By Ulrike Küchler, Silja Maehl, Graeme A. Stout
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Extra resources for Alien Imaginations: Science Fiction and Tales of Transnationalism
Wells says this without knowing it. In fact, he repeats it. However, this form of textual repetition does not stop there. Or, put diﬀerently, it assumes precisely the form of what earlier I called scriptura interruptus, a detail that ties in a rather startling way the motif of copulation control to the very medium of printed prose. One of the more striking features of The War of the Worlds is its organization of the plot/story relation and the attendant distribution of narrative voice. If one, in following the formalist school, distinguishes between the plot and the story by characterizing the former as the sequence of diegetic events as related versus that sequence as lived, then one is struck by how Wells’ text is plotted such that it is narrated after the fact.
And he invites all sorts of “historicizing subjects”—backward-looking people sharing his passion for the past—to live with him. They create a mosaic of decontextualized artifacts and biographies that have lost their meaning and net of references. Their only remaining function is discursive preservation and ideologization, thus turning the Dream Realm into a state that is a space of the past without being a historical place. Of the former population only a blue-eyed clan stayed, while the new inhabitants of the Dream Realm, and its newly founded capital, Perle, are mainly Germans.
The story links this abundant “tissue of quotations” (Barthes 1977: 146) on the level of (literary) language composition to the issue of composition as language: it follows Gulliver in a hydroplane to the land of Faremido after his ship has been under attack from the Germans at the height of the First World War. The foreign land’s name derives from the language of its inhabitants, the Solasis: huge robots who converse in music. The idea of exploring the alien other by means of musical language derives from another source, probably—next to Swift—the most important one.