Science-in-fiction: Carl Djerassi's literary subversion of the sciences

PRES 13

Walter Gruenzweig, walter.gruenzweig@uni-dortmund.de, University of Dortmund, Emil-Figge-Str. 50, 44227 Dortmund, Germany
With his "Science-in-Fiction" and "Science-in-Theatre," Carl Djerassi has introduced two new genres into world literature. On the one hand, these genres are designed to raise the public's knowledge and understanding of issues surrounding the sciences, of improving the literacy. On the other had, they allow, as Djerassi himself has prominently stated in NATURE, "the illustration and dicussion of ethical dilemmas that are frequently not raised for reasons of discretion, embarrassment, or fear of retribution." Through a close reading of passages from Djerassi's four major science-in-fiction novels and by analyzing international reception documents, this brief paper will demonstrate how Djerassi's literary work, beyond pedagogy and revelation, questions the "monological" quality of the sciences and establishes their cultural, discursive foundation(s) - thereby opening up new possibilities for a dialogue between the different approaches to human understanding and knowledge.