Juvie Jouissance

Juvie Jouissance


“this anti-hero exists:
he is the reader of the
text at the moment he
takes his pleasure”
—Roland Barthes
The Pleasure of the Text

But those days are gone, I’m not coming back for me…

To restore Time for the Stars as a juvie sciencefictional text, a contemporary Bibliothèque Rose boyhood romance is to restore the text not to its individuality but to its play.

Play is the plural text, the narrative game structure, the grammar, the logic, the pleasure of reading itself. Reading what was read 50 years ago like a boy again and feeling the joy and jouissance of it, reading Barthes’ Le plaisir du text (1973) now & knowing what it’s like to be inseminated by starfire again.

But those days are gone, they’re not coming back for me…

Can one experience boyhood jouissance and the pleasure of identifying with teenage eidetic imagination 50 years later? Or is it a twin paradox problem getting back there and being who I was back then? Is it a cognitive process—the ability of Vladimir’s Uncle Ruka in Speak, Memory, to reenter the past through books, through sci-fi Bibliothèque Roses?

If Heinlein’s Time for the Stars is a plural text capable of differentiation and pluralization, what is it that makes it that way? Is it just rereading the text? Or is it rewriting it assuming the largest possible plurality of voices in such a task, opposing without appeal the force of the imperialism of the past? What constitutes the jouissance and plurality of a juvie sci-fi text?

Is Heinlein’s Time for the Stars a dead end street, the representation of who I was 50 years ago, locked into the past, encumbered by embarrassing adolescent figurations? Does juvie sci-fi representation ever leap out of its frame? Does it go faster than the speed of light? Does knowing I’m the end of the story give me the same sense of novelistic satisfaction? Does the youthful protagonist in the novel speak to me now as he did back then?

If the juvie sci-fi imagination allows Heinlein to speak to us like a character in a novel—what is it that’s he’s saying, doing, understanding, knowing, loving in the story that’s relevant to us today? What is this pleasure of the juvie sci-fi text that, as Barthes says, “granulates, crackles, caresses, grates, cuts, comes?”

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