Joan (Carol) D(ennison) Vinge Richard Law - Essay

Richard Law

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[Joan D. Vinge is a] science fiction writer attuned to Existentialism, but her isolated or beleaguered characters survive what William Barrett calls the modern "encounter with Nothingness." A representative character is Emmylou Stewart in the homiletic story, "View from a Height." Lacking natural immunities essential for life on Earth, Emmylou volunteered for permanent duty as an explorer isolated in an observatory in space. Being "trapped in the arc of blackness … meaningless, so insignificant," she falls into depression but recovers and expresses valiant acquiescence: "We're all on a one-way trip into infinity. If we're lucky we're given some life's work we care about, or some person. Or both, if we're very...

(The entire section is 699 words.)