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Made up Ground: Architecture, Science Fiction, and the Surface of Imagined Worlds

Made up Ground: Architecture, Science Fiction, and the Surface of Imagined Worlds ARCHITECTURE AND CULTURE Amy Butt Lecturer in Architecture, University of Reading, UK a.v.b.butt@reading.ac.uk Keywords: Science-fiction, fiction, design, architecture, haptics, touch, senses Made up Ground: Architecture, Science Fiction, and the Surface of Imagined Worlds Amy Butt ABSTRACT Science fiction allows us to establish intimate connections with the surfaces of other worlds, and to focus on the image of architecture within these fictions denies much of their complexity. In response, this article focuses on the embodied experience of touch, drawing on the imagined experiences of other pp. 1–24 worlds to explore the everyday meetings between the body and the DOI:10.1080/20507828.2023. built, the points at which we touch the ground. It follows characters No potential conflict of from Joan Slonczewski’s A Door Into Ocean as they move through a interest was reported world where the ground is not preexistent but must be constructed. by the author. These encounters are traced onwards into architectural and literary © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK theory, before being considered in relation to the world in which we Limited, trading as Taylor & find ourselves. By setting the grounds of the fictive world against, Francis Group. This is an Open Access article alongside, and in-between the ground of the given, this article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons hopes to trouble the surface of the made-up ground on which we Attribution License (http:// think we stand. creativecommons.org/licenses/ by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original We stand on made-up ground. work is properly cited. There are no blank slates, no tabula rasa, and so, at the start of any construction project excavations and earth works try to assert 2 ground level, working against the site as it exists which stubbornly refuses to comply with the precise lines of an architectural drawing. Architecture, Science Fiction, and the Surface of Imagined Where there were once gaps, crevasses, depressions which fell below the Worlds ground line, they are now filled and evened out: the vulgarities of reality Amy Butt smoothed over in preparation for the enactment of a new future. But the echo of the void remains. The material used to fill the gaps is more porous than the earth around it and however much it might be compacted and compressed, seams of difference exist. These areas of infill remain unsteady, they cannot bear the same loads as the ground which surrounds them. Ribbons of tension run through, fractures which are treacherous and liable to slip. The areas of infill are referred to as made-up ground. Made-up ground is unreliable, unstable, unsettling. All cities stand on made-up ground. This article is an exploration of the made-up grounds we walk upon and those we inhabit in the worlds of science fiction (sf) and the relevance these fictions hold to those of us involved in the design of built futures. Throughout, it uses Joan Slonczewski’s A Door Into Ocean as a unique site to develop an attentiveness to the spatial and social significance of ground. This is an account of my reading of this work, carrying with me what Fredric Jameson might call my sedimented reading habits and the interpretive traditions formed by architectural practice and a fascination with the built environment. It acknowledges and attends to the aims and interests which shape my own acts of reading. In doing so, this article explores how this sf text, and the science fictional (sf-nal) processes of reading and relating to the world, might give those of us in the spatial disciplines grounds to think our world anew. The section ‘Breaking Ground’ details this approach before reflecting on architectural sf studies and the future city in the section ‘From The Ground Up’. The subsequent four sections each focus on a specific moment within Slonczewski’s novel – an encounter between the characters and the built surfaces of the worlds they inhabit. These moments prompt a particular mode of considering the ground through touch which is then traced onwards into theories of haptics, architectural and literary theory, and selected other worlds of sf before being considered in relation to the worlds in which we find ourselves. The sf texts discussed serve to offer glimpses into other imagined worlds, each containing a moment of contact with ground that resonates with the concerns expressed in A Door Into Ocean. Similarly, the spatial examples serve to illustrate how the complex considerations of ground raised by A Door Into Ocean have manifested themselves within the world we inhabit, in architectural practice or in the patterns of inhabitation and use of built landscapes, the points of contact we make with the places we inhabit and the ways they shape us in return. In locating these two forms of 3 imaginative construction – through text and practice – alongside one another this article demonstrates how readings of sf, informed by an attentiveness to ground and touch, can cast fresh strangeness onto aspects of spatial practice which might otherwise be obscured. Breaking Ground The moment of contact with ground is a site of incidental and everyday meetings between the body and the built. When compared to the active reaching of the hand, as we stretch out to stroke the surface of shuttered concrete or grasp a door handle, the repeated press of sole onto ground is an almost passive background and backgrounded sensation. But it is here that experience of touch, and the encounter that this creates between the perceived self and the environments within which we move, are transformed from fleeting moments of sensation into shifting sites of constant connection. These are the sustained acts of touch which ground us in the world. This is new ground for me. As an architect and lecturer in architecture I have been trained in, and now teach visual methods of representation. Along with most of my profession I am mired in bias toward sight. But this singularity of focus denies so much of the complexity of place. In my work with sf I have traversed terrains of spectacular strangeness, and it is this intimate connection with the surfaces of other worlds which has driven me to seek out new ways of considering the built. So, I attempt to look away, to lower my gaze and develop an attentiveness to the world in which I find myself. In her discussion of geographies of responsibility Doreen Massey talks about how global phenomena are grounded, carried into places by individual bodies. She draws on the work of Gibson-Graham who call for “a set of embodied interventions that attempt to confront and reshape the ways in which we live and enact the power of the global.” A focus on embodied experience, and I would argue more specifically a consideration of touch, can be a way to avoid the slick finish of the glossy visual and resist the flattenings of globalization by providing an intimate and innately individual specificity of place. As Kevin Hetherington notes, we touch something to confirm that it is there, that our eyes do not deceive us. Touch blurs the boundaries between our bodies and our environment, in sensations that transfer knowledge, opening us up to consider the relations and identities through which we and our places have been constructed, allowing us to acknowledge our multiple and varied responsibilities. These multiple responsibilities are tangibly present in Joan Slonczewski’s A Door Into Ocean. Written in 1986 by an author who is also a microbiologist, it is set on a world replete with deeply felt biological kinship networks which Slonczewski uses to consider themes of environmental responsibility, social justice, and pacifist forms of resistance. It is liminal utopia and as its inhabitants work toward 4 community which transcends the self, they also confront attempted colonization. Slonczewski uses these ambiguous and contested Architecture, Science Fiction, and the Surface of Imagined conditions to engage with questions of environmental ethics informed by Worlds their scientific understandings of interrelation at a microbial level and Amy Butt their beliefs as a Quaker. As described Eric Otto, the struggle within the text echoes the struggles of ecofeminism as a transformative movement, “searching for ways to challenge the oppressions of women and nonhuman nature.” Sherryl Vint identifies how Slonczewski addresses expanded notions of community throughout their work to consider “how the relationship between the environment and various subjects can be conceived.” While A Door Into Ocean offers a complex site for the consideration of environmental and biopolitical concerns, it is the world within the novel rather than the context of its production which acts as provocation for this article. The story focuses on the ocean moon of Shora; a world entirely without land. As such, it enacts the radical removal of an assumed pre-condition of human society. It rips the ground out from under our feet and leaves us suspended. Here the ‘ground’ must be continually constructed, woven together from oceanic plant life and maintained to withstand the swell of the waves. As noted by Katie Lloyd Thomas, this establishes and reflects a form of social construction based on an intimate awareness of the inhabitant’s role in a web of interconnected relations and impacts. This, then, is a place where the absence of land reveals ground to be multiple, contextual and subjective, ‘made up’ as story and as site. This text provides a thread which I follow, but one which is read from as well as being read into. So, while this article considers specific experiences of touch within this novel following literary studies’ practices of open interpretive reading, each of these encounters is traced onwards into architectural and literary theory, and the other worlds of sf, before being considered in relation to the world in which we find ourselves. This method of reading from the sf text, allowing the fictional world to direct the development of research and illuminate connections, is based both on the conceptual positioning of the worlds of sf as opposed to other literary or mundane fiction, and understandings of sf as a method of reading. This article shares a common ambition with scholars such as Natalie Collie, Christine Hudson and Malin Ronnblom who explore how sf texts might be read in collective or community contexts of urban planning to both broaden participation and expand the utopian horizon of discussion. The capacity for sf to inspire and ferment change in relation to such problematic and complex issues is discussed by utopian sf scholars such as Angelika Bammer and Walidah Imarisha for whom the sf text can act as a site to “dream as ourselves,” liberating the imagination and gathering the resolve to sculpt reality. Through sf we can consider the fictive world against, alongside, and in-between the lived world, 5 creating a seam of difference which troubles the surface, unsettling and breaking the made-up ground on which we think we stand. From the Ground up … thick black boots that struck the hard black pavement, pounding incessantly… Did the pavement flatten the soles of their boots, or did the marchers work together to polish the sombre pavement as smooth as a night-time sea? A Door Into Ocean focuses on the ocean world of Shora, but this place of ecological balance is not an isolated utopia. It is a world amongst many attempting to sustain itself within a wider galactic context. The narrative follows the Sharer resistance to offer up the mineral and natural resources of Shora to galactic trade, and the subsequent escalating violence and threat of genocide from the Imperial occupying force deployed from the neighboring planet of Valedon. When the Sharer Merwen visits the city of Iridis located on another Imperial world, she moves from a world of raft structures drifting on ocean currents to a city of stone and glass. As we follow Merwen these familiar city structures are encountered as radically alien, providing a perspective which allows their presumptive normality to be radically critiqued. The city of Iridis, with its glass towers and polished surfaces, is a vision of a high-rise urban future so prevalent in sf as to be “almost a cliche” according to Stephen Graham. It is deployed as a symbol of the techno-utopia, the soaring heights attained by the pursuit of technological progress of a very narrow bandwidth. But it is also present in critical dystopias where power inequality is made manifest in spatial hierarchies and the structuralizing of privilege made easily measurable in terms of meters from ground level. This is a spatializing of privilege which is incomprehensible to Merwen, who chooses to sit on the ground in order to always be closest to sea level, disrupting assumed measures of power through the placement of her body. As well as its symbolic or narrative role, the vertical city in sf has been examined by urban studies scholars Carl Abbot and Paul Dobraszczyk in their analyses of sf city typologies as a response to moments of radical change within the built environment contemporaneous to the time of writing, such as the construction of early skyscrapers in New York or the shifts in public opinion around European high-rise housing. The image of the high-rise city has a powerful allure, and its pervasive presence in works of sf bleeds into architectural and design thinking such that, as argued by Karen Hurley, the built future might be considered to be synonymous with rapid vertical urbanization. As an image of the future it is a product of a techno-scientific ideal of progress and the cultural narratives that conflate industrialization with advancement. It has become an image so enmeshed in the aesthetics of futurity that anything else – the low rise, the rural, the modest or 21 unassuming – appears regressive, stagnant, or simply naïve. As an architect, this suggestion is highly distressing. As a fan of science fiction, Architecture, Science Fiction, and the Surface of Imagined it is only marginally less disturbing. It does such heart-breaking Worlds disservice to the myriad worlds of sf and the breath-taking scope of Amy Butt possibilities they contain. … the ground bristled with sharp objects more dangerous than the spines of coral fish; for the hundredth time she fingered the soles of her aching feet. Her skin burned, dry as bleached raft- wood. Merwen’s steps through the city of Iridis are hesitant and pained. She does not wear shoes, and her contact with this hard world is unmediated and unremitting. Its abrasive edges scratch and tear at her flesh, its smooth surfaces strike at her heels. The fabric of Iridis makes small insistent demands of Merwen and its unyielding surfaces require that she reshape herself to fit. But the ground is also revealed as a mutual construction, the simultaneous development of inhabitant and the world, each inextricably enmeshed with the making of the other. The movements of a troop on patrol and the rhythmic pounding on pavement flattens boot soles and polishes stone. That which seems fixed is exposed as the product of ongoing labor to sustain and maintain it. In turn, ceasing such action holds radical potential, as the small and seemingly insignificant impressions we make on the surface of the world hold great cumulative power to reshape it. As we walk the worlds of sf we examine them as if they had been constructed from the ground up. Here architecture can be witnessed as continually made and remade, opening up the utopian possibility of the world made otherwise. Groundless As Spinel stepped down the exit ramp, he surveyed the surface below. It looked like hard crusted soil, with a sort of evergreen matting, yet it could not be ‘land’ underneath. His feet lost weight for an instant, and he gripped the railing until the swell subsided. Shora is an ocean world bounded by an unbroken horizon line of water, the solid ground of the sea floor reached only in death. As Spinel, an apprentice who has been invited to join the Sharer community, arrives from the world of Valedon, he steps onto one of the rafts which drift across its ocean and the presumption of the ground beneath him falls away. What was understood to be solid is transformed into surface, a platform haunted by the depth of the ocean underneath. His shift in perspective is prompted by a multi-sensory understanding of body and environment as mutually constructed. Here views of the unbroken horizon, the scent of sea spray, the sound of water 7 lapping at the raft edge, act alongside experiences which can be defined as tactile: the cool temperature of the damp raft, the rough texture of the matted plants, the pressure of bodyweight sinking into the surface; as well as the senses which inform our somatic sense of self: a vestibular awareness of balance as the raft shifts, a kinesthetic awareness of the position of limbs which informs his stance, and a proprioceptive awareness of muscular tension exerted in an effort to assert his place in this uncertain world. Attending to the site where the body and the landscape meet, where we touch the surface, is to talk about how a place feels. It foregrounds the haptic aspects of this experience including both the tactile sensory information transmitted through the skin, and the interior, somatic sense of self which provides the background understanding of embodiment. To consider the haptic is not to try and disentangle this experience from its multisensorial context, but rather, as Constance Classen describes, to “foreground sensations that have customarily been understood to be so basic to bodily existence that they have been taken for granted.” As we shift, twist or undermine the solidity of the ground it creates sites of vulnerability, fractures which open up in the way we see the world and ourselves. As described by architect Roy Malcolm Porter Jr., the ground is our primary point of postural spatial reference; “the very basis for our sense of our own corporeality and our uniquely human orientation.” This is a trope deployed to great effect in sf novels which use twisted and distended stairs or ramps to distort the perception of grounded reality and to provoke psychological destabilization, including Sally Miller Gearhart’s The Wanderground, Robert Silverberg’s The World Inside, Yoshio Aramaki’s The Sacred Era, or Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation. The embodied experience of ground can also allow for vast structures to be understood, where climbing a stair creates an awareness of distance generated through the cumulative measure of the lift of each foot. In Scott Russell Sanders’s Terrarium, written in 1985 by an author concerned with ecological interconnectedness of place, the cities of earth have been dismantled and rebuilt as a floating network so perfectly enclosed that even the swell of the waves below cannot be perceived. Devoid of any external points of reference and longing for escape, Teeg climbs a stair to measure the scale of the city against her own body in an effort to develop haptic knowledge of both the city and her self. As Juhani Palasmaa writes, “I experience myself in the city, and the city exists through my embodied experience. The city and my body supplement and define each other. I dwell in the city and the city dwells in me.” In Terrarium, this performance of climbing is an act of dissent, a wilful restating of built reality in terms of the individual body, a moment of radical self-reliance and a reclamation of spatial agency. Similarly, for Spinel in A Door Into Ocean, the loss of ground and subsequent 8 acclimation to the motion of the raft is an integral part of his shifting sense of self, a process of coming to understand his new home and his Architecture, Science Fiction, and the Surface of Imagined possible place within it. Worlds The disorienting effect of the loss of ground, and the Amy Butt establishment of alternate forms of spatial reference has been explored by geographers and urban studies scholars working on maps of Hong Kong. The density of urban development combined with the steeply sloping terrain led to the construction of hundreds of urban footbridges which interconnect levels between structures, dissolving any notion of ‘ground level’ as a fixed point of reference. This interconnected understanding of the city has shaped its use as a site of protest. The 2014 umbrella movement which called for transparent elections in response to the proposed selective prescreening of candidates by the Chinese state body, saw protestors occupying land between and beneath the walkways, allowing them to directly address the government workers who could not avoid traversing the paths above. In the 2019 Anti-Extradition protests, the linking walkways and interconnected malls allowed crowds to disperse and regroup when confronted with tear gas or violence. These are movements drawn from a practiced ability to navigate this spatially latticed terrain, the lived experience of the systems of power and control which are written into this fabric, and an awareness of the legal and political frameworks which govern them. This is a right to the city and to democracy vehemently defended in the faceof overwhelmingpersonal risk. At Merwen’s footfall, half the scaly things slithered down the side. Spinel recoiled, but Merwen unconcernedly went out onto the branch, so he followed, more slowly… This work of resistance through spatial knowing, is also present in A Door Into Ocean as the Sharers draw on their intimate knowledge of the ocean to resist the violent assault of military forces. While Merwen is able to move across the raft with ease, Spinel who is a visitor from the same world as the occupying army, is adrift without the certainty of land to define himself against. The abrupt shift in sensation momentarily untethers his sense of self and he is dislocated without the stable ground to provide a point of reference. It is a moment of profound spatial estrangement which makes him aware of all he had taken for granted and all he has lost. But, like Spinel as he slowly follows in the wake of Merwen’s sure steps, the worlds of sf suggest that there is something to be gained from feeling the ground beneath us fall away. It is an experience which exposes the social and cultural contingency of any way of placing ourselves within the worlds we make. 9 Common Ground … the raft sloped gently upwards, until it dipped to a hollow in the centre … . A door hole opened in the floor of the silkhouse, and tunnels extended through the raft, winding in an eerie phosphorescent maze … The rafts that Merwen and Spinel step onto are not a surface but a thickness – mounds which swell with gas, mosses which sink under pressure, small pools of water which sit in the hollows. They blur the line between raft and sea in an indistinct and uneven gradation, as intentional structures fray outwards into the sharp edges of corals and the rich slick of plant life. Both edges and interiors are porous as tunnels knit their way through the depths and spongey surfaces shift and secrete. Another visitor from Valedon, Berenice, makes her way into these tunnels, stepping out of her shoes and shedding the clothing she had worn, casting off layers of separation. Over time her skin acquires new pigmentation as microbes exuded by the walls seep into her pores and subtly shift her physiology. The environment she inhabits permeates and transforms this last barrier between body and built. A blurring of this boundary through the porous membrane of the skin is explored in a number of sf novels, including J.G Ballard’s The Crystal World, Greg Bear’s Blood Music, and Nnedi Okorafor’s Lagoon which challenge us to consider how encounters with the world we inhabit can infiltrates and remake us. This imagined practice works to disrupt the boundary of the self, what Didier Anzieu refers to as ‘skin ego’:a western cultural conception of individual coherence where the skin is envelope rather than an interface. Rather, the skin is porous and contiguous with the surfaces it touches. As Elizabeth Grosz notes, skin ‘‘provides the ground for the articulation of orifices, erotogenic rims, cuts on the body’s surface, loci of exchange between the inside and the outside.” In the worlds of sf our skin ego is ruptured in more ways than one. By reading these texts, we imaginatively inhabit alternate life-worlds, troubling the internalized self-image that governs our understandings of both body and place. Here we empathetically engage with a perception of a world which, like Shora, is formed through and by an embodied experience radically other or alien to our own. While phenomenologists attend to embodied experiences of place, these understandings are open to critique where they fail to engage with the wider power structures or socio-cultural systems, leading Mike Paterson to describe such readings as retrograde in their avoidance of gendered bodies, queer bodies, racialized bodies, of individual sensory or physical difference. This contextualizing of the body within wider power structures is directly addressed in A Door Into Ocean both in its depictions of the Sharer spaces of queer kinship and through the narrative itself where Spinel’s differently-gendered presence is requested 10 by the inhabitants of Shora so that they might reconsider their definition of ‘humanity’ which had been based on physiological and socially Architecture, Science Fiction, and the Surface of Imagined constructed traits. Other worlds of sf similarly provide us with an Worlds awareness of touch as a diverse and individual experience, a reflexive Amy Butt construction between body and built, shaped by the wider socio-political context. In Frederik Pohl’s Gateway, written in 1977 and focusing on the social and psychological consequences of encounters with alien environments, the tunnels which were left behind by the alien Heechee seem to resist human acclimatization. The tunnels’ internal surfaces are unnervingly slick, while the low gravity means that surfaces seem to drift away. This tentative brush of the ground where they expect solid reassurance presents a continual disruption of the embodied and internalized ways of knowing for the human inhabitants. Unable to make satisfying contact with the ground, those who live in these tunnels are forced to develop new ways of sleeping, walking, and dancing. While the physical fabric of the structure establishes the frame of possibility, each inhabitant’s socio-economic status influences their ability to purchase adaptive technologies, and their capacity and desire to learn these new patterns of movements is informed by individual neuro and bio-diversity. These fictions demonstrate the intertwining of physical and social ways of knowing, the patterns of habit developed to survive and thrive in the world as it is encountered and practiced until they have become ingrained in the body. Walter Benjamin describes this as tactile appropriation, a form of knowledge which is acquired through physical engagement rather than intellectual contemplation, describing how “buildings are appropriated in a two fold matter: by use and by perception – or rather by touch and sight.” These are knowledges constructed through bodily effort; the physical movement across a landscape, the gradual development of a corporeal understanding of the terrain, formed as much by our ability to become unaware of it as by a continual defining presence. In A Door Into Ocean those who move from the rafts onto solid ground feel the phantom echoes of the ocean swell, their intimate understanding of the landscapes of their home only becoming apparent when confronted with a shift in this background condition. In the Kunst Haus Wien, the floor swells and undulates, brickwork and timber deliberately formed into uneven surfaces. The architect, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, describes it as a symphony for balance. It is designed to resist habits of movement, to elicit an awareness of the familiar patterns of pace and stride through their delirious disruption. In doing so, it provokes a broader understanding of what Hundertwasser calls our “relationship and contact to earth,” and suggests possibilities which are flattened by orthogonal construction. However, the uneven floor fails to consider those for whom level access is a necessity not a design feature, building in ableist assumptions and exclusions. This homogenized notion of the body is one which permeates architectural practice, where designers rely on technical standards. These practices 11 are being actively redressed by the work of groups such as DisOrdinary Architecture, who see design as an extension of human capacities, which includes the rich range of neuro and bio diversity. “Well, I can’t say that Valans aren’t human. They’re excitable and very fearful … Perhaps it comes from dwelling on the world’s floor, among dead bones” The differences between the Sharers and the Valedon is such that each debates the others’ relative ‘humanity’, where disparate methods of reproduction and physical appearance are underwritten by social, cultural and linguistic distinctions. But when he is injured, the moist membranes in the place of ‘lifeshaping’ enfold and heal Spinel’s injuries, and the organisms woven into this structure develop into tentacular protrusions which wrap, seal or penetrate the surface of his skin. So, the structures constructed by the Sharers recognize difference and provide support, attending to kinship on a genetic level sufficient to heal Spinel’s injury’s without requiring him to meet a Sharer ideal. This is a space where the border between environment and self is porous and indistinct, creating a dissolution of skin ego which suggests the possibility of a common ground. In sf we move through strange new worlds inhabiting bodies other than our own; we allow the terrain of twisted landscapes to permeate our skin, we practice the sway of a stranger’s gait until it becomes ordinary and we become steady on unfamiliar ground. These fictions allow us to critically imagine place as constructed by different bodily selves, through contact with the surfaces of imagined worlds. Groundswell Her grandmothers had founded the raft and tunnelled it with wood-enzymes over the years…“But the raft had one flaw of a crack that widened every season … Well we’ll have to start another one soon, soon as the water clears. Have you perhaps seen a good strong raftling about?” Merwen makes her way across the raft with ease. She has made this ground herself, coaxing raft seedlings together, weaving supports, and layering up surfaces. Each raft is a product of collective making, tending and care. She has witnessed the rafts grow and decay, worn down by weather, by inattention or over-use, breaking apart under the pressures of ocean swells or accreting into new forms. A malleable surface, the texture of the raft informs and bears witness to patterns of inhabitation. Its current surface is one layering among the many processes of growth and decay which define the dynamic ground in a process of imprinting described by Tim Ingold in relation to footprints, the impression our bodies make on touching the ground, visible in the wearing down and 12 building up of layers; “making their way along the ground, people create paths and tracks … their temporality is bound to the dynamics of its Architecture, Science Fiction, and the Surface of Imagined formation … a function of the weather, and of reactions across the Worlds interface between earth and air.” Amy Butt The science-fictional imagination provides ample opportunity to contemplate both the relative permeance of architectural constructs, and our fascination with destroying the worlds of our own making. With spurs of steel jutting from the shattered concrete, and broken glass underfoot, the image of the post-apocalyptic city is a hostile revisioning of the surfaces of the world we had previously smoothed to ease our passing, the revenge of materials bent into shape. But architects do not design for decay. We design to prevent it, but rarely acknowledge its inevitability. Jane M. Jacobs and Stephen Cairns describe architecture as perversely nascent, preoccupied with the moment of birth, of creation, to the point where we cannot meaningfully engage with the lives of the buildings we create. Yet the deterioration of the built is continually with us. In A Door into Ocean this is only held back by the concerted efforts of maintenance and repair work. This is work which, as Miwon Kwon states, “continuously erases the marks of its own labour (including the body or the labourer) rendering itself invisible, and is rendered invisible.” To overlook maintenance work is a denial of continual processes of touch, both the wearing down of surfaces by weather or the passage of feet, and the physical acts of cleaning which stroke and sooth the surfaces of the built. In their work on critical care Berenice Fisher and Joan Tronto define care as “everything that we do to maintain, continue, and repair ‘our world’ so that we can live in it as well as possible. That world includes our bodies, ourselves, and our environment, all of which we seek to interweave in a complex, life sustaining web.” In A Door Into Ocean the Sharers do not resist storm damage, but develop an awareness of the storms as vital part of wider ecological networks. This is a radical extension of the notions of care to encompass the non-human, even when this necessitates processes of rebuilding and maintenance. In this way, the worlds of sf ask us to critically question what it is that we are maintaining. In Kim Stanley Robinsons’ novel New York: 2140 written in 2017, sea levels have risen and the waters lap at the windows of Manhattan skyscrapers. In response, the maintenance work of waterproofing and drying has become the foundation of continued inhabitation. But the lines which define land ownership have drifted with the shoreline, and the mid-town towers now sit in an intertidal zone, granting them an uncertain legal position. The tidal staining of lurid green that brands the buildings in this new territory becomes the marker for places where existing orders are unsettled, where the ground has become slippery. Within these towers, the same maintenance work of pumping and sealing serves not to support existing structures of power and privilege, but to defend these spaces of possibility. 13 In Chicago, the work of the Settler Colonial City Project attempts to heighten awareness of the theft of indigenous land, by demarcating the limits of colonial ownership against the shifting edge of water and land. In their work on the Chicago Cultural Center they expose its location on an area of made-up ground, created by landfill from the Chicago Fire of 1890. It is a place which did not exist in 1833 when the Treaty of Chicago was signed. This shoreline is understood as spatial and temporal, and this building of ground is a site to address the continued injustices of Federal relocation programmes. To walk on this ground is to traverse unceded indigenous land. Within the narratives of sf we can inhabit the spatial implications of contemporary actions over vast spans of time. Novels like Doris Lessing’s Canopus in Argos: Archives series or Olaf Stapledon’s Last and First Men extend far beyond our contemporary moment, while Chen Qiufan’s Waste Tide confronts the accumulation of plastic waste in the oceans, accreting in the great pacific garbage patch to form a new landmass. As Richard Crownshaw describes, these novels construct narratives of a planetary scale, to act as “memory work from a speculative future of an unfolding Anthropocene,” that new epoch of geological time dominated by human impact which is present in the laying down of new layers of ground. It is here perhaps that we can acknowledge the iniquitous and uneven impact of climate catastrophe, the ramifications of such making and unmaking of ground. Where Merwen had lived, only a few battered fragments of panelling still stood, jagged as a cracked egg-shell. The surface of the raft was torn and stripped to the gnarled wooden core … The impact of sustained inhabitation is tangibly present in the ground of A Door Into Ocean, as the rafts themselves are the product of careful cultivation and the layering up of hand woven mats which transform the landscape. After a storm passes, Spinel is shocked at the silk-house structure which is exposed to be as fragile as broken eggshells protruding from the raft. His illusions of shelter and security are shattered and stripped away to reveal their temporally fleeting foundations. But in the intergenerational work of raft cultivation, A Door Into Ocean hints at the extended timescales and global perspectives made visible within sf. To focus on touch within these fictions is to acknowledge the human agency in these processes of continued construction and their consequences, in the labor of maintenance and the reinscribed edges of power and control. Sf provides a site to consider both the slow drift and the radical break of change and decay. It establishes a critical site to inhabit the implications of our everyday actions as we stand in the wreckage of the groundswell. 14 Ground Control “Home is a shore of land I can stand on. If I were to slip from Architecture, Science Fiction, and the Surface of Imagined this branch, I’d fall straight to the bottom of the sea.” Worlds Amy Butt Beneath the ocean of Shora lies the seabed. This is the final surface of Shora, the ground that cannot be walked upon, reached only in death. While Spinel contemplates the depth of the ocean and sees the void of his own mortality, for the Sharers this is a place which exists beyond any bodily frame of reference. It is an unattainably spiritual space. Merwen’s partner Usha, overcome with grief, dreams of swimming down to this place to join those she has lost. But the occupying force from Valedon are interested in the seabed only as a source of unknown and untapped mineral resources. Theirs is an understanding of ground as territory or commodity, to be colonized and capitalized. Ground as a site of resource extraction is addressed in a plethora of sf novels, from Ken Macleod’s Fall Revolution series, which sees colonized worlds and asteroids mined for mineral resources, to those such as Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Word for the World is Forest or James Tiptree Jr.’s Brightness Falls from the Air where the indigenous flora, fauna and inhabitants themselves are harvested. Energy humanities and sf scholars including Gerry Canavan have suggested that the depictions of resource systems within fiction might offer a way to consider how materials such as oil have shaped ways of being in the world. Graeme MacDonald states that “fictional awareness offers more than stories about energy types and systems. It establishes a means to contemplate – and possibly to deconstruct – energy capital’s formidable representative skills, notably its narrativization of the “natural” necessity of oil to our functioning social systems.” The multiple story-worlds of sf allow us to step outside the ubiquity of any single valuing of ground. In the short story ‘Legends are Made not Born’ by Canadian Metis  writer Cherie Dimaline, we follow Semaa and Auntie Dave, who recount the migration story from the poisoned Old Earth. Here indigenous peoples were the last to be evacuated and the remaining allowances for transportation were small. So, each nation collected that which it cherished: the strains of corn, the seeds for sage and sweetgrass. They also collected as much of the lands that were left as could be carried, scooped up into storage crates. Auntie Dave recounts this story of migration as part of a careful transplanting of tradition, allowing them to introduce Semaa to the community legacy of Two-Spirited people. When considered in terms of fuel economy, the transportation of dirt to an already fecund world seems to offer little return, but this story makes palpable the value contained within the land itself. While offering small comfort against overwhelming loss, these stacked crates of dirt held within them a spiritual notion of place which was carefully carried and sustained through generations to reach Semaa. As with the seabed of Shora, it is a value beyond that which can be tangibly measured or physically experienced. 15 In our own world, off the coast of Dubai, the most exclusive land is that which does not yet exist. Confronted by a geography which fails to offer enough opportunity for commodification, archipelagos are constructed in the shape of palm trees or a map of the globe. Although they are located on the coast of a desert, the sand of the dunes is not sharp edged enough for construction. Consequently, this sand has been imported from India, China, Malaysia, Kenya, Sierra Leone or Australia where land that was stolen from indigenous peoples is now sold on. Since 1963 Singapore has grown by 20 percent using the same techniques, with the sand used to construct this land resulting in the effective relocation of 24 Indonesian islands wiped from the map. These relocations of land are painfully dramatic. The use of sand in the construction industry in Europe is similarly culpable, although our liability is masked and all the more insidious. As with oil and precious metals, the extraction and displaced construction of ground exists within buried webs of exploitation. For those of us reliant on the plan drawing, which implies that the place depicted is stable, complete and fixed, available for measurement and accessible to scrutiny, engaging with the haptic can introduce unsettling equivocality. Robert Cooper and John Law describe touch as a proximal way of approaching the world, fragmentary and precarious, innately context-specific, “the continuous and the ‘unfinished’; it is what is forever approached but never attained.” It provides a way of grasping at the whole which destroys any notions of impartiality. Imagined lives enacted on the same surface provide a glimpse into the multiple, simultaneous and conflicting experiences of space which exist alongside, over and between those which we have attuned ourselves to witness. Donna Haraway writes, “Location is the always-partial, always-finite, always-fraught play of foreground and background, text and context, that constitutes critical inquiry. Above all, location is not self-evident.” “Mining is the thing now. You can’t imagine what minerals lie untouched on the floor of that ocean.” While Spinel shares the Valedon’s understanding of land as something fixed, as a certainty which can be owned and built upon, the Sharers understanding of value is based on wider conceptions of ecological interconnectedness and responsibility. They refuse to offer the seabed for mining, and are consequently threatened with genocide. But the Valedon attempt to ‘occupy’ the rafts is thwarted by the unmappable condition of their constantly shifting locations. The Sharers inhabit the spaces around the rafts as much as they occupy the surface by moving across, between and underneath. While life below or within the thickness of the rafts is not concealed, and the value of the seabed is myriad and complex, both remain beyond the Valedon ability to comprehend. 16 Standing our Ground Architecture, Science Fiction, and the Surface of Imagined With an immense effort Lystra pulled herself up, until her head Worlds spun. “I – I’m still here. The death-hasteners came, and they…” Amy Butt There were only bootprints sunk in the mud all around the raft. The Valedon arrive in Shora as a colonizing force, a military presence willing to commit genocide to access the material wealth of the land below the ocean. In response, A Door Into Ocean speaks painfully but hopefully about the potential of nonviolent civil disobedience. It has been described as naively utopian, overly reliant on the fear and compassion of an occupying force which prompts them to reflect on the horrors of their actions. But it, and I, remain resolutely hopeful. At a time when we are confronted with devastating global concerns, the consideration of fictional ground may seem frivolous and the notions of the haptic too personal to hold broader relevance. But to resist or present alternatives requires an understanding of how we have shaped and are shaped by the worlds which we have made. By making contact with the made-up ground of the myriad worlds of sf we gain an expanded awareness of our own situatedness, a plurality of positions which extends our empathetic understanding to the truly alien, and a relational notion of identity of simply breathtaking scope. It grants us a better understanding of ourselves, and our shared ground. Science fiction is unsettling. I hope it is unsettling enough to create ribbons of tension in the worlds in which we live, seams of difference liable to slip, fractures in the made-up ground on which we stand. Amy Butt is an architect and lecturer in architecture at the University of Reading with a specialization in architectural representation and communication. Her research explores the way the fictional worlds we construct influence and reflect the world we inhabit, writing about utopian thought and the imaginary in architecture through science fiction literature and film. Recent publications include: 'As Plain As Spilt Salt – The City as Social Structure in The Dispossessed’ in Textual Practice, and ‘The Present as Past: Science Fiction and the Museum’ in the Open Library of Humanities which won the SFRA Innovative Research Award Acknowledgements My thanks to the editorial team and peer reviewers. Heartfelt thanks to Pawel Frelik and organisers of ‘Senses of Science Fiction’ at the University of Warsaw in 2019 for the keynote invitation which was the foundation for this article, to Rachel Hill and Katie Stone for their 17 comments, to Glyn, Sinead,  Sing and Beyond Gender for their support, and to Maggie Butt and David Roberts for their insight. ORCID Amy Butt http://orcid.org/0000-0002-1762-2768 Notes 1. The abbreviation ‘sf’ is used in place of Environment and Planning A 35, no. 11 the term ‘science fiction.’ Following (2003): 1933–44. Donna Haraway, sf includes and alludes 8. For further discussion on the complex to “science fiction, science fact, science ecological systems and interspecies fantasy, speculative feminism, interrelation of A Door Into Ocean see speculative fabulation, string figures …” the excellent work of: Sarah Lohmann, Donna Haraway, Staying with the Trouble “The Edge of Time: The Critical (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, Dynamics of Structural Chronotopes in 2016), 2. the Utopian Novel” (PhD thesis, Durham 2. As described by Jameson “our object of University, 2020); Chris Pak, “’Then Came study is less the text itself than the Pantropy’: Grotesque Bodies, interpretations though which we Multispecies Flourishing, and Human- attempt to confront and to appropriate Animal Relationships in Joan it” Fredric Jameson, The Political Slonczewski’s A Door Into Ocean”, Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Science Fiction Studies 44, no. 1 (2017): Symbolic Act (Abingdon: Routledge, 122–36. 2013), x. 9. This novel is variously described as a 3. This might also be discussed in terms of lesbian feminist eco-utopia for its non-reading. This understanding of the interwoven explorations of sexuality and reading process is informed by the work gender, social and economic power of Phillip E. Wegner, Invoking Hope: structures, and environmental crisis. Theory and Utopia in Dark Times 10. See Slonczewski’s own writings on sf (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota and the life sciences: Joan Slonczewski Press, 2020), 181; discussing Pierre and Michael Levy, “Science Fiction and Bayard, How To Talk About Books You the Life Sciences”,in The Cambridge Haven’t Read (London: Granta Books, Companion to Science Fiction, ed. 2012). Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn 4. While this article addresses ideas of (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University touch and ground across architectural, Press, 2003), 174–85. geography and urban studies as well as 11. Eric C. Otto, “Ecofeminist Theories of through literature of haptics, due to Liberation in the Science Fiction of Sally limitations on word count it does not Miller Gearhart, Ursula K. Le Guin, and address other methods of engaging with Joan Slonczewski”, Feminist ground such as ethnography. My thanks Ecocriticism: Environment, Women, and to the anonymous reviewer for noting Literature, 2012, 15. this opportunity for further research. 12. Sherryl Vint, “Theorising the Global: The 5. Doreen Massey, “Geographies of Limits of Posthuman Subjectivity and Responsibility”, Geografiska Annaler: Collective Agency in Joan Slonczewski’s Series B, Human Geography 86, no. 1 Brain Plague”, Post Identity, Fall 2005, (2004): 5–18. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.pid9999. 6. Julie Katherine Gibson-Graham, “Beyond 0004.204. Global vs. Local: Economic Politics 13. For further discussion on oceanic Outside the Binary Frame”, Geographies spatiality in A Door Into Ocean see: Katie of Power: Placing Scale, 2002, 30. Lloyd-Thomas, “Feminist Hydro-Logics in 7. Kevin Hetherington, “Spatial Textures: Joan Slonczewski’s A Door Into Ocean”, Place, Touch, and Praesentia”, in Material Culture: Assembling and 18 Disassembling Landscapes, Landscript 5 and the Imagination (London: Reaktion (Zurich: Jovis, 2017), 195–222. Books, 2019). Architecture, Science Fiction, 14. Kathleen Spencer describes how, when 20. Karen Hurley, “Is That a Future We and the Surface of Imagined reading sf “the reader oscillates Want?: An Ecofeminist Exploration of Worlds between involvement in, and of Images of the Future in Contemporary Amy Butt observation of, the world of the text,” in Film”, Futures, Feminist Futures, 40, no. reciprocal and reflective reading 4 (1 May 2008): 346–59 For discussion patterns. In this way sf can be of the ubiquity and impact of this understood as a mode of reading; both imagery see also; Lucy Hewitt and a way of relating to the world within a Stephen Graham, “Vertical Cities: text and a critical position developed Representations of Urban Verticality in from the imaginary towards the lived. 20th-Century Science Fiction Kathleen L. Spencer, “’The Red Sun Is Literature”, Urban Studies 52, no. 5 High, the Blue Low’: Towards a Stylistic (2015): 923–37. Description of Science Fiction”, Science 21. This argument might be extended to Fiction Studies, 1983, 35–49. consider the vertical city as a form of 15. Natalie Collie, “Cities of the Imagination: capitalist realism. Its pervasive presence Science Fiction, Urban Space, and in dystopian fiction as a site which Community Engagement in Urban expresses inequality, and in Planning”, Futures 43, no. 4 (2011): architectural imagery as an aspirational 424–31. Christine Hudson and Malin techno-utopian future combines to Ronnblom, “Is an “Other” City Possible? suggest it is an unavoidable urban form. Using Feminist Utopias in Creating a Seen in this light, the image of the high- More Inclusive Vision of the Future City”, rise city contains within it the insidious Futures 121 (1 August 2020): 102583. foreclosure of alternatives. The multiple ways in which sf has 22. Slonczewski, A Door into Ocean, 39. relevance to those interested in the 23. Ibid., 51. built environment is also something I 24. This reading of the haptic experience of address further in Amy Butt, “’Endless place is drawn from Jennifer Mason and Katherine Davies, “Coming to Our Forms, Vistas and Hues”: Why Architects Senses? A Critical Approach to Sensory Should Read Science Fiction”, Arq: Architectural Research Quarterly 22, no. Methodology”, Qualitative Research 9, no. 2 (June 2018): 151–60. 5 (2009): 587–603; Mark Paterson, 16. The role of utopian sf in feminist “Haptic Geographies: Ethnography, activism and transformative practice is Haptic Knowledges and Sensuous discussed in the roundtable dialogue in Dispositions”, Progress in Human Angelika Bammer, Partial Visions: Geography 33, no. 6 (2009): 766–88; Feminism and Utopianism in the 1970s Paul Rodaway, Sensuous Geographies: (Oxford: Peter Lang UK, 2016), 241–99. Body, Sense and Place (London: Walidah Imarisha, “Introduction”,in Routledge, 2002). Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories 25. In studies of haptic forms of knowing, from Social Justice Movements, ed. the very ordinariness of these subjects Adrienne Maree Brown and Walidah makes them difficult to discern. These Imarisha (Oakland, CA: AK Press, are habits which form the unconscious 2015), 5. background to our engagement with 17. Joan Slonczewski, A Door into Ocean place, the distracted routines of (London: Women’s Press, 1987), 40. everyday. Constance Classen, The 18. Stephen Graham, “Vertical Noir: Deepest Sense: A Cultural History of Histories of the Future in Urban Science Touch (Chicago: University of Illinois Fiction”, City 20, no. 3 (2016): 389. Press, 2012), xiv. 19. Carl Abbott, Imagining Urban Futures: 26. Roy Malcolm Porter (Jr.), “The Stairs at € € Cities in Science Fiction and What We Saynatsalo Town Hall: The Perception of Might Learn from Them (Middletown, CT: Depth and the Experience of Space”, Wesleyan University Press, 2016); Paul Environmental & Architectural Dobraszczyk, Future Cities: Architecture Phenomenology 22, no. 3 (2011): 15. 27. Sally Miller Gearhart, The Wanderground: 40. Hundertwasser, “The Uneven Floor”, 19 Stories of the Hill Women (London: The 1991, http://www.hundertwasser.at/ english/exhibitions/khwboden.php. Women’s Press Ltd, 1985); Jeff 41. Rob Imrie, “’Architects’ Conceptions of VanderMeer, Annihilation (New York: the Human Body”, Environment and Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014); Planning D: Society and Space 21, no. 1 Aramaki Yoshio, The Sacred Era (2003): 47–65. (Minnesota: University of Minneapolis 42. Zoe Partington and Jos Boys, “The Press, 2017); Robert Silverberg, The DisOrdinary Architecture Project”, The World Inside (New York: Orion, 2011). DisOrdinary Architecture Project, 28. Scott R. Sanders, Terrarium (New York: accessed 20 March 2020, http:// Tom Doherty Associates, 1985). disordinaryarchitecture.com/wp/. 29. Juhani Pallasmaa, The Eyes of the Skin: 43. Slonczewski, A Door into Ocean, 77. Architecture of the Senses (Chichester: 44. Ibid., 139. Wiley, 1996), 40. 45. Tim Ingold, “Footprints through the 30. I explore the experience of staircases in Weather-world: Walking, Breathing, sf further in Amy Butt, “’Crowding the Knowing”, Journal of the Royal Stoop’: Climbing the Mega-Structures of Anthropological Institute 16 (2010): 121. Science Fiction”,in Mountains and 46. Stephen Cairns and Jane M. Jacobs, Megastructures: Neo-Geologic Buildings Must Die (Cambridge, MA: MIT Landscapes of Human Endeavour, ed. Press, 2014). Martin Beattie, Christos Kakalis, and 47. Miwon Kwon, “In Appreciation of Matthew Ozga-Lawn (Singapore: Invisible Work: Mierle Laderman Ukeles Springer Nature, 2020), 243–66. and the Maintenance of the ‘White 31. Adam Frampton, Clara Wong, and Cube’”, Documents 10 (1997): 16. Jonathan Solomon, Cities Without 48. Berenice Fisher and Joan Tronto, Ground: A Hong Kong Guidebook (Novato, “Toward a Feminist Theory of Caring”,in CA: Oro Editions, 2012). Circles of Care: Work and Identity in 32. Slonczewski, A Door into Ocean,51. Women’s Lives (Albany, NY: State 33. Ibid., 75. University of New York, 1990), 40. 34. J. G. Ballard, The Crystal World (London: 49. Kim Stanley Robinson, New York 2140 HarperCollins UK, 2012); Greg Bear, (London: Hachette UK, 2017). Blood Music (New York: Arbor House, 50. Andrew Herscher, Ana Mar ıaLeon,  and 1985); Nnedi Okorafor, Lagoon (New et al., “Settler Colonial City Project”, York: Simon and Schuster, 2015). 2019, https://settlercolonialcity 35. Didier Anzieu and Chris Trans Turner, project.org. The Skin Ego (New Haven, CT: Yale 51. Doris Lessing, Shikasta: Re: Colonised University Press, 1989); cited in Franck Planet 5 : Personal, Psychological, Bille, “Skinworlds: Borders, Haptics, Historical Documents Relating to Visit by Topologies”, Environment and Planning D: Johor (George Sherban) Emissary Society and Space 36, no. 1 (2018): (London: Grade 9) 87th of the Last Period 60–77. of the Last Days (London: Flamingo, 36. Elizabeth A. Grosz, Volatile Bodies: 1994); Olaf Stapledon, Last And First Toward a Corporeal Feminism Men (London: Hachette UK, 2012); Chen (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Qiufan, Waste Tide (London: Head of Press, 1994), 36. Zeus Ltd, 2019). 37. Mark Paterson, “More-than Visual 52. Richard Crownshaw, “Speculative Approaches to Architecture. Vision, Memory, the Planetary and Genre Touch, Technique”, Social & Cultural Fiction”, Textual Practice 31, no. 5 Geography 12, no. 03 (2011): 263–81. (2017): 902; citing Kate Marshall, “What 38. Frederik Pohl, Gateway (London: Are the Novels of the Anthropocene? Gollancz, 2010). American Fiction in Geological Time”, 39. Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the American Literary History 27, no. 3 Age of Mechanical Reproduction (London: (2015): 523–38. Penguin UK, 2008), 240. 53. Slonczewski, A Door into Ocean, 96. 20 54. Ibid., 143. Work, ed. Gibson Burrell and Martin 55. Ursula K. Le Guin, The Word for World Is Parker (London: Routledge, 2015), 201; Architecture, Science Fiction, Forest (London: Hachette UK, 2015); cited in Hetherington, “Spatial Textures: and the Surface of Imagined James Tiptree, Brightness Falls from the Place, Touch, and Praesentia”. Worlds Air (New York: T. Doherty Associates, 61. Donna J. Haraway, “Modest Witness: Amy Butt 1986); Ken MacLeod, The Star Fraction Feminist Diffractions in Science (London: Hachette UK, 2012). Studies”,in The Disunity of Science: 56. Gerry Canavan, “Retrofutures and Boundaries, Contexts, and Power, ed. Petrofutures”,in Oil Culture, by Allan Peter Louis Galison and David J. Stump Stoekl, ed. Ross Barrett and Daniel (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, Worden (Minneapolis: University of 1996), 440. Minnesota Press, 2014), 331–49. 62. Slonczewski, A Door into Ocean, 195. 57. Graeme Macdonald, “Research Note: The 63. Ibid., 316. Resources of Culture”, Reviews In 64. When I started writing this, I chose A Door Into Ocean for its engagement with Cultural Theory 4, no. 2 (2013): 4. the surfaces of the worlds it contains. 58. Cherie Dimaline, “Legends Are Made Not Born”,in Love Beyond Body, Space, and Since then, I have taken part in four Time: An Indigenous LGBT Sci-Fi consecutive years of UCU strike action. Anthology, ed. Hope Nicholson, Erin As I talk with colleagues and friends Cossar, and S. M. Beiko (Winnipeg: who have defended picket lines both Bedside Press, 2016). physical and virtual, I am grateful for 59. Fred Pearce, “The Hidden Environmental this time dwelling in a novel which Toll of Mining the World’s Sand”, Yale examines the possibility of protest, the Environment 360, 5 February 2019. demands it makes on those who 60. Robert Cooper and John Law, participate, and the potential for power “Organization: Distal and Proximal that it holds. 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Grotesque Bodies, Multispecies – Spencer, Kathleen L. 1983. “’The Red Sun Flourishing, and Human-Animal Is High, the Blue Low’: Towards a Stylistic Relationships in Joan Slonczewski’sA Description of Science Fiction.” Science Door Into Ocean.” Science Fiction Studies Fiction Studies, 10, no.1: 35–49. 44, no. 1: 122–36. – Stapledon, Olaf. 2012. Last And First Men. – Pallasmaa, Juhani. 1996. The Eyes of the London: Hachette UK. Skin: Architecture of the Senses. – Tiptree, James. 1986. Brightness Falls from Chichester: Wiley. the Air. New York: T. Doherty Associates. – VanderMeer, Jeff. 2014. Annihilation. New – Wegner, Phillip E. 2020. Invoking Hope: 23 York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Theory and Utopia in Dark Times. – Vint, Sherryl. 2005. “Theorising the Global: Minneapolis: University of Minnesota The Limits of Posthuman Subjectivity and Press. Collective Agency in Joan Slonczewski’s – Yoshio, Aramaki. 2017. The Sacred Era. Brain Plague.” Post Identity, Fall. http://hdl. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota handle.net/2027/spo.pid9999.0004.204. Press. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Architecture and Culture Taylor & Francis

Made up Ground: Architecture, Science Fiction, and the Surface of Imagined Worlds

Architecture and Culture , Volume OnlineFirst: 23 – Feb 22, 2023

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Taylor & Francis
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© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
ISSN
2050-7836
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2050-7828
DOI
10.1080/20507828.2023.2169822
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Abstract

ARCHITECTURE AND CULTURE Amy Butt Lecturer in Architecture, University of Reading, UK a.v.b.butt@reading.ac.uk Keywords: Science-fiction, fiction, design, architecture, haptics, touch, senses Made up Ground: Architecture, Science Fiction, and the Surface of Imagined Worlds Amy Butt ABSTRACT Science fiction allows us to establish intimate connections with the surfaces of other worlds, and to focus on the image of architecture within these fictions denies much of their complexity. In response, this article focuses on the embodied experience of touch, drawing on the imagined experiences of other pp. 1–24 worlds to explore the everyday meetings between the body and the DOI:10.1080/20507828.2023. built, the points at which we touch the ground. It follows characters No potential conflict of from Joan Slonczewski’s A Door Into Ocean as they move through a interest was reported world where the ground is not preexistent but must be constructed. by the author. These encounters are traced onwards into architectural and literary © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK theory, before being considered in relation to the world in which we Limited, trading as Taylor & find ourselves. By setting the grounds of the fictive world against, Francis Group. This is an Open Access article alongside, and in-between the ground of the given, this article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons hopes to trouble the surface of the made-up ground on which we Attribution License (http:// think we stand. creativecommons.org/licenses/ by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original We stand on made-up ground. work is properly cited. There are no blank slates, no tabula rasa, and so, at the start of any construction project excavations and earth works try to assert 2 ground level, working against the site as it exists which stubbornly refuses to comply with the precise lines of an architectural drawing. Architecture, Science Fiction, and the Surface of Imagined Where there were once gaps, crevasses, depressions which fell below the Worlds ground line, they are now filled and evened out: the vulgarities of reality Amy Butt smoothed over in preparation for the enactment of a new future. But the echo of the void remains. The material used to fill the gaps is more porous than the earth around it and however much it might be compacted and compressed, seams of difference exist. These areas of infill remain unsteady, they cannot bear the same loads as the ground which surrounds them. Ribbons of tension run through, fractures which are treacherous and liable to slip. The areas of infill are referred to as made-up ground. Made-up ground is unreliable, unstable, unsettling. All cities stand on made-up ground. This article is an exploration of the made-up grounds we walk upon and those we inhabit in the worlds of science fiction (sf) and the relevance these fictions hold to those of us involved in the design of built futures. Throughout, it uses Joan Slonczewski’s A Door Into Ocean as a unique site to develop an attentiveness to the spatial and social significance of ground. This is an account of my reading of this work, carrying with me what Fredric Jameson might call my sedimented reading habits and the interpretive traditions formed by architectural practice and a fascination with the built environment. It acknowledges and attends to the aims and interests which shape my own acts of reading. In doing so, this article explores how this sf text, and the science fictional (sf-nal) processes of reading and relating to the world, might give those of us in the spatial disciplines grounds to think our world anew. The section ‘Breaking Ground’ details this approach before reflecting on architectural sf studies and the future city in the section ‘From The Ground Up’. The subsequent four sections each focus on a specific moment within Slonczewski’s novel – an encounter between the characters and the built surfaces of the worlds they inhabit. These moments prompt a particular mode of considering the ground through touch which is then traced onwards into theories of haptics, architectural and literary theory, and selected other worlds of sf before being considered in relation to the worlds in which we find ourselves. The sf texts discussed serve to offer glimpses into other imagined worlds, each containing a moment of contact with ground that resonates with the concerns expressed in A Door Into Ocean. Similarly, the spatial examples serve to illustrate how the complex considerations of ground raised by A Door Into Ocean have manifested themselves within the world we inhabit, in architectural practice or in the patterns of inhabitation and use of built landscapes, the points of contact we make with the places we inhabit and the ways they shape us in return. In locating these two forms of 3 imaginative construction – through text and practice – alongside one another this article demonstrates how readings of sf, informed by an attentiveness to ground and touch, can cast fresh strangeness onto aspects of spatial practice which might otherwise be obscured. Breaking Ground The moment of contact with ground is a site of incidental and everyday meetings between the body and the built. When compared to the active reaching of the hand, as we stretch out to stroke the surface of shuttered concrete or grasp a door handle, the repeated press of sole onto ground is an almost passive background and backgrounded sensation. But it is here that experience of touch, and the encounter that this creates between the perceived self and the environments within which we move, are transformed from fleeting moments of sensation into shifting sites of constant connection. These are the sustained acts of touch which ground us in the world. This is new ground for me. As an architect and lecturer in architecture I have been trained in, and now teach visual methods of representation. Along with most of my profession I am mired in bias toward sight. But this singularity of focus denies so much of the complexity of place. In my work with sf I have traversed terrains of spectacular strangeness, and it is this intimate connection with the surfaces of other worlds which has driven me to seek out new ways of considering the built. So, I attempt to look away, to lower my gaze and develop an attentiveness to the world in which I find myself. In her discussion of geographies of responsibility Doreen Massey talks about how global phenomena are grounded, carried into places by individual bodies. She draws on the work of Gibson-Graham who call for “a set of embodied interventions that attempt to confront and reshape the ways in which we live and enact the power of the global.” A focus on embodied experience, and I would argue more specifically a consideration of touch, can be a way to avoid the slick finish of the glossy visual and resist the flattenings of globalization by providing an intimate and innately individual specificity of place. As Kevin Hetherington notes, we touch something to confirm that it is there, that our eyes do not deceive us. Touch blurs the boundaries between our bodies and our environment, in sensations that transfer knowledge, opening us up to consider the relations and identities through which we and our places have been constructed, allowing us to acknowledge our multiple and varied responsibilities. These multiple responsibilities are tangibly present in Joan Slonczewski’s A Door Into Ocean. Written in 1986 by an author who is also a microbiologist, it is set on a world replete with deeply felt biological kinship networks which Slonczewski uses to consider themes of environmental responsibility, social justice, and pacifist forms of resistance. It is liminal utopia and as its inhabitants work toward 4 community which transcends the self, they also confront attempted colonization. Slonczewski uses these ambiguous and contested Architecture, Science Fiction, and the Surface of Imagined conditions to engage with questions of environmental ethics informed by Worlds their scientific understandings of interrelation at a microbial level and Amy Butt their beliefs as a Quaker. As described Eric Otto, the struggle within the text echoes the struggles of ecofeminism as a transformative movement, “searching for ways to challenge the oppressions of women and nonhuman nature.” Sherryl Vint identifies how Slonczewski addresses expanded notions of community throughout their work to consider “how the relationship between the environment and various subjects can be conceived.” While A Door Into Ocean offers a complex site for the consideration of environmental and biopolitical concerns, it is the world within the novel rather than the context of its production which acts as provocation for this article. The story focuses on the ocean moon of Shora; a world entirely without land. As such, it enacts the radical removal of an assumed pre-condition of human society. It rips the ground out from under our feet and leaves us suspended. Here the ‘ground’ must be continually constructed, woven together from oceanic plant life and maintained to withstand the swell of the waves. As noted by Katie Lloyd Thomas, this establishes and reflects a form of social construction based on an intimate awareness of the inhabitant’s role in a web of interconnected relations and impacts. This, then, is a place where the absence of land reveals ground to be multiple, contextual and subjective, ‘made up’ as story and as site. This text provides a thread which I follow, but one which is read from as well as being read into. So, while this article considers specific experiences of touch within this novel following literary studies’ practices of open interpretive reading, each of these encounters is traced onwards into architectural and literary theory, and the other worlds of sf, before being considered in relation to the world in which we find ourselves. This method of reading from the sf text, allowing the fictional world to direct the development of research and illuminate connections, is based both on the conceptual positioning of the worlds of sf as opposed to other literary or mundane fiction, and understandings of sf as a method of reading. This article shares a common ambition with scholars such as Natalie Collie, Christine Hudson and Malin Ronnblom who explore how sf texts might be read in collective or community contexts of urban planning to both broaden participation and expand the utopian horizon of discussion. The capacity for sf to inspire and ferment change in relation to such problematic and complex issues is discussed by utopian sf scholars such as Angelika Bammer and Walidah Imarisha for whom the sf text can act as a site to “dream as ourselves,” liberating the imagination and gathering the resolve to sculpt reality. Through sf we can consider the fictive world against, alongside, and in-between the lived world, 5 creating a seam of difference which troubles the surface, unsettling and breaking the made-up ground on which we think we stand. From the Ground up … thick black boots that struck the hard black pavement, pounding incessantly… Did the pavement flatten the soles of their boots, or did the marchers work together to polish the sombre pavement as smooth as a night-time sea? A Door Into Ocean focuses on the ocean world of Shora, but this place of ecological balance is not an isolated utopia. It is a world amongst many attempting to sustain itself within a wider galactic context. The narrative follows the Sharer resistance to offer up the mineral and natural resources of Shora to galactic trade, and the subsequent escalating violence and threat of genocide from the Imperial occupying force deployed from the neighboring planet of Valedon. When the Sharer Merwen visits the city of Iridis located on another Imperial world, she moves from a world of raft structures drifting on ocean currents to a city of stone and glass. As we follow Merwen these familiar city structures are encountered as radically alien, providing a perspective which allows their presumptive normality to be radically critiqued. The city of Iridis, with its glass towers and polished surfaces, is a vision of a high-rise urban future so prevalent in sf as to be “almost a cliche” according to Stephen Graham. It is deployed as a symbol of the techno-utopia, the soaring heights attained by the pursuit of technological progress of a very narrow bandwidth. But it is also present in critical dystopias where power inequality is made manifest in spatial hierarchies and the structuralizing of privilege made easily measurable in terms of meters from ground level. This is a spatializing of privilege which is incomprehensible to Merwen, who chooses to sit on the ground in order to always be closest to sea level, disrupting assumed measures of power through the placement of her body. As well as its symbolic or narrative role, the vertical city in sf has been examined by urban studies scholars Carl Abbot and Paul Dobraszczyk in their analyses of sf city typologies as a response to moments of radical change within the built environment contemporaneous to the time of writing, such as the construction of early skyscrapers in New York or the shifts in public opinion around European high-rise housing. The image of the high-rise city has a powerful allure, and its pervasive presence in works of sf bleeds into architectural and design thinking such that, as argued by Karen Hurley, the built future might be considered to be synonymous with rapid vertical urbanization. As an image of the future it is a product of a techno-scientific ideal of progress and the cultural narratives that conflate industrialization with advancement. It has become an image so enmeshed in the aesthetics of futurity that anything else – the low rise, the rural, the modest or 21 unassuming – appears regressive, stagnant, or simply naïve. As an architect, this suggestion is highly distressing. As a fan of science fiction, Architecture, Science Fiction, and the Surface of Imagined it is only marginally less disturbing. It does such heart-breaking Worlds disservice to the myriad worlds of sf and the breath-taking scope of Amy Butt possibilities they contain. … the ground bristled with sharp objects more dangerous than the spines of coral fish; for the hundredth time she fingered the soles of her aching feet. Her skin burned, dry as bleached raft- wood. Merwen’s steps through the city of Iridis are hesitant and pained. She does not wear shoes, and her contact with this hard world is unmediated and unremitting. Its abrasive edges scratch and tear at her flesh, its smooth surfaces strike at her heels. The fabric of Iridis makes small insistent demands of Merwen and its unyielding surfaces require that she reshape herself to fit. But the ground is also revealed as a mutual construction, the simultaneous development of inhabitant and the world, each inextricably enmeshed with the making of the other. The movements of a troop on patrol and the rhythmic pounding on pavement flattens boot soles and polishes stone. That which seems fixed is exposed as the product of ongoing labor to sustain and maintain it. In turn, ceasing such action holds radical potential, as the small and seemingly insignificant impressions we make on the surface of the world hold great cumulative power to reshape it. As we walk the worlds of sf we examine them as if they had been constructed from the ground up. Here architecture can be witnessed as continually made and remade, opening up the utopian possibility of the world made otherwise. Groundless As Spinel stepped down the exit ramp, he surveyed the surface below. It looked like hard crusted soil, with a sort of evergreen matting, yet it could not be ‘land’ underneath. His feet lost weight for an instant, and he gripped the railing until the swell subsided. Shora is an ocean world bounded by an unbroken horizon line of water, the solid ground of the sea floor reached only in death. As Spinel, an apprentice who has been invited to join the Sharer community, arrives from the world of Valedon, he steps onto one of the rafts which drift across its ocean and the presumption of the ground beneath him falls away. What was understood to be solid is transformed into surface, a platform haunted by the depth of the ocean underneath. His shift in perspective is prompted by a multi-sensory understanding of body and environment as mutually constructed. Here views of the unbroken horizon, the scent of sea spray, the sound of water 7 lapping at the raft edge, act alongside experiences which can be defined as tactile: the cool temperature of the damp raft, the rough texture of the matted plants, the pressure of bodyweight sinking into the surface; as well as the senses which inform our somatic sense of self: a vestibular awareness of balance as the raft shifts, a kinesthetic awareness of the position of limbs which informs his stance, and a proprioceptive awareness of muscular tension exerted in an effort to assert his place in this uncertain world. Attending to the site where the body and the landscape meet, where we touch the surface, is to talk about how a place feels. It foregrounds the haptic aspects of this experience including both the tactile sensory information transmitted through the skin, and the interior, somatic sense of self which provides the background understanding of embodiment. To consider the haptic is not to try and disentangle this experience from its multisensorial context, but rather, as Constance Classen describes, to “foreground sensations that have customarily been understood to be so basic to bodily existence that they have been taken for granted.” As we shift, twist or undermine the solidity of the ground it creates sites of vulnerability, fractures which open up in the way we see the world and ourselves. As described by architect Roy Malcolm Porter Jr., the ground is our primary point of postural spatial reference; “the very basis for our sense of our own corporeality and our uniquely human orientation.” This is a trope deployed to great effect in sf novels which use twisted and distended stairs or ramps to distort the perception of grounded reality and to provoke psychological destabilization, including Sally Miller Gearhart’s The Wanderground, Robert Silverberg’s The World Inside, Yoshio Aramaki’s The Sacred Era, or Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation. The embodied experience of ground can also allow for vast structures to be understood, where climbing a stair creates an awareness of distance generated through the cumulative measure of the lift of each foot. In Scott Russell Sanders’s Terrarium, written in 1985 by an author concerned with ecological interconnectedness of place, the cities of earth have been dismantled and rebuilt as a floating network so perfectly enclosed that even the swell of the waves below cannot be perceived. Devoid of any external points of reference and longing for escape, Teeg climbs a stair to measure the scale of the city against her own body in an effort to develop haptic knowledge of both the city and her self. As Juhani Palasmaa writes, “I experience myself in the city, and the city exists through my embodied experience. The city and my body supplement and define each other. I dwell in the city and the city dwells in me.” In Terrarium, this performance of climbing is an act of dissent, a wilful restating of built reality in terms of the individual body, a moment of radical self-reliance and a reclamation of spatial agency. Similarly, for Spinel in A Door Into Ocean, the loss of ground and subsequent 8 acclimation to the motion of the raft is an integral part of his shifting sense of self, a process of coming to understand his new home and his Architecture, Science Fiction, and the Surface of Imagined possible place within it. Worlds The disorienting effect of the loss of ground, and the Amy Butt establishment of alternate forms of spatial reference has been explored by geographers and urban studies scholars working on maps of Hong Kong. The density of urban development combined with the steeply sloping terrain led to the construction of hundreds of urban footbridges which interconnect levels between structures, dissolving any notion of ‘ground level’ as a fixed point of reference. This interconnected understanding of the city has shaped its use as a site of protest. The 2014 umbrella movement which called for transparent elections in response to the proposed selective prescreening of candidates by the Chinese state body, saw protestors occupying land between and beneath the walkways, allowing them to directly address the government workers who could not avoid traversing the paths above. In the 2019 Anti-Extradition protests, the linking walkways and interconnected malls allowed crowds to disperse and regroup when confronted with tear gas or violence. These are movements drawn from a practiced ability to navigate this spatially latticed terrain, the lived experience of the systems of power and control which are written into this fabric, and an awareness of the legal and political frameworks which govern them. This is a right to the city and to democracy vehemently defended in the faceof overwhelmingpersonal risk. At Merwen’s footfall, half the scaly things slithered down the side. Spinel recoiled, but Merwen unconcernedly went out onto the branch, so he followed, more slowly… This work of resistance through spatial knowing, is also present in A Door Into Ocean as the Sharers draw on their intimate knowledge of the ocean to resist the violent assault of military forces. While Merwen is able to move across the raft with ease, Spinel who is a visitor from the same world as the occupying army, is adrift without the certainty of land to define himself against. The abrupt shift in sensation momentarily untethers his sense of self and he is dislocated without the stable ground to provide a point of reference. It is a moment of profound spatial estrangement which makes him aware of all he had taken for granted and all he has lost. But, like Spinel as he slowly follows in the wake of Merwen’s sure steps, the worlds of sf suggest that there is something to be gained from feeling the ground beneath us fall away. It is an experience which exposes the social and cultural contingency of any way of placing ourselves within the worlds we make. 9 Common Ground … the raft sloped gently upwards, until it dipped to a hollow in the centre … . A door hole opened in the floor of the silkhouse, and tunnels extended through the raft, winding in an eerie phosphorescent maze … The rafts that Merwen and Spinel step onto are not a surface but a thickness – mounds which swell with gas, mosses which sink under pressure, small pools of water which sit in the hollows. They blur the line between raft and sea in an indistinct and uneven gradation, as intentional structures fray outwards into the sharp edges of corals and the rich slick of plant life. Both edges and interiors are porous as tunnels knit their way through the depths and spongey surfaces shift and secrete. Another visitor from Valedon, Berenice, makes her way into these tunnels, stepping out of her shoes and shedding the clothing she had worn, casting off layers of separation. Over time her skin acquires new pigmentation as microbes exuded by the walls seep into her pores and subtly shift her physiology. The environment she inhabits permeates and transforms this last barrier between body and built. A blurring of this boundary through the porous membrane of the skin is explored in a number of sf novels, including J.G Ballard’s The Crystal World, Greg Bear’s Blood Music, and Nnedi Okorafor’s Lagoon which challenge us to consider how encounters with the world we inhabit can infiltrates and remake us. This imagined practice works to disrupt the boundary of the self, what Didier Anzieu refers to as ‘skin ego’:a western cultural conception of individual coherence where the skin is envelope rather than an interface. Rather, the skin is porous and contiguous with the surfaces it touches. As Elizabeth Grosz notes, skin ‘‘provides the ground for the articulation of orifices, erotogenic rims, cuts on the body’s surface, loci of exchange between the inside and the outside.” In the worlds of sf our skin ego is ruptured in more ways than one. By reading these texts, we imaginatively inhabit alternate life-worlds, troubling the internalized self-image that governs our understandings of both body and place. Here we empathetically engage with a perception of a world which, like Shora, is formed through and by an embodied experience radically other or alien to our own. While phenomenologists attend to embodied experiences of place, these understandings are open to critique where they fail to engage with the wider power structures or socio-cultural systems, leading Mike Paterson to describe such readings as retrograde in their avoidance of gendered bodies, queer bodies, racialized bodies, of individual sensory or physical difference. This contextualizing of the body within wider power structures is directly addressed in A Door Into Ocean both in its depictions of the Sharer spaces of queer kinship and through the narrative itself where Spinel’s differently-gendered presence is requested 10 by the inhabitants of Shora so that they might reconsider their definition of ‘humanity’ which had been based on physiological and socially Architecture, Science Fiction, and the Surface of Imagined constructed traits. Other worlds of sf similarly provide us with an Worlds awareness of touch as a diverse and individual experience, a reflexive Amy Butt construction between body and built, shaped by the wider socio-political context. In Frederik Pohl’s Gateway, written in 1977 and focusing on the social and psychological consequences of encounters with alien environments, the tunnels which were left behind by the alien Heechee seem to resist human acclimatization. The tunnels’ internal surfaces are unnervingly slick, while the low gravity means that surfaces seem to drift away. This tentative brush of the ground where they expect solid reassurance presents a continual disruption of the embodied and internalized ways of knowing for the human inhabitants. Unable to make satisfying contact with the ground, those who live in these tunnels are forced to develop new ways of sleeping, walking, and dancing. While the physical fabric of the structure establishes the frame of possibility, each inhabitant’s socio-economic status influences their ability to purchase adaptive technologies, and their capacity and desire to learn these new patterns of movements is informed by individual neuro and bio-diversity. These fictions demonstrate the intertwining of physical and social ways of knowing, the patterns of habit developed to survive and thrive in the world as it is encountered and practiced until they have become ingrained in the body. Walter Benjamin describes this as tactile appropriation, a form of knowledge which is acquired through physical engagement rather than intellectual contemplation, describing how “buildings are appropriated in a two fold matter: by use and by perception – or rather by touch and sight.” These are knowledges constructed through bodily effort; the physical movement across a landscape, the gradual development of a corporeal understanding of the terrain, formed as much by our ability to become unaware of it as by a continual defining presence. In A Door Into Ocean those who move from the rafts onto solid ground feel the phantom echoes of the ocean swell, their intimate understanding of the landscapes of their home only becoming apparent when confronted with a shift in this background condition. In the Kunst Haus Wien, the floor swells and undulates, brickwork and timber deliberately formed into uneven surfaces. The architect, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, describes it as a symphony for balance. It is designed to resist habits of movement, to elicit an awareness of the familiar patterns of pace and stride through their delirious disruption. In doing so, it provokes a broader understanding of what Hundertwasser calls our “relationship and contact to earth,” and suggests possibilities which are flattened by orthogonal construction. However, the uneven floor fails to consider those for whom level access is a necessity not a design feature, building in ableist assumptions and exclusions. This homogenized notion of the body is one which permeates architectural practice, where designers rely on technical standards. These practices 11 are being actively redressed by the work of groups such as DisOrdinary Architecture, who see design as an extension of human capacities, which includes the rich range of neuro and bio diversity. “Well, I can’t say that Valans aren’t human. They’re excitable and very fearful … Perhaps it comes from dwelling on the world’s floor, among dead bones” The differences between the Sharers and the Valedon is such that each debates the others’ relative ‘humanity’, where disparate methods of reproduction and physical appearance are underwritten by social, cultural and linguistic distinctions. But when he is injured, the moist membranes in the place of ‘lifeshaping’ enfold and heal Spinel’s injuries, and the organisms woven into this structure develop into tentacular protrusions which wrap, seal or penetrate the surface of his skin. So, the structures constructed by the Sharers recognize difference and provide support, attending to kinship on a genetic level sufficient to heal Spinel’s injury’s without requiring him to meet a Sharer ideal. This is a space where the border between environment and self is porous and indistinct, creating a dissolution of skin ego which suggests the possibility of a common ground. In sf we move through strange new worlds inhabiting bodies other than our own; we allow the terrain of twisted landscapes to permeate our skin, we practice the sway of a stranger’s gait until it becomes ordinary and we become steady on unfamiliar ground. These fictions allow us to critically imagine place as constructed by different bodily selves, through contact with the surfaces of imagined worlds. Groundswell Her grandmothers had founded the raft and tunnelled it with wood-enzymes over the years…“But the raft had one flaw of a crack that widened every season … Well we’ll have to start another one soon, soon as the water clears. Have you perhaps seen a good strong raftling about?” Merwen makes her way across the raft with ease. She has made this ground herself, coaxing raft seedlings together, weaving supports, and layering up surfaces. Each raft is a product of collective making, tending and care. She has witnessed the rafts grow and decay, worn down by weather, by inattention or over-use, breaking apart under the pressures of ocean swells or accreting into new forms. A malleable surface, the texture of the raft informs and bears witness to patterns of inhabitation. Its current surface is one layering among the many processes of growth and decay which define the dynamic ground in a process of imprinting described by Tim Ingold in relation to footprints, the impression our bodies make on touching the ground, visible in the wearing down and 12 building up of layers; “making their way along the ground, people create paths and tracks … their temporality is bound to the dynamics of its Architecture, Science Fiction, and the Surface of Imagined formation … a function of the weather, and of reactions across the Worlds interface between earth and air.” Amy Butt The science-fictional imagination provides ample opportunity to contemplate both the relative permeance of architectural constructs, and our fascination with destroying the worlds of our own making. With spurs of steel jutting from the shattered concrete, and broken glass underfoot, the image of the post-apocalyptic city is a hostile revisioning of the surfaces of the world we had previously smoothed to ease our passing, the revenge of materials bent into shape. But architects do not design for decay. We design to prevent it, but rarely acknowledge its inevitability. Jane M. Jacobs and Stephen Cairns describe architecture as perversely nascent, preoccupied with the moment of birth, of creation, to the point where we cannot meaningfully engage with the lives of the buildings we create. Yet the deterioration of the built is continually with us. In A Door into Ocean this is only held back by the concerted efforts of maintenance and repair work. This is work which, as Miwon Kwon states, “continuously erases the marks of its own labour (including the body or the labourer) rendering itself invisible, and is rendered invisible.” To overlook maintenance work is a denial of continual processes of touch, both the wearing down of surfaces by weather or the passage of feet, and the physical acts of cleaning which stroke and sooth the surfaces of the built. In their work on critical care Berenice Fisher and Joan Tronto define care as “everything that we do to maintain, continue, and repair ‘our world’ so that we can live in it as well as possible. That world includes our bodies, ourselves, and our environment, all of which we seek to interweave in a complex, life sustaining web.” In A Door Into Ocean the Sharers do not resist storm damage, but develop an awareness of the storms as vital part of wider ecological networks. This is a radical extension of the notions of care to encompass the non-human, even when this necessitates processes of rebuilding and maintenance. In this way, the worlds of sf ask us to critically question what it is that we are maintaining. In Kim Stanley Robinsons’ novel New York: 2140 written in 2017, sea levels have risen and the waters lap at the windows of Manhattan skyscrapers. In response, the maintenance work of waterproofing and drying has become the foundation of continued inhabitation. But the lines which define land ownership have drifted with the shoreline, and the mid-town towers now sit in an intertidal zone, granting them an uncertain legal position. The tidal staining of lurid green that brands the buildings in this new territory becomes the marker for places where existing orders are unsettled, where the ground has become slippery. Within these towers, the same maintenance work of pumping and sealing serves not to support existing structures of power and privilege, but to defend these spaces of possibility. 13 In Chicago, the work of the Settler Colonial City Project attempts to heighten awareness of the theft of indigenous land, by demarcating the limits of colonial ownership against the shifting edge of water and land. In their work on the Chicago Cultural Center they expose its location on an area of made-up ground, created by landfill from the Chicago Fire of 1890. It is a place which did not exist in 1833 when the Treaty of Chicago was signed. This shoreline is understood as spatial and temporal, and this building of ground is a site to address the continued injustices of Federal relocation programmes. To walk on this ground is to traverse unceded indigenous land. Within the narratives of sf we can inhabit the spatial implications of contemporary actions over vast spans of time. Novels like Doris Lessing’s Canopus in Argos: Archives series or Olaf Stapledon’s Last and First Men extend far beyond our contemporary moment, while Chen Qiufan’s Waste Tide confronts the accumulation of plastic waste in the oceans, accreting in the great pacific garbage patch to form a new landmass. As Richard Crownshaw describes, these novels construct narratives of a planetary scale, to act as “memory work from a speculative future of an unfolding Anthropocene,” that new epoch of geological time dominated by human impact which is present in the laying down of new layers of ground. It is here perhaps that we can acknowledge the iniquitous and uneven impact of climate catastrophe, the ramifications of such making and unmaking of ground. Where Merwen had lived, only a few battered fragments of panelling still stood, jagged as a cracked egg-shell. The surface of the raft was torn and stripped to the gnarled wooden core … The impact of sustained inhabitation is tangibly present in the ground of A Door Into Ocean, as the rafts themselves are the product of careful cultivation and the layering up of hand woven mats which transform the landscape. After a storm passes, Spinel is shocked at the silk-house structure which is exposed to be as fragile as broken eggshells protruding from the raft. His illusions of shelter and security are shattered and stripped away to reveal their temporally fleeting foundations. But in the intergenerational work of raft cultivation, A Door Into Ocean hints at the extended timescales and global perspectives made visible within sf. To focus on touch within these fictions is to acknowledge the human agency in these processes of continued construction and their consequences, in the labor of maintenance and the reinscribed edges of power and control. Sf provides a site to consider both the slow drift and the radical break of change and decay. It establishes a critical site to inhabit the implications of our everyday actions as we stand in the wreckage of the groundswell. 14 Ground Control “Home is a shore of land I can stand on. If I were to slip from Architecture, Science Fiction, and the Surface of Imagined this branch, I’d fall straight to the bottom of the sea.” Worlds Amy Butt Beneath the ocean of Shora lies the seabed. This is the final surface of Shora, the ground that cannot be walked upon, reached only in death. While Spinel contemplates the depth of the ocean and sees the void of his own mortality, for the Sharers this is a place which exists beyond any bodily frame of reference. It is an unattainably spiritual space. Merwen’s partner Usha, overcome with grief, dreams of swimming down to this place to join those she has lost. But the occupying force from Valedon are interested in the seabed only as a source of unknown and untapped mineral resources. Theirs is an understanding of ground as territory or commodity, to be colonized and capitalized. Ground as a site of resource extraction is addressed in a plethora of sf novels, from Ken Macleod’s Fall Revolution series, which sees colonized worlds and asteroids mined for mineral resources, to those such as Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Word for the World is Forest or James Tiptree Jr.’s Brightness Falls from the Air where the indigenous flora, fauna and inhabitants themselves are harvested. Energy humanities and sf scholars including Gerry Canavan have suggested that the depictions of resource systems within fiction might offer a way to consider how materials such as oil have shaped ways of being in the world. Graeme MacDonald states that “fictional awareness offers more than stories about energy types and systems. It establishes a means to contemplate – and possibly to deconstruct – energy capital’s formidable representative skills, notably its narrativization of the “natural” necessity of oil to our functioning social systems.” The multiple story-worlds of sf allow us to step outside the ubiquity of any single valuing of ground. In the short story ‘Legends are Made not Born’ by Canadian Metis  writer Cherie Dimaline, we follow Semaa and Auntie Dave, who recount the migration story from the poisoned Old Earth. Here indigenous peoples were the last to be evacuated and the remaining allowances for transportation were small. So, each nation collected that which it cherished: the strains of corn, the seeds for sage and sweetgrass. They also collected as much of the lands that were left as could be carried, scooped up into storage crates. Auntie Dave recounts this story of migration as part of a careful transplanting of tradition, allowing them to introduce Semaa to the community legacy of Two-Spirited people. When considered in terms of fuel economy, the transportation of dirt to an already fecund world seems to offer little return, but this story makes palpable the value contained within the land itself. While offering small comfort against overwhelming loss, these stacked crates of dirt held within them a spiritual notion of place which was carefully carried and sustained through generations to reach Semaa. As with the seabed of Shora, it is a value beyond that which can be tangibly measured or physically experienced. 15 In our own world, off the coast of Dubai, the most exclusive land is that which does not yet exist. Confronted by a geography which fails to offer enough opportunity for commodification, archipelagos are constructed in the shape of palm trees or a map of the globe. Although they are located on the coast of a desert, the sand of the dunes is not sharp edged enough for construction. Consequently, this sand has been imported from India, China, Malaysia, Kenya, Sierra Leone or Australia where land that was stolen from indigenous peoples is now sold on. Since 1963 Singapore has grown by 20 percent using the same techniques, with the sand used to construct this land resulting in the effective relocation of 24 Indonesian islands wiped from the map. These relocations of land are painfully dramatic. The use of sand in the construction industry in Europe is similarly culpable, although our liability is masked and all the more insidious. As with oil and precious metals, the extraction and displaced construction of ground exists within buried webs of exploitation. For those of us reliant on the plan drawing, which implies that the place depicted is stable, complete and fixed, available for measurement and accessible to scrutiny, engaging with the haptic can introduce unsettling equivocality. Robert Cooper and John Law describe touch as a proximal way of approaching the world, fragmentary and precarious, innately context-specific, “the continuous and the ‘unfinished’; it is what is forever approached but never attained.” It provides a way of grasping at the whole which destroys any notions of impartiality. Imagined lives enacted on the same surface provide a glimpse into the multiple, simultaneous and conflicting experiences of space which exist alongside, over and between those which we have attuned ourselves to witness. Donna Haraway writes, “Location is the always-partial, always-finite, always-fraught play of foreground and background, text and context, that constitutes critical inquiry. Above all, location is not self-evident.” “Mining is the thing now. You can’t imagine what minerals lie untouched on the floor of that ocean.” While Spinel shares the Valedon’s understanding of land as something fixed, as a certainty which can be owned and built upon, the Sharers understanding of value is based on wider conceptions of ecological interconnectedness and responsibility. They refuse to offer the seabed for mining, and are consequently threatened with genocide. But the Valedon attempt to ‘occupy’ the rafts is thwarted by the unmappable condition of their constantly shifting locations. The Sharers inhabit the spaces around the rafts as much as they occupy the surface by moving across, between and underneath. While life below or within the thickness of the rafts is not concealed, and the value of the seabed is myriad and complex, both remain beyond the Valedon ability to comprehend. 16 Standing our Ground Architecture, Science Fiction, and the Surface of Imagined With an immense effort Lystra pulled herself up, until her head Worlds spun. “I – I’m still here. The death-hasteners came, and they…” Amy Butt There were only bootprints sunk in the mud all around the raft. The Valedon arrive in Shora as a colonizing force, a military presence willing to commit genocide to access the material wealth of the land below the ocean. In response, A Door Into Ocean speaks painfully but hopefully about the potential of nonviolent civil disobedience. It has been described as naively utopian, overly reliant on the fear and compassion of an occupying force which prompts them to reflect on the horrors of their actions. But it, and I, remain resolutely hopeful. At a time when we are confronted with devastating global concerns, the consideration of fictional ground may seem frivolous and the notions of the haptic too personal to hold broader relevance. But to resist or present alternatives requires an understanding of how we have shaped and are shaped by the worlds which we have made. By making contact with the made-up ground of the myriad worlds of sf we gain an expanded awareness of our own situatedness, a plurality of positions which extends our empathetic understanding to the truly alien, and a relational notion of identity of simply breathtaking scope. It grants us a better understanding of ourselves, and our shared ground. Science fiction is unsettling. I hope it is unsettling enough to create ribbons of tension in the worlds in which we live, seams of difference liable to slip, fractures in the made-up ground on which we stand. Amy Butt is an architect and lecturer in architecture at the University of Reading with a specialization in architectural representation and communication. Her research explores the way the fictional worlds we construct influence and reflect the world we inhabit, writing about utopian thought and the imaginary in architecture through science fiction literature and film. Recent publications include: 'As Plain As Spilt Salt – The City as Social Structure in The Dispossessed’ in Textual Practice, and ‘The Present as Past: Science Fiction and the Museum’ in the Open Library of Humanities which won the SFRA Innovative Research Award Acknowledgements My thanks to the editorial team and peer reviewers. Heartfelt thanks to Pawel Frelik and organisers of ‘Senses of Science Fiction’ at the University of Warsaw in 2019 for the keynote invitation which was the foundation for this article, to Rachel Hill and Katie Stone for their 17 comments, to Glyn, Sinead,  Sing and Beyond Gender for their support, and to Maggie Butt and David Roberts for their insight. ORCID Amy Butt http://orcid.org/0000-0002-1762-2768 Notes 1. The abbreviation ‘sf’ is used in place of Environment and Planning A 35, no. 11 the term ‘science fiction.’ Following (2003): 1933–44. Donna Haraway, sf includes and alludes 8. For further discussion on the complex to “science fiction, science fact, science ecological systems and interspecies fantasy, speculative feminism, interrelation of A Door Into Ocean see speculative fabulation, string figures …” the excellent work of: Sarah Lohmann, Donna Haraway, Staying with the Trouble “The Edge of Time: The Critical (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, Dynamics of Structural Chronotopes in 2016), 2. the Utopian Novel” (PhD thesis, Durham 2. As described by Jameson “our object of University, 2020); Chris Pak, “’Then Came study is less the text itself than the Pantropy’: Grotesque Bodies, interpretations though which we Multispecies Flourishing, and Human- attempt to confront and to appropriate Animal Relationships in Joan it” Fredric Jameson, The Political Slonczewski’s A Door Into Ocean”, Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Science Fiction Studies 44, no. 1 (2017): Symbolic Act (Abingdon: Routledge, 122–36. 2013), x. 9. This novel is variously described as a 3. This might also be discussed in terms of lesbian feminist eco-utopia for its non-reading. This understanding of the interwoven explorations of sexuality and reading process is informed by the work gender, social and economic power of Phillip E. Wegner, Invoking Hope: structures, and environmental crisis. Theory and Utopia in Dark Times 10. See Slonczewski’s own writings on sf (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota and the life sciences: Joan Slonczewski Press, 2020), 181; discussing Pierre and Michael Levy, “Science Fiction and Bayard, How To Talk About Books You the Life Sciences”,in The Cambridge Haven’t Read (London: Granta Books, Companion to Science Fiction, ed. 2012). Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn 4. While this article addresses ideas of (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University touch and ground across architectural, Press, 2003), 174–85. geography and urban studies as well as 11. Eric C. Otto, “Ecofeminist Theories of through literature of haptics, due to Liberation in the Science Fiction of Sally limitations on word count it does not Miller Gearhart, Ursula K. Le Guin, and address other methods of engaging with Joan Slonczewski”, Feminist ground such as ethnography. My thanks Ecocriticism: Environment, Women, and to the anonymous reviewer for noting Literature, 2012, 15. this opportunity for further research. 12. Sherryl Vint, “Theorising the Global: The 5. Doreen Massey, “Geographies of Limits of Posthuman Subjectivity and Responsibility”, Geografiska Annaler: Collective Agency in Joan Slonczewski’s Series B, Human Geography 86, no. 1 Brain Plague”, Post Identity, Fall 2005, (2004): 5–18. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.pid9999. 6. Julie Katherine Gibson-Graham, “Beyond 0004.204. Global vs. Local: Economic Politics 13. For further discussion on oceanic Outside the Binary Frame”, Geographies spatiality in A Door Into Ocean see: Katie of Power: Placing Scale, 2002, 30. Lloyd-Thomas, “Feminist Hydro-Logics in 7. Kevin Hetherington, “Spatial Textures: Joan Slonczewski’s A Door Into Ocean”, Place, Touch, and Praesentia”, in Material Culture: Assembling and 18 Disassembling Landscapes, Landscript 5 and the Imagination (London: Reaktion (Zurich: Jovis, 2017), 195–222. Books, 2019). Architecture, Science Fiction, 14. Kathleen Spencer describes how, when 20. Karen Hurley, “Is That a Future We and the Surface of Imagined reading sf “the reader oscillates Want?: An Ecofeminist Exploration of Worlds between involvement in, and of Images of the Future in Contemporary Amy Butt observation of, the world of the text,” in Film”, Futures, Feminist Futures, 40, no. reciprocal and reflective reading 4 (1 May 2008): 346–59 For discussion patterns. In this way sf can be of the ubiquity and impact of this understood as a mode of reading; both imagery see also; Lucy Hewitt and a way of relating to the world within a Stephen Graham, “Vertical Cities: text and a critical position developed Representations of Urban Verticality in from the imaginary towards the lived. 20th-Century Science Fiction Kathleen L. Spencer, “’The Red Sun Is Literature”, Urban Studies 52, no. 5 High, the Blue Low’: Towards a Stylistic (2015): 923–37. Description of Science Fiction”, Science 21. This argument might be extended to Fiction Studies, 1983, 35–49. consider the vertical city as a form of 15. Natalie Collie, “Cities of the Imagination: capitalist realism. Its pervasive presence Science Fiction, Urban Space, and in dystopian fiction as a site which Community Engagement in Urban expresses inequality, and in Planning”, Futures 43, no. 4 (2011): architectural imagery as an aspirational 424–31. Christine Hudson and Malin techno-utopian future combines to Ronnblom, “Is an “Other” City Possible? suggest it is an unavoidable urban form. Using Feminist Utopias in Creating a Seen in this light, the image of the high- More Inclusive Vision of the Future City”, rise city contains within it the insidious Futures 121 (1 August 2020): 102583. foreclosure of alternatives. The multiple ways in which sf has 22. Slonczewski, A Door into Ocean, 39. relevance to those interested in the 23. Ibid., 51. built environment is also something I 24. This reading of the haptic experience of address further in Amy Butt, “’Endless place is drawn from Jennifer Mason and Katherine Davies, “Coming to Our Forms, Vistas and Hues”: Why Architects Senses? A Critical Approach to Sensory Should Read Science Fiction”, Arq: Architectural Research Quarterly 22, no. Methodology”, Qualitative Research 9, no. 2 (June 2018): 151–60. 5 (2009): 587–603; Mark Paterson, 16. The role of utopian sf in feminist “Haptic Geographies: Ethnography, activism and transformative practice is Haptic Knowledges and Sensuous discussed in the roundtable dialogue in Dispositions”, Progress in Human Angelika Bammer, Partial Visions: Geography 33, no. 6 (2009): 766–88; Feminism and Utopianism in the 1970s Paul Rodaway, Sensuous Geographies: (Oxford: Peter Lang UK, 2016), 241–99. Body, Sense and Place (London: Walidah Imarisha, “Introduction”,in Routledge, 2002). Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories 25. In studies of haptic forms of knowing, from Social Justice Movements, ed. the very ordinariness of these subjects Adrienne Maree Brown and Walidah makes them difficult to discern. These Imarisha (Oakland, CA: AK Press, are habits which form the unconscious 2015), 5. background to our engagement with 17. Joan Slonczewski, A Door into Ocean place, the distracted routines of (London: Women’s Press, 1987), 40. everyday. Constance Classen, The 18. Stephen Graham, “Vertical Noir: Deepest Sense: A Cultural History of Histories of the Future in Urban Science Touch (Chicago: University of Illinois Fiction”, City 20, no. 3 (2016): 389. Press, 2012), xiv. 19. Carl Abbott, Imagining Urban Futures: 26. Roy Malcolm Porter (Jr.), “The Stairs at € € Cities in Science Fiction and What We Saynatsalo Town Hall: The Perception of Might Learn from Them (Middletown, CT: Depth and the Experience of Space”, Wesleyan University Press, 2016); Paul Environmental & Architectural Dobraszczyk, Future Cities: Architecture Phenomenology 22, no. 3 (2011): 15. 27. Sally Miller Gearhart, The Wanderground: 40. Hundertwasser, “The Uneven Floor”, 19 Stories of the Hill Women (London: The 1991, http://www.hundertwasser.at/ english/exhibitions/khwboden.php. Women’s Press Ltd, 1985); Jeff 41. Rob Imrie, “’Architects’ Conceptions of VanderMeer, Annihilation (New York: the Human Body”, Environment and Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014); Planning D: Society and Space 21, no. 1 Aramaki Yoshio, The Sacred Era (2003): 47–65. (Minnesota: University of Minneapolis 42. Zoe Partington and Jos Boys, “The Press, 2017); Robert Silverberg, The DisOrdinary Architecture Project”, The World Inside (New York: Orion, 2011). DisOrdinary Architecture Project, 28. Scott R. Sanders, Terrarium (New York: accessed 20 March 2020, http:// Tom Doherty Associates, 1985). disordinaryarchitecture.com/wp/. 29. Juhani Pallasmaa, The Eyes of the Skin: 43. Slonczewski, A Door into Ocean, 77. Architecture of the Senses (Chichester: 44. Ibid., 139. Wiley, 1996), 40. 45. Tim Ingold, “Footprints through the 30. I explore the experience of staircases in Weather-world: Walking, Breathing, sf further in Amy Butt, “’Crowding the Knowing”, Journal of the Royal Stoop’: Climbing the Mega-Structures of Anthropological Institute 16 (2010): 121. Science Fiction”,in Mountains and 46. Stephen Cairns and Jane M. Jacobs, Megastructures: Neo-Geologic Buildings Must Die (Cambridge, MA: MIT Landscapes of Human Endeavour, ed. Press, 2014). Martin Beattie, Christos Kakalis, and 47. Miwon Kwon, “In Appreciation of Matthew Ozga-Lawn (Singapore: Invisible Work: Mierle Laderman Ukeles Springer Nature, 2020), 243–66. and the Maintenance of the ‘White 31. Adam Frampton, Clara Wong, and Cube’”, Documents 10 (1997): 16. Jonathan Solomon, Cities Without 48. Berenice Fisher and Joan Tronto, Ground: A Hong Kong Guidebook (Novato, “Toward a Feminist Theory of Caring”,in CA: Oro Editions, 2012). Circles of Care: Work and Identity in 32. Slonczewski, A Door into Ocean,51. Women’s Lives (Albany, NY: State 33. Ibid., 75. University of New York, 1990), 40. 34. J. G. Ballard, The Crystal World (London: 49. Kim Stanley Robinson, New York 2140 HarperCollins UK, 2012); Greg Bear, (London: Hachette UK, 2017). Blood Music (New York: Arbor House, 50. Andrew Herscher, Ana Mar ıaLeon,  and 1985); Nnedi Okorafor, Lagoon (New et al., “Settler Colonial City Project”, York: Simon and Schuster, 2015). 2019, https://settlercolonialcity 35. Didier Anzieu and Chris Trans Turner, project.org. The Skin Ego (New Haven, CT: Yale 51. Doris Lessing, Shikasta: Re: Colonised University Press, 1989); cited in Franck Planet 5 : Personal, Psychological, Bille, “Skinworlds: Borders, Haptics, Historical Documents Relating to Visit by Topologies”, Environment and Planning D: Johor (George Sherban) Emissary Society and Space 36, no. 1 (2018): (London: Grade 9) 87th of the Last Period 60–77. of the Last Days (London: Flamingo, 36. Elizabeth A. Grosz, Volatile Bodies: 1994); Olaf Stapledon, Last And First Toward a Corporeal Feminism Men (London: Hachette UK, 2012); Chen (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Qiufan, Waste Tide (London: Head of Press, 1994), 36. Zeus Ltd, 2019). 37. Mark Paterson, “More-than Visual 52. Richard Crownshaw, “Speculative Approaches to Architecture. Vision, Memory, the Planetary and Genre Touch, Technique”, Social & Cultural Fiction”, Textual Practice 31, no. 5 Geography 12, no. 03 (2011): 263–81. (2017): 902; citing Kate Marshall, “What 38. Frederik Pohl, Gateway (London: Are the Novels of the Anthropocene? Gollancz, 2010). American Fiction in Geological Time”, 39. Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the American Literary History 27, no. 3 Age of Mechanical Reproduction (London: (2015): 523–38. Penguin UK, 2008), 240. 53. Slonczewski, A Door into Ocean, 96. 20 54. Ibid., 143. Work, ed. Gibson Burrell and Martin 55. Ursula K. Le Guin, The Word for World Is Parker (London: Routledge, 2015), 201; Architecture, Science Fiction, Forest (London: Hachette UK, 2015); cited in Hetherington, “Spatial Textures: and the Surface of Imagined James Tiptree, Brightness Falls from the Place, Touch, and Praesentia”. Worlds Air (New York: T. Doherty Associates, 61. Donna J. Haraway, “Modest Witness: Amy Butt 1986); Ken MacLeod, The Star Fraction Feminist Diffractions in Science (London: Hachette UK, 2012). Studies”,in The Disunity of Science: 56. Gerry Canavan, “Retrofutures and Boundaries, Contexts, and Power, ed. Petrofutures”,in Oil Culture, by Allan Peter Louis Galison and David J. Stump Stoekl, ed. Ross Barrett and Daniel (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, Worden (Minneapolis: University of 1996), 440. Minnesota Press, 2014), 331–49. 62. Slonczewski, A Door into Ocean, 195. 57. Graeme Macdonald, “Research Note: The 63. Ibid., 316. Resources of Culture”, Reviews In 64. When I started writing this, I chose A Door Into Ocean for its engagement with Cultural Theory 4, no. 2 (2013): 4. the surfaces of the worlds it contains. 58. Cherie Dimaline, “Legends Are Made Not Born”,in Love Beyond Body, Space, and Since then, I have taken part in four Time: An Indigenous LGBT Sci-Fi consecutive years of UCU strike action. Anthology, ed. Hope Nicholson, Erin As I talk with colleagues and friends Cossar, and S. M. Beiko (Winnipeg: who have defended picket lines both Bedside Press, 2016). physical and virtual, I am grateful for 59. Fred Pearce, “The Hidden Environmental this time dwelling in a novel which Toll of Mining the World’s Sand”, Yale examines the possibility of protest, the Environment 360, 5 February 2019. demands it makes on those who 60. Robert Cooper and John Law, participate, and the potential for power “Organization: Distal and Proximal that it holds. 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Journal

Architecture and CultureTaylor & Francis

Published: Feb 22, 2023

Keywords: Science-fiction; fiction; design; architecture; haptics; touch; senses

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