Author

Eric York

Date of Award

5-2006

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Advisor

Alexander Irvine

Second Committee Member

Naomi Jacobs

Third Committee Member

David Kress

Abstract

These stories contained herein represent my apprentice work as a writer of fiction, specifically in the genre of science fiction. As such, they are indicative of my progress in the craft of writing as well as my preoccupations with the more human subjects this craft is able to depict. It is the central investigation of this work into the mind and matter of what it is to be human that makes these stories more than mere entertainment, though it my hope that they are also that. The simultaneous blending of what is entertainment and what is investigation form the underpinnings of this work. There are a couple things I keep foremost in my mind when I am writing. One is my purpose. I know that the writing of fiction is, ultimately, the entertainment business, and as such is governed by the audience's demand, but I always try to temper this function of entertainment with another, higher function: that of social consciousness. Each of the stories in this portfolio is a direct result of a real-world situation, and is a dramatization of or a commentary on it. For instance, "A New Little Blue" deals with the issue of the prevalence of prescription drugs in our society as well as the implications of government-approved chemical treatment; while "The Machines Who Made Us" is a look at our dependence on technology and the stories we tell ourselves about it. I feel that so-called science fiction is uniquely suited to these kinds of commentary and exploration. Science-fiction presents a world that is recognizable and at the same time, wholly unfamiliar, and thereby locates the reader in a space where assumptions can be called into question and new paradigms can be posited. In this space, our world as we see it takes on new dimensions and new possibilities. The reader can, even if only for the briefest of moments, escape the confines of his or her own head and experience a place that is common to us all. This is the higher function of fiction, and this is the function I strive to attain.

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