Green Planets: Ecology and Science Fiction

Green Planets: Ecology and Science Fiction


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Green Planets: Ecology and Science Fiction by Gerry Canavan

Contemporary visions of the future have been shaped by hopes and fears about the effects of human technology and global capitalism on the natural world. In an era of climate change, mass extinction, and oil shortage, such visions have become increasingly catastrophic, even apocalyptic. Exploring the close relationship between science fiction, ecology, and environmentalism, the essays in Green Planets consider how science fiction writers have been working through this crisis. Beginning with H. G. Wells and passing through major twentieth-century writers like Ursula K. Le Guin, Stanislaw Lem, and Thomas Disch to contemporary authors like Margaret Atwood, China Miéville, and Paolo Bacigalupi—as well as recent blockbuster films like Avatar and District 9—the essays in Green Planets consider the important place for science fiction in a culture that now seems to have a very uncertain future. The book includes an extended interview with Kim Stanley Robinson and an annotated list for further exploration of “ecological SF” and related works of fiction, nonfiction, films, television, comics, children’s cartoons, anime, video games, music, and more.

Contributors include Christina Alt, Brent Bellamy, Sabine Höhler, Adeline Johns-Putra, Melody Jue, Rob Latham, Andrew Milner, Timothy Morton, Eric C. Otto, Michael Page, Christopher Palmer, Gib Prettyman, Elzette Steenkamp, Imre Szeman.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780819574275
Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
Publication date: 04/15/2014
Pages: 312
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

GERRY CANAVAN is an assistant professor of English at Marquette University, and coeditor of the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to American Science Fiction. KIM STANLEY ROBINSON Is the author of myriad novels and stories, including most recently Shaman and 2312. He has won the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards for science fiction.

Table of Contents

Introduction: If This Goes On — Gerry Canavan
PART 1 — Arcadias and New Jerusalems
Extinction, Extermination, and the Ecological Optimism of H.G. Wells —Christina Alt
Evolution and Apocalypse in the Golden Age — Michael page
Daoism, Ecology, and World Reduction in Le Guin’s Utopian Fictions — Gib Prettyman
Biotic Invasions: Ecological Imperialism in New Wave Science Fiction — Rob Latham
PART 2 — Brave New Worlds and Lands of the Flies
“The Real Problem of a Spaceship Is Its People”: Spaceship Earth as Ecological Science Fiction — Sabine Höhler
The Sea and Eternal Summer: An Australian Apocalypse — Andrew Milner
Care, Gender, and the Climate-Changed Future: Maggie Gee’s The Ice People — Adeline Johns-Putra
Future Ecologies, Current Crisis: Ecological Concern in South African Speculative Fiction — Elzette Steenkamp
Ordinary Catastrophes: Paradoxes and Problems in Some Recent Post-Apocalypse Fictions — Christopher Palmer
PART 3 — Quiet Earths, Junk Cities, and the Cultures of the Afternoon
“The Rain Feels New”: Ecotopian Strategies in the Short Fiction of Paolo Bacigalupi — Eric C. Otto
Life after People: Science Faction and Ecological Futures — Brent Bellamy and Imre Szeman
Pandora’s Box: Avatar, Ecology, Thought — Timothy Morton
Churning Up the Depths: Nonhuman Ecologies of Metaphor in Solaris and “Oceanic”: — Melody Jue
Afterword: Still, I’m Reluctant to Call This Pessimism — Gerry Canavan and Kim Stanley Robinson
Of Further Interest
About the Contributors

What People are Saying About This

Patrick D. Murphy

“Green Planets is solid gold in terms of the breadth of the primary and secondary sources treated and the ways that the authors seamlessly intercalate their theoretical starting points and their literary examples.”

Heather Sullivan

“This book combines high-quality scholarship, well-known and up-and-coming authors, and scintillatingly new and relevant topics. It will set the standard for green science fiction studies, documenting the serious role that science fiction has to play in literary and cultural studies exploring the extremely pressing environmental issues of the twenty-first century.”

Fredric Jameson

“The book posits a fundamental opposition in the genre: the future-technological city (Utopia) versus the pastoral Arcadia: each believing the other one to be the true dystopia. Add to this our ecological crisis, and you have the situation all these SF essays confront in so topical and stimulating a way. This seems to me a truly timely and contemporary, innovative collection, breaking new ground for literature and perhaps for reality as well.”

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