The Persistence of Vision (short story)

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"The Persistence of Vision" is a science fiction novella by American writer John Varley. It won both the Hugo and Nebula awards for best novella in 1979. It was included in the anthology of the same name and in The John Varley Reader .

Science fiction genre of fiction

Science fiction is a genre of speculative fiction, typically dealing with imaginative concepts such as advanced science and technology, space exploration, time travel, and extraterrestrial life. Science fiction often explores the potential consequences of scientific and other innovations, and has been called a "literature of ideas".

Novella written, fictional, prose narrative normally longer than a short story but shorter than a novel

A novella is a text of written, fictional, narrative prose normally longer than a short story but shorter than a novel, somewhere between 17,500 and 40,000 words.

John Herbert Varley is an American science fiction writer.

Plot summary

A keen drifter describes the dismal political state of the world following a general collapse. He comes upon a commune of people who are blind and deaf. Much of the story details the culture and personal habits of the people. As their main cultural activity the commune uses different levels of touch-based communication on a regular basis, perhaps 3-4 times a week, in group sessions. These occur after work done during the days. Through these sensory communication encounters the protagonist develops strong bonds with several of the members.

The commune members emphasize mutual understanding to overcome their physical limitations. Their rich use of unspoken/unseen tactile language is used to establish intense clarity about others, a depth of clarity unobtainable using the senses of hearing and vision conventionally. Sex is part of their communication language.

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