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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Chicano Science Fiction and the Shattering of Colonized Reality: The Resurgence of the Alien Sublime

  • Author(s): Valencia, Daniel
  • Advisor(s): Vint, Sherryl
  • et al.

In this project I explore the uncharted domains of Chicana/o science fiction. Expanding on the interdisciplinary body of scholarship generated within the Chicana/o Studies tradition, which has generally focused on investigating the past as method to express the diverse Chicana/o experience, I deploy science fiction as method to theorize on a new consciousness of empowerment and liberation for Chicanas/os. I examine the ways in which Chicana/o science fiction not solely engages with speculative futures, but of greater magnitude, the ways in which Chicana/o science fiction dimensionalizes space and time to expose colonized reality as artificial. My project, therefore, in addition to extending upon conventional Chicana/o scholarship, engages with science fiction as an existential phenomenon by locating the experience of genuine empowerment and liberation on the resurgence of the alien sublime. The alien sublime is re-discovering the true self as the creative and vibrant essence of science fiction itself…cosmic consciousness as timeless, formless, boundless life-energy, which may also be understood as primordial awareness that experiences space-time-reality in material form. I contend that true liberation cannot be accessed through an imagined political identity that originates from the colonial form, but by experiencing liberation as a science-fictional practice of self-realization. Liberation, in other words, cannot be achieved within the colonized dominion of space and time, but rather, by discovering liberation as the fundamental essence of the alien sublime. Featuring several Chicana/o science fiction novels, I demonstrate how the alien sublime is expressed using a myriad of techniques. In its entirety, this project offers a vastly alternative approach to empowerment and liberation, thereby encouraging a re-evaluation that contextualizes the Chicana/o experience as an ontological activity.

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