Reading as Mediation: Urbanity in the Age of Information

Madhu Dubey

in Signs and Cities

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2003 | ISBN: 9780226167268
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226167282 | DOI:
Reading as Mediation: Urbanity in the Age of Information

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Electronic technologies of information are profoundly transforming perceptions of urban form in the late twentieth century. Many of the terms used to describe postmodern cities—such as netropolis, teletopia, or cyburbia—are inspired by these new technologies, suggesting that cities are being reimagined less as visible territorial structures than as virtual circuits of information. This chapter focuses on Samuel Delany's novel Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand (1984) because science fiction at its best can point a way out of technological determinism by prompting historical understandings of technology. It shows that Delany's novel takes up certain problems of representation specific to postmodern cities conceived as webs of information, and entertains a range of possible solutions to these problems by materializing them in multiple imaginary contexts.

Keywords: technology; urban form; cities; Samuel Delany; science fiction; technological determinism; imaginary contexts

Chapter.  21612 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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