By Thomas Pynchon
Charles Mason (1728-1786) and Jeremiah Dixon (1733-1779) have been the British surveyors top remembered for operating the boundary among Pennsylvania and Maryland that we all know this present day because the Mason-Dixon Line. this is their tale as re-imagined by way of Thomas Pynchon, that includes local americans and frontier people, ripped bodices, naval struggle, conspiracies erotic and political, and significant caffeine abuse. We stick with the mismatched pair--one rollicking, the opposite depressive; one Gothic, the opposite pre-Romantic--from their first trip jointly to the Cape of fine wish, to pre-Revolutionary the USA and again, in the course of the unusual but redemptive turns of fortune of their later lives, on a grand journey of the Enlightenment's darkish hemisphere, as they discover and perform the various possibilities for madness offered them via the Age of Reason.
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Extra info for Mason & Dixon: A Novel
91–92]. Nevertheless, despite the fact that — as Russ points out — science ﬁction should theoretically provide ﬂexible boundaries for writers seeking to work through (or past) ideas surrounding restrictive gender roles, such roles still contributed greatly to debates about the place of the “softer sex” in science ﬁction creation and fandom. While women were marginalized but active in magazines, fanzines and general science ﬁction culture from the 1920s onward, the radical politics of 1960s–70s feminism brought tensions to a head; Russ’s article “The Image of Women in SF” (published in The Red Clay Reader 1970, Vertex 1974) served as one notable catalyst for arguments surrounding feminism in science ﬁction, as Russ’s own politically active positioning clearly marked her statements as part of the feminist movement (Merrick 105).
Of course, while the Japanese iconography that marks early cyberpunk may indeed present a racially-charged specter of “empty and dehumanized technological power” (170), cyberpunk’s distrust of corporations also stems from the economic forces that suffuse American culture; globalization in many respects constitutes “a distinct outgrowth of western capitalist and patriarchal systems” (Hawthorne 362). Moreover, James Messerschmidt traces the globalization of United States businesses back as far as the 1950s and notes that American exports have included hazardous products and corrupt management practices, causing appalling working conditions in Third World countries (110).
In short, though her work’s position within the cyberpunk genre was unquestioned, and Cadigan herself was praised by her male compatriots, she may have unknowingly taken the ﬁrst steps toward deﬁning the new boundaries of feminist cyberpunk and cyberﬁction; although her writing is, in truth, not overtly political, and “never fully engages with feminist concerns,” she also subverts a number of masculinist conventions (Cadora 358). The genre changes in Cadigan’s work are noticeably and notably echoed in the women’s ﬁction that was yet to come.