Modernism And Modality Links
For anyone else who, like me, tends to like to kick these ideas about just to see if their heads crack open and, if so, what colour and consistency the brains are... as http://www.livejournal.com/users/douglain/ says over at his Live Journal, the whole Romanticism/Rationalism dichotomy is much more interesting than any (perceived or real) split between SF & Fantasy. I've got some more thoughts on this coming, but in the meantime, he's provided a nice wee link to an http://fp.uni.edu/robinsoj/Humanities%20II/romanticism.htm summarising the differences between the two. I'm kinda interested as to whether you can splice the "Third Way" of Modernism into this compare & contrast, so I'll probably end up rewriting me Rats vs Roms thoughts in those terms.
Another thing that's piqued my interest with this debate, and that I think takes it in a more interesting direction is that a few people have linked to Delany's essay, http://home.earthlink.net/~teluial/Delany-AboutFiveThousandSevenHundredAndFiftyWords.html. I hadn't read this up until now, and oooooooh but it's good. Anyone who hasn't read it: go read it. Fuck it! Anyone who has read it: go read it again. It's kicking off all sorts of ideas in my head at the moment with regard to my own pet theories of Structural Fabulation and Symbolic Formulation -- SF as (writing/reading) process rather than (written/read) product. Ben Rosenbaum has a comment on reader pleasure over at http://www.chrononaut.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-istilllovespam.cgi?entry_id=719, which ties in with this (and, in some ways, isn't far off Delany's idea of differences between being based subjunctivity -- this could happen, this could never happen, this has not happened, this will never happen).
Anyway, thoughts are currently stewing in my head about whether SF could actually be argued to produce multiple conflicting subjunctivities rather than the singular subjunctivity Delany ascribes. Unfortunately it's a long time since my lit-crit classes at Uni and I was never the biggest fan of that jargon-heavy theory anyway, so I'm not entirely sure if Delany's notion of subjunctivity, as "the tension on the thread of meaning that runs between (to borrow Saussure's term for ‘word’:) sound-image and sound-image" matches the idea of modality I'm imposing on it. I mean, like... "could", "should", "must", "is" -- that's whatcha call the modality of a sentence, innit? So why'dja gotta hurt my head with subjunctivity and that Saussure bastard?