Extrapolation

"If not this, what?" Time out of Joint and the Politics of Queer Utopia

Extrapolation (2012), 53, (1), 83–108.

Abstract

In this article, I read Philip K. Dick's classic 1959 science fiction novel, Time out of Joint, in conjunction with queer theoretical work on the politics of temporality. I analyze how the novel articulates queer temporalities that are not simply projective or future-oriented. Instead, my reading suggests that Time out of Joint offers a queer politics of time that works via the logic of what I call "retrospective futurity." If queerness, like utopia, has yet to be imagined, the retrospective future of Time out of Joint offers a glimpse into this "future" by turning backward in time. I argue that the novel provides a useful literary map to understand what queer temporality can offer science fiction's theories of utopia; but as importantly, I also consider how science fiction simultaneously offers a valuable theoretical antidote to the recent queer theoretical investment in the politics of anti-futurity.

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Shahani, Nishant