Unrealism addresses the way unrealistic genres of writing like science fiction, horror, romance, and fantasy can display a capacity to reflect on and interrogate generic conventions. Unrealism describes a process that unsettles the literary hierarchies in which genre fiction is subordinated, undermining the privilege allotted realistic modes of fiction and extending its disturbance into the social and political frameworks in which distinctions of fiction and reality are maintained. Theorizing the significance of the prefix un by means of the political critique of democracy Jacques Rancière offers and, in terms of subjectivity, through a reexamination of psychoanalytic notions of the unconscious and the uncanny, the article analyzes the impact of formal, generic, and social instances of unrealism in writings by M. John Harrison, J. G. Ballard, China Miéville, and Kazuo Ishiguro.
Fred Botting; Unrealism: Critical Reflections in Popular Genre: Critical Reflections in Popular Genre. Genre 1 July 2018; 51 (2): 183–207. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00166928-6899306
Download citation file: