ABSTRACT

The previous two chapters focused primarily on the ways in which scientifically essentialized identities-expressed through a hegemonic white masculinity, a racist proto-feminism, and an inescapable “othering” of nonwhite and orientalised figures-function to shore up existing social hierarchies. In part, this is a process of creating and silencing threats to hegemonic identities, a retrenchment of dominance most obvious in the development of a violent, neo-Romantic white masculinity for the modern age in the form of Tarzan and Buck Rogers. But those threats can take on a life of their own, so to speak, or be deployed by the oppressed against the prevailing system: the scientific feminism of Mizora and the less overt critique of whiteness in the death of Wauna; Aylmer’s sexual desire for the birthmark itself; and, as I imply in the conclusion to the last chapter, an erotic, and potentially queered, fixation on the male body in both the Tarzan and Buck Rogers narratives. All of these serve to introduce possible entry points into antihegemonic work, through the semiotic slipperiness of SF identities.