In Changing Regimes: Vonda McIntyre’s Parody of Astrofuturism, De Witt Douglas Kilgore is responding to the claims of Frances Bonner that feminist SF authors whose works were published in the 1960’s and 1970’s have reverted to writing in a “masculine genre.” Instead, Kilgore argues, using Vonda McIntyre’s work as his primary focus, that it was rather a form of tactical feminism using the conventions of Cold War astrofuturism as a thoughtful reengagement in response to critics who sought to limit the impact of the feminist speculative fictions. “McIntyre’s recent work can be read not as the abandonment of her earlier feminist project bus as a refusal to accept its containment within a subgenre” (261). As I understand it, astrofuturism is the idea that humanity will reinvent itself when it achieves its destiny in space; which, in itself, could reflect any political mindset/values. However, it has often been associated with the reproduction of militaristic colonialism.
Kilgore then breaks down McIntyre’s subversiveness in the Star Trek and Star Farer series citing as one example amongst many, her Star Trek novel The Entropy Effect in which “a security chief, a starship captain, a defense attorney, and a brilliantly inventive engineer represent the types of women who make up McIntyre’s future” (261). Why would Star Trek be a worthwhile site of feminist discourse if anchored in patriarchal narratives? Kilgore argues that “while the feminist/anti-racist politics of the 1960s and 1970s made it possible to talk seriously about racism, sexism, class bias and other antagonisms, they did not negate the imaginative power of these regimes within sf’s mainstream” (260). I find myself easily convinced that McIntyre did try to bring in a certain amount of subversiveness in these texts as she herself expressed in class last week. “Poor Kirk, he always gets turned down in my novels.” (Vonda McIntyre, UO – Nov 7th.)
Kilgore, De Witt D. “Changing Regimes: Vonda McIntyre’s Parody of Astrofuturism.”Science Fiction Studies 27.2 (2000): 256-77. Print.