A literary character with the actual power to kill
February 20, 2013 12:15 PM Subscribe
How To Write Drone Fiction
posted by not_the_water (21 comments total)
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: "One can easily and self-righteously claim the merits of writing non-fiction about drones by asserting a primacy of fact over “false fiction”. The problem is that one does not write non-fiction about drones."
"A drone is a literary character–it is an archetype of uncanny and deadly technology, spread out around us in the geopolitical world in such a way that they are nearly invisible to our non-fictional sense of fact, and yet around us all the time in fiction, invisibly hiding in the clouds, with as much reality as a paranoid delusion. And yet a drone is a literary character with the actual power to kill. They are related to the world of fact as surely as a bullet fired out of the pages of a novel, hitting the reader in the face. The substance that we use to create the fictional character of drones is drawn from a world where these are not speculations, but every day fact.
This strange one-way overlap between fact and fiction is due to the fact that we have yet to fully deal with our present concept drones as fiction, and therefore we are unable to deal with the present and future of UAVs in the world as fact. Think about the non-fiction of UAVs–it is boring, dry, and doesn’t relate at all to most people’s experience any more than a publication by Jane’s or a report by Amnesty International. And this is why we turn to science fiction to hear about drones–because this writing corresponds to our imaginary world, and the characterization we have formed around drones. We pull UAVs into our fantasies of the future and technology. To allow us a separate dimension of speculative investigation drawing upon the world of facts is science fiction’s purpose, at which it excels."
Sarah Wanenchak responds in The Society Pages