This book examines how contemporary women novelists have successfully transformed and rewritten the conventions of post-apocalyptic fiction. Since the dawn of the new millennium, there has been an outpouring of writing that depicts the end of the world as we know it, and women writers are no exception to this trend. However, the book argues that their fiction is distinctive. Contemporary women’s work in this genre avoids conservatism, a nostalgic mourning for the past, and the focus on restoring what has been lost, aspects key to much male authored apocalyptic fiction. Instead, contemporary women writers show readers the ways in which patriarchy and neo-colonialism are intrinsically implicated in the disasters they envision, and offer qualified hope for a new beginning for society, culture and literature after an imagined apocalyptic event. Exploring science, nature and matter, the posthuman body, the maternal imaginary, time, narrative and history, literature and the word, and the post-secular, the book covers a wide variety of writers and addresses issues of nationality, race and ethnicity, as well as gender and sexuality.
Visions of the American city in post-apocalyptic ruin permeate literary and popular fiction, across print, visual, audio and digital media. American Cities in Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction explores the prevalence of these representations in American culture, drawing from a wide range of primary and critical works from the early-twentieth century to today. Beginning with science fiction in literary magazines, before taking in radio dramas, film, video games and expansive transmedia franchises, Robert Yeates argues that post-apocalyptic representations of the American city are uniquely suited for explorations of contemporary urban issues. Examining how the post-apocalyptic American city has been repeatedly adapted and repurposed to new and developing media over the last century, this book reveals that the content and form of such texts work together to create vivid and immersive fictional spaces in ways that would otherwise not be possible. Chapters present media-specific analyses of these texts, situating them within their historical contexts and the broader history of representations of urban ruins in American fiction. Original in its scope and cross-media approach, American Cities in Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction both illuminates little-studied texts and provides provocative new readings of familiar works such as Blade Runner and The Walking Dead, placing them within the larger historical context of imaginings of the American city in ruins.
Margaret Atwood is one of the most significant writers working today. Her writing spans seven decades, is phenomenally diverse and ambitious, and has amassed an enormous body of literary criticism. In this invaluable guide, Fiona Tolan provides a clear and comprehensive overview of evolving critical approaches to Atwood's work. Addressing all of the author's key texts, the book deftly guides the reader through the most characteristic, influential, and insightful critical readings of the last fifty years. It highlights recurring themes in Atwood's work, such as gender, feminism, power and violence, fairy tale and the gothic, environmental destruction, and dystopian futures. This is an indispensable companion for anyone interested in reading and writing about Margaret Atwood.
Focusing on the contemporary period, this book brings together critical age studies and contemporary science fiction to establish the centrality of age and ageing in dystopian, speculative and science-fiction imaginaries. Analysing texts from Europe, North America and South Asia, as well as television programmes and films, the contributions range from essays which establish genre-based trends in the representation of age and ageing, to very focused studies of particular texts and concerns. As a whole, the volume probes the relationship between speculative/science fiction and our understanding of what it is to be a human in time: the time of our own lives and the times of both the past and the future.
Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, major Anglophone authors have flocked to a literary form once considered lowbrow 'genre fiction': the post-apocalyptic novel. Calling on her broad knowledge of the history of apocalyptic literature, Hicks examines the most influential post-apocalyptic novels written since the beginning of the new millennium, including works by Margaret Atwood, David Mitchell, Cormac McCarthy, Jeanette Winterson, Colson Whitehead, and Paolo Bacigalupi. Situating her careful readings in relationship to the scholarship of a wide range of historians, theorists, and literary critics, she argues that these texts use the post-apocalyptic form to reevaluate modernity in the context of the new century's political, economic, and ecological challenges. In the immediate wake of disaster, the characters in these novels desperately scavenge the scraps of the modern world. But what happens to modernity beyond these first moments of salvage? In a period when postmodernism no longer defines cultural production, Hicks convincingly demonstrates that these writers employ conventions of post-apocalyptic genre fiction to reengage with key features of modernity, from historical thinking and the institution of nationhood to rationality and the practices of literacy itself.
This book explores the post-apocalyptic novel in American literature from the 1940s to the present as reflections of a growing anxiety about the decline of US hegemony. Post-apocalyptic novels imagine human responses to the aftermath of catastrophe. The shape of the future they imagine is defined by "the remainder," when what is left behind expresses itself in storytelling tropes. Since 1945 the portentous fate of the United States has shifted from the irradiated future of nuclear holocaust to the saltwater wash of global warming. Theorist Brent Ryan Bellamy illuminates the political unconscious of post-apocalyptic writing, drawing on a range of disciplinary fields, including science fiction studies, American studies, energy humanities research, and critical race theory. From George R. Stewart's Earth Abides to N.K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season, Remainders of the American Century describes the tension between a reactionary impulse and the progressive impetus for a new world.
Exploring postapocalypticism in the Black literary and cultural tradition, this book extends the scholarly conversation on Afro-futurist canon formation through an examination of futuristic imaginaries in representative twentieth and twenty-first century works of literature and expressive culture by Black women in an African diasporic setting. The author demonstrates the implications of Afro-futurist literary criticism for Black Atlantic literary and critical theory, investigating issues of hybridity, transcending boundaries, temporality and historical recuperation. Covering writers including Octavia Butler, Edwidge Danticat, Nalo Hopkinson, Toni Morrison, Jesmyn Ward and Beyoncé, this book examines the ways Black women artists attempt to recover a raced and gendered heritage, and how they explore an evolving social order that is both connected to and distinct from the past.
This collection of essays offers global perspectives on feminist utopia and dystopia in speculative literature, film, and art, working from a range of intersectional approaches to examine key works and genres in both their specific cultural context and a wider, global, epistemological, critical background. The international, diverse contributions, including a Foreword by Gregory Claeys, draw upon posthumanism, speculative realism, speculative feminism, object-oriented ontology, new materialisms, and post-Anthropocene studies to propose alternative perspectives on gender, environment, as well as alternate futures and pasts rendered in fiction. Instead of binary divisions into utopia vs dystopia, the collection explores genres transcending this dichotomy, scrutinising the oeuvre of both established and emerging writers, directors, and critics. This is a rich and unique collection suitable for scholars and students studying feminist literature, media cultural studies, and women’s and gender studies.
This book investigates how contemporary post-apocalyptic novels place maternal characters at the forefront of rebuilding and reconceiving a devastated world. By overturning patriarchal assumptions about the post-catastrophe world and women's place in it, the writers of the maternal post-apocalypse offer a (re)vision of speculative literature.
Fast Cars and Bad Girls: Nomadic Subjects and Women's Road Stories explores the road narratives of women and the various ways their work re-maps American space. Moving from Mary Rowlandson's famous captivity narrative to the frontier texts of the American West to the postapocalyptic novels of postmodern experience, Fast Cars and Bad Girls interrogates the intersections of nomadic theory and contemporary feminism. What would happen, the text queries the reader, if Jack Kerouac had gone on the road with a baby in the back seat? Women's road texts are different, insists author Deborah Paes de Barros; notions such as resistance to the West, the revision of the natural world, mother-daughter relationships, avant-garde angst, and feminist utopias construct this discussion of women travel writers.
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Breaks new ground by analyzing four recent rewritings of the Noah myth not just as ideological statements but as literary artifacts and by contextualizing them within the wider crises of the Anthropocene.