneath the curtain of reality. Which is of course an age old question dating back I believe to the ancient Greeks.

VB: Yes. Math and literature are very cerebral. But Pythagoras, for example -Pythagorean thought was dominated by mathematics, but it was also profoundly mystical. Pythagoras' idea of the transmigration of the soul is central, and it's closer to Platonic idealism in the theory that substantive reality is only a reflection of some other non-quantified spirit, awareness, consciousness, whatever you want to call it. But ultimately, any literature when it arrives at being good literature, transcends genre. It has the power to affect us in a profound way.

LL: So, you are very well studied (obviously) in both the classical philosophers as well as contemporary mechanics, contemporary physics, etc. Which leads me the next question: Were you deliberately trying to create a new genre of literature, or was this something that evolved as you were actually writing Flight?

VB: It was in no way deliberate. It's not what I set out to do. It is what I was writing and I was simply being true to my writing. I followed my inspiration to an ending I couldn't yet see, and incorporated techniques of allegory and exposition, expository essay, and to tell a story knowing only that I was on the road that I needed to be on creatively. It only came later that various editors, senior editors at major houses who wanted the book said that they didn't quite know what genre it was and what was it. They were saying "it's not really science fiction, it's not really adventure, it's not really romance". And I said "well it is quantum fiction". The first line of the story is "which came first the observer or the particle?" - and it goes from there. So, it was just a result from me writing the story that I needed to write.

LL: So far from being contrived, this was a natural evolution, which like anything new and different has created some controversy. I understand several books have been written about quantum fiction, and over the past three years other authors have began to define their work as such.

VB: Einstein said "The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it's at all comprehensible." And when we can build something like the Hubble telescope and fathom images of this vast cosmos of which we are a part, it really gives pause to wonder what and who we are within a larger framework than linear adventures at the shopping mall and taxes. I certainly didn't write it to be popular. I wrote it because it was what I had to write. My theory has always been that the real plot in fiction parallels life in that it happens within the characters. Essentially events, time, forms, all propel the inner plot within each of us. And at the end of a person's life that's what they are looking at. What happened inside? How did that experience change me, and how did I change it? That's essentially what quantum fiction is, it's what quantum theory defines as a realm.

LL: Which is a very deep subject and therefore requires some very deep answers, very deep thinking and very deep answers.

VB: It is although it would really be doing a disservice that any story involving this should be relegated to simply that realm. It's essentially a story and the job of a writer is to be entertaining. In quantum fiction adventures things like coincidences, synchronicity, telepathy, deja vu, and an assortment of odd experiences that have been formerly the realm of the paranormal can now - at least theoretically - be  explained by a new look at the physical world. The realm of quanta is how I have intrinsically approached and viewed reality since I was born. Knowing that what appears to us solid is ultimately both a particle and a wavelength, and on that realm everything behaves as both a particle and a wave. There are infinite possibilities and I believe people at large are becoming more aware that there is much more to reality and to themselves than what meets the eye. So, it's really not about understanding. I'm not a physicist. I am essentially a writer. It has been my passion, and it is something that took me into this realm.

LL: Very good. Now, focusing still on this evolving genre which is solidly rooted in the classics from what I'm understanding here. How do you see this developing? For example, we basically look at H.G. Wells as the founding father of science fiction, so that goes back roughly a hundred plus years ago, almost one hundred fifty years ago, and now we see how science fiction has evolved to this point. What do you see happening with quantum fiction a hundred and fifty years from now?

VB: Well, since Flight was first published I have seen the past couple of years (2002 / 2003) other people are defining their works as such, and the possibilities are really unlimited. I believe as people become more aware of this universe as a quantum universe, it will embrace things like holographic entertainment experiences, and already virtual reality and virtual interaction are an element of quantum fiction. Where it really is the participant; the reader and the author are interacting. In Flight essentially our protagonist is a writer who is writing a novel, and then begins to see things from his novel occurring in the reality around him and he questions "am I losing my mind?" or "am I somehow influencing reality around me?" And he dreams of true love, and then he meets this woman that he believes is his soul mate. So there is quantum theory behind all of that; you don't have to really be aware of what it is to enjoy the ride. More significantly, stories will not be linear and they'll overflow and incorporate the factors of existence that are invisible. So essentially Flight is just an adventure of multiple realities.

LL: Well that gives credence to the term "genre bending" at that point, because it requires us to think a little bit more when we are reading stories that aren't linear. Focusing now on some shop talk, as a writer prior to Flight you had written poetry, short stories, novels or novellas. What was the catalyst that prompted you to write a full length novel?

VB: Essentially it was the medium that I felt would best serve the story and I think it's a natural progression that just occurred.

LL: And referring to your characters, getting into "does life reflect art" or "does art reflect life?" - and this is all an excellent example - did you create your characters, or did they emerge from your subconscious and move to the front?

VB: I actually thought of the character ... I think the story was character driven in that I thought of Aira Flight, our heroine, while I was in a movie studio lot and bored out of my mind in a dressing room thinking "this is not what I wanted to act for, and this is not what I want to write about." And so from there it was like "well if I could write any story what would it be?" And so I thought of who would be the Errol Flynn of today? Just as the character of a swash buckling heroine - and she may not be the more obvious heroine - but it did work out that as I was creating characters to serve the story and the concept, each character is an allegory for kind of every phase of and every aspect of human existence. There is Aira Flight who is like a pure light being, who is incorporated as a woman here on Earth here for the first time. There's a writer who is a man who questions reality, and he has both his dark side and his light side, which really embodies the human condition. And you know, his ex-girlfriend the conniving, body-oriented hot journalist who controls by manipulation, and thinks that the only thing there is to reality is what she can see in the mirror. So it was not intentional, and it was a process of discovery and serving the story. And then after a while they tell you who they are. [laughter]

LL: Yes they do and they tell you where they want to go and you better come along with them. And interestingly enough you mentioned the character of Sandra and being driven by what she sees in the mirror, and yet Aira Flight is in essence a mirror of our society, and our social morals and what we are doing at this time.

VB: True.

LL: It was very interesting to have her observe all of us and her reactions to, her objective reaction to what we do in our society now and how we interact with each other. So given that we have all become rather captivated by these characters that have found their lives through you, may we anticipate a sequel in the near future?

VB: Yes, they are on the runway and should be cleared for take off next year.

LL: So that would be sometime in 2008?

VB: Mmm-hmm.

LL: And is there one sequel or two?

VB: There are two at this time.

LL: At this time? So we might be able to anticipate more! Very good. Well Vanna, we certainly thank you for talking with us today. And if you have enjoyed this interview with author Vanna Bonta, download Flight: A Quantum Fiction Novel read by the author at audible.com
Author interview series copyright Audio Library 2007.

Fiction in the Quantum Universe 

Susan Strehle   

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