Textual Multiverse in Science Fiction Prose, as in I. Asimov’s “The Bicentennial Man”

Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates


2017, Vol. 3. №2

Textual Multiverse in Science Fiction Prose, as in I. Asimov’s “The Bicentennial Man”

For citation: Protasov T. A. 2017. “Textual Multiverse in Science Fiction Prose, as in I. Asimov’s ‘The Bicentennial Man’”. Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates, vol. 3, no 2, pp. 109-121. DOI: 10.21684/2411-197X-2017-3-2-109-121

About the author:

Timofei A. Protasov, Postgraduate Student, Department of English Language, Tyumen State University; tim-protasov@ya.ru


Science fiction (sci-fi, sf) is of particular interest for researchers working in cognitive poetics. One major reason for this is the way that science fiction creates and runs alternative worlds that are both alien and recognizable; and the strangeness of these world-constructions can illuminate the operating limits of stylistic frameworks such as text-world theory, narrative comprehension, and other worlds-based mental models.

When science fiction and fantasy writers imagine an unknown world, they draw necessarily on the familiar as well as the strange. It becomes is a particularly interesting object of study for stylistics in general for its somewhat unique stylistic features, including unique and creative imagery, experiments with narrative structure and new words formation. It proves to be especially interesting in the field of cognitive stylistics from the point of view of Text World Theory’s (TWT; originally formulated by P. Werth in 1999) implementation, as one of science fiction’s main features is the creation of new worlds. Thus, science fiction seems to be a well-suited example for studying TWT.

In this paper, I explore the mental world creation of the science-fiction novel “The Bicentennial Man” by the American science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov (1976). I consider the structural variety in the textual multiverse of this novel, wherein text worlds can be classified into different groups according to how “fantastic” they appear to the reader, and how it affects the reader’s perception of the whole novel.


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