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von Schlegell, Mark

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1957-    ) US art critic and author whose sf System Series sequence beginning with Venusia (2005), is set initially on a distant Near Future Dystopian Earth ravaged by Pollution and neoliberal rapacity, and moves to Venus where Genetically Engineered colonists, reduced by Drugs to a state of Amnesia, re-enact the behaviour which has already ruined the home planet. Von Schlegell's style is gonzo, his Venus is baroque in a manner reminiscent of the work of Jack Vance. In a manner which continues the Vance analogues, while at the same time articulated in a style of transgressive brashness, the Solar System is further transacted in Mercury Station (2011), where anything like a straightforward narrative impulse is mockingly contradicted (see Postmodernism and SF) through jagged intersections of story, involving Time Travel, a protagonist whose sex may change at will (see Transgender SF), Loki-like AIs who manipulate Cyberspace. The metafictional playfulness of the result reflects the work of John Barth, and shares some of his fundamental dis-ease: both authors, despite their apparent immersion in confabulated narrative structures, might be identified as Mainstream Writers of SF. The third volume of the sequence, Sundogz (2015), set partially in the oceans of Uranus (see Outer Planets), while re-examining some of the cruces exposed in the earlier volumes.

Of von Schlegell's standalone titles, Critical Spatial Practice 5-Ickles, Etc (coll of linked stories 2015) focuses on distant Near Future California and elsewhere, tracing through various linked stories the consequences of Climate Change and other transformations in the human condition upon architecture at the end of the twenty-first century. [JC]

Mark von Schlegell

born New York: 1957



System Series

  • Venusia (New York: Semiotext(e), 2005) [System Series: pb/Marnie Weber]
  • Mercury Station (New York: Semiotext(e), 2009) [System Series: pb/Rosemarie Trockel]
  • Sundogz (New York: Semiotext(e), 2015) [System Series: pb/]

individual titles


previous versions of this entry

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