Open Access Senior Thesis
© 2014 Joanne Chern
Asian American literature has continued to evolve since the emergence of first generation Asian American writers in 1975. Authors have continued to interact not only with Asian American content, but also with different forms to express that content – one of these forms is genre writing. Genre writing allows Asian American writers to interact with genre conventions, using them to inform Asian American tropes and vice versa. This thesis focuses on the genre of science fiction, specifically in the subgenre of time travel. Using three literary case studies – Ken Liu’s “The Man Who Ended History,” Charles Yu’s How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, and Ted Chiang’s “Story of Your Life” – this thesis seeks to explore the ways in which different Asian American writers have interacted with the genre, using it to retell Asian American narratives in new ways. “The Man Who Ended History” explores the use of time travel in restoring lost or silenced historical narratives, and the implications of that usage; How to Live Safely is a clever rewriting of the immigrant narrative, which embeds the story within the conventions of a science fictional universe; “Story of Your Life” presents a reimagining of alterity, and investigates how we might interact with the alien in a globalized world. Ultimately, all three stories, though quite different, express Asian American concerns in new and interesting ways; they may point to ways that Asian American writers can continue to write and rewrite Asian American narratives, branching out into new genres and affecting those genres in turn.
Chern, Joanne, "Restoring, Rewriting, Reimagining: Asian American Science Fiction Writers and the Time Travel Narrative" (2014). Scripps Senior Theses. 449.