Orchids of Mars: Book One and Reading the Reader: Virtual Reality as Science Fiction Trope

Finley, Morgan (2019) Orchids of Mars: Book One and Reading the Reader: Virtual Reality as Science Fiction Trope. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

This paper investigates narrative from two standpoints: a creative one, comprising ten chapters of a science fiction novel, and a critical one, examining virtual reality as trope within three science fiction narratives. Creative and critical portions directly inform one another with regards to scrutiny and interrogation of the reader’s ability and desire to construct meaning from text.

The creative portion opens a trilogy titled Orchids of Mars and follows three young characters as they attend school for the first time. The story depends upon several aspects of the virtual, including multiple, potential realities perceived and created by differing perspectives, as well as the illusory nature of the wards’ childhood. As the story proceeds, their various allergic reactions are imparted to the reader via increasingly erratic typographical transformations. This is a deliberate attempt to deny the reader an ‘easy’ reading experience; by adjoining textual aberrations to narrative allergic reactions, the reader’s uneasy reactions will closely mirror the characters’ fictional experiences.

Reading the Reader is broad in scope, examining three aspects of the virtual as identified by Marie-Laure Ryan. Each aspect is studied over the course of one chapter, describing distinct formulations of the virtual reality trope made possible when accounting for Ryan’s differing aspects; examination of the effects generated when the trope is deployed within narrative; and theorising of reader reaction to resulting departures from traditional narrative tendencies. These critical analyses are executed using close readings of novels by Tad Williams, Suzanne Collins, and Jeff Noon, as well as the critical theories belonging to the field of narratology.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Literature and Creative Writing
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2020 14:18
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2020 14:18
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/77386
DOI:

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