Dr. Tom Whalen (State Academy of Art and Design, Stuttgart): "The Straw That Broke; Or, Science Fiction and Ontology in the Age of Post-Humanism."

Tuesday, 25.11.2014, 18:00-20:00 Uhr, U9/01.11

Allusive, punning, intricately plotted and exponentially self-referential, science fiction which ultimately explores the science of fiction or, more aptly, the art of narrative, is how Brad Richard in American Letters & Commentary has described Tom Whalen’s science fiction novels. Whalen will read from his new novel, The Straw That Broke, and discuss some of the challenges in writing literary, wide-screen baroque SF.


Bulwer Zetford's work-in-progress The Cosmic Messenger is about to take a strange turn, and the multiverse with it, when Roithamer of Relix "beads" once again and brings swirling into Zetford's Kaduza M-mon processor the Encyclopedia Mouse, the one creature who can save the multiverse. Tale twines tale as the mouse battles his Doppelgänger in cyberspace, Heidegger in his Black Forest hut, and a hyper-crazed Roithamer. Death is everywhere, but the mouse, birling (if only barely) in his Binding Nexus Drive, is determined to narrate the universes away from their demise. But this won’t be easy, since the mouse is wanted for crimes against philosophy, science, art, religion, fiction, history, logical positivism, and a great deal of what your mother and father taught you. When EM is turned out of the Binding Nexus Drive, he must face trial aboard a Harkonian orbital, while over Broadway descends a viral cloud, the O Code manufactured by the Harkons, that attacks all matter at its ontological core. Who will help the mouse? Mary, once a biochemist who enhanced Water10, now a demoted editor at DeBase SF in Little Rock? Cali, now bereft of Cassandra, pursued by an infected Roithamer within and without the water planet Relix? A 19th century American author near the end of his life struggling to complete his Theory-of-Everything masterwork Eureka!? There's no dearth of enemies or riddles to unravel, tales to re-thread in The Straw That Broke, a novel that stretches the limits of metaphysics, metafiction and the art of the tale.

TOM WHALEN is a novelist, short story writer, poet and critic who has written for Agni, Bookforum, Chicago Review, Fiction International, Film Quarterly, the Washington Post and other publications. His books include Dolls, Elongated Figures, The Birth of Death and Other Comedies: The Novels of Russell H. Greenan, and the novels The President in Her Towers and Roithamer’s Universe. He lives in Stuttgart, Germany, where he teaches film at the State Academy of Art and Design.