When tracing the diachronic development of science fiction from the first expressions of the genre in Latin and Greek literature, via the works stemming from the period of industrialisation to the recent works typical of the computer age, we can see how ontological and epistemological interests have characterised the various phases of the genre. Thus, after the very first examples of science fiction, in which ancient people resorted to mythology and to a universe inhabited by pagan gods to interpret nature and its events, we witness to an intensification of the ontological interest, thanks to which the genre is exploited to examine issues of identity (personal, national, ethnic, etc.), calling into question the very idea of humanity. Clearly, the two levels often overlap and create, in particularly sophisticated products, a type of science fiction that rests on both epistemological and ontological presuppositions, raising important issues in both arenas. This is for instance the case of Christine Brooke-Rose’s Out, where the genre is exploited to investigate the construction and de-construction not only of racial identity but of human identity at large. The aim of this article is therefore to see how the specialised languages of science and medicinework within the text and interact with other, more poetic discourses.
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