Through his work as a fiction writer, critic and activist, Fred Pfeil has sought to extend the progressive possibilities within contemporary American culture. Idiosyncratic and provocative, Another Tale to Tell moves from evaluations of politically engaged texts and practices—such as Hans Haacke’s deconstructive artwork, Chester Himes’ Harlem police thrillers, ‘cyberpunk’ and the feminist science fiction of Octavia Butler—to considerations of the history, dynamics and potential of postmodern culture.
Pfeil’s work on postmodernity is distinct from the spate of their works on the subject in its insistence on the social base of postmodern practices within today’s professional managerial class, and in his endeavour both to use and to criticize Marxist, feminist, psychoanalytic and poststructuralist thought in order to illuminate our present political impasses and openings.
From his audacious reading of the film River’s Edge as the terminus of the vexed history of bourgeois narrative, and his analysis of Reaganite oedipality in Back to the Future, to his unsettling meditation on the ‘poststructuralist paradise’ embodied in contemporary SF, Pfeil sorts through a welter of contemporary cultural texts and practices for the glimmerings of a postmodern narrative and politics that may truly be ‘another tale to tell’.
"Pfeil's ability to capture complex contemporary phenomena in concise metaphors, the energy and vitality of his thought, and the range of his interests make this an unusual and important contribution to contemporary cultural criticism." - E. Ann Kaplan