Javier Padilla is Assistant Professor in the English Department at Colgate University. His current research focuses on the relation between decolonial poetry and revolutionary processes.
Lyotard’s question is mostly rhetorical and yet shines a light on an issue that haunts the fraught space between theory and fiction. The issue is particularly salient when it comes to science fiction, a genre that is characterized by figuration, fabulation, and the production of concepts. The copula “science fiction” itself is oxymoronic: if theory offers us cognitive tools to process philosophical conundrums about the state, personhood, etc., then surely the fictional, at best, plays a minimal role in this process, perhaps as a kind of space of simulation, narrativity, and poesis.