The language of science fiction, and of fantasy, has a steep challenge:
that of the creation of other worlds, societies and characters that are
alien to us in diverse and fundamental ways, but still compelling and
knowable. This exciting book steps away from the issues of race, gender
and politics that have saturated sci-fi and fantasy criticism. Rather, it
challenges two widely held but poorly substantiated beliefs circulating
about science fiction and fantasy - that they are
a) written in plain and unremarkable prose
b) apt to present characters that are flat types
rather than fully realised individuals.
Mandala draws on traditional syntactic categories of stylistic analysis as
well as the relatively more recent pragmatic and sociolinguistic paradigms
such that the original analyses here take our understanding of these two
genres beyond the usual confines, to consider how language is used to draw
alternative words, represent the far future and distant past, and create
psychologically believable characters.
Covering both British and American fiction and television, this is a
wide-ranging and perceptive book.