chapter  Chapter 7
30 Pages

Macrological: New Worlds

WithPeter Stockwell

This chapter discusses how the science fictional world, already created, is negotiated and managed in the course of reading. The framework of possible worlds was only able to take us so far in understanding the process, and was augmented by a cognitive dimension. The notion of possible world was developed in philosophical logic to resolve a number of problems to do with determining the truth or falsity of propositions. Possible world theory is also a useful way of accounting for reference to things which do not exist. Take the famous science fictional sentence. 'The king was pregnant', in which 'the king' refers to the ruler of Karhide on the planet Gethen. As Semino notes, possible worlds theory needs to be augmented with a cognitive dimension, if it is to have any usefulness in discussing how readers manage to construct worlds from texts.