Rousseau, Yvonne

Tagged: Author | Editor | Critic

(1945-    ) Australian author, editor and critic whose first published fiction of genre interest was "The Truth About Oscar" (22 December 1981 The Bulletin; in Matilda at the Speed of Light, anth 1988, ed Damien Broderick). Her The Murders at Hanging Rock (1980; exp 1988) is a remarkable jeux-d'esprit study of Picnic at Hanging Rock (1967) by Joan Lindsay (1896-1984), whose four mutually incompatible approaches to the novel's central mystery include analyses in terms of classical detective fiction and of Australian Dreamtime Fantastika; when the cut final chapter of Picnic at Hanging Rock was published as The Secret at Hanging Rock (1987 chap) with a commentary by Rousseau, the enigmatic "so...

London

Tagged: Theme

As the City at the heart of the British Empire, London was long seen by UK speculative authors as bearing the brunt of whatever Disaster the future might bring. There are many proleptic post-imperial visions of London destroyed or depopulated, as in William Delisle Hay's The Doom of the Great City; Being the Narrative of a Survivor, Written A.D. 1942 (1880 chap), and other works discussed under Ruins and Futurity. Often the city's colossal wreck is viewed through the memorializing gaze of an archetypal New Zealander or similar visitor from afar. George Bernard Shaw's play Back to Methuselah (1921; revs 1921-1945) goes beyond mere ruination: in the enlightened England of 3000 CE, a would-be p...

Matter Penetration

Tagged: Theme

The ability to walk through walls or be otherwise transported through solid matter is a wish-fulfilment fantasy less prevalent than Invisibility, perhaps owing to its greater scientific implausibility. The first sf example is perhaps "The Ray of Displacement" (October 1903 The Metropolitan Magazine) by Harriet Prescott Spofford (1835-1921), whose titular Ray diffuses an individual's atoms and allows him to slide through solid matter (also granting effective Invisibility). Further Inventions enabling such movement appear in Murray Leinster's "The Mole Pirate" (November 1934 Astounding), where "earth planes" travel through the substance of the Earth; Colin Kapp's "Lambda I" (December 1962 New...

Ruins and Futurity

Tagged: Theme

Ruins do not necessarily precede Futurity; a ruined structure may be nothing more than a structure that has fallen into ruins, with no message to draw about the world we live in or of things to come. But from time immemorial a Ruin has also been understood as a ruined structure, or an edifice constructed in the shape of a Ruin, that is meant to be contemplated. For millennia Ruins have served to make political points; or more interestingly as emblems of vanitas, often as signs of humanity's decay from the time of the gods, when there were giants in the earth; or in more recent times as dramatic backdrop for some time-honoured human drama, for instance the erotic tangles narrated in Hypneroto...

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