abstract: Reading Delany's sword-and-sorcery Nevèrÿon cycle—with a particular focus on the tales collected in Flight from Nevèrÿon , including the AIDS novella The Tale of Plagues and Carnivals (1984)—alongside Lou Reed's songs, this article argues that Delany's fantastic, endlessly queer aesthetic "spaces" offer a complex definition of the queer utopia, one that invokes and demands the future José Esteban Muñoz desires, even as it insists that such a future can only be called into being against the backdrop of the celebration of negation lauded by Lee Edelman. This article aims to reinsert the "abstract" paraliterary utopia into Muñoz's materialist argument, even as it questions the division in queer theory between Muñoz's hopeful desire and Edelman's death-driven polemic. In The Tale of Plagues and Carnivals , the endless play of pleasure and death leads ultimately to a sundering of the division between fantasy and material reality, with the division between Nevèrÿon and the streets of New York (in the opening days of the AIDS pandemic) finally collapsing in the narrative's conclusion, opening into new, queer quantum presents.
Utopian Studies – Penn State University Press
Published: Jul 19, 2017
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