The Quantum Fiction of Michael Moorcock and William S. Burroughs

On Wednesday 4 December at 3p.m in TAG01, Sebastien Doubinsky from the University of Aarhus in Denmark will present a paper on the fiction of Michael Moorcock and William S. Burroughs to the Media School’s Narrative Research Group. Dr Doubinsky is a science fiction author of international renown (Absinth and the Song of SynthBabylon TrilogyQuien Es?) and also a literary critic and publisher, specialising in contemporary speculative works of poetry, criticism and fiction across four languages. All are welcome to attend and the abstract of the talk follows.

THE QUANTUM FICTION OF MICHAEL MOORCOCK AND WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS – a relative reading of The Jerry Cornelius Quartet and Nova Mob

If science-fiction is the questioning of our present through our possible future, then Moorcock and Burroughs go beyond this simplistic definition, as they also question our past. Through transparencies and cut-up techniques, they present us not only with a dystopian future, but rather with a dystopian present and future fuelled with the past. Jerry Cornelius can travel through time and the Multiverses, as well as agent Lee. The identity of the text then becomes problematic for the reader, as its polymorphous form, more often than not detached from sense, forces him into a very uncomfortable position, as “understanding” in the conventional sense becomes almost impossible. What’s more, by indicating the possibility of History through period or event references, these writers also question the coherence of fiction itself – putting it in a quantum state, that is to say in different places at the same time, with different  identities. Fiction and reality are thus displaced both within and outside of the reading frame, announcing a third possibility, which is their quintessential mirrored relativity.