In order to demonstrate that speculative fiction provides a valuable contribution to the discussion about the challenges of the Anthropocene, Images of the Anthropocene in Speculative Fiction investigates a range of novels whose subject matter pertains to various aspects of the Anthropocene. These include the destruction and protection of the natural environment, the relationship between human and non-human inhabitants of the planet, the role of myth in the shaping of and combat against the Anthropocene, the political dimensions of the Anthropocene, the ensuing threat of the Apocalypse, and the role of post-apocalyptic narratives. To explore these topics our authors examine the works of Patricia Briggs, M.R. Carey, Dmitry Glukhovsky, Ursula K. Le Guin, N.K. Jemisin, Stephenie Meyer, China Miéville, James Patterson, Maggie Stiefvater, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Scott Westfield. Their essays demonstrate that speculative fiction, given its ability to pursue scenarios of alternative history and present familiar things in an unfamiliar way, can alter the readers’ perception of their duties and responsibilities towards their communities and the world, so that the threat of human-wrought destruction might ultimately be averted.
Sylwia Borowska-Szerszun is assistant professor in philology at the University of Białystok.
Tereza Dedinová is assistant professor in philology at Masaryk University.
Weronika Łaszkiewiczis assistant professor in philology at the University of Białystok.
Focusing on a broad variety of texts under the umbrella term of speculative fiction, the collection of essays offers a stimulating insight into the complexity of the Anthropocene epoch. Subtle analyses of texts that range from Thoreau’s Walden to Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series illuminate the productivity of ecocriticism in literary and cultural studies. The essays do not feed on partial themes and motives to claim cheap threats of climatic Apocalypse to come. Instead of mere warnings of the gloomy future, the book offers complexity, sophistication, and inspiration.
Edited volumes about Anthropocenic narratives are a dime a dozen these days, but Images of the Anthropocene in Speculative Fiction: Narrating the Future does stand out! There are some usual suspects here: Ursula Le Guin, N. K. Jemisin, and China Miéville preside centrally and most deservedly. And yet, the volume also packs a lot for those looking for not-so-recognizable but no less exciting names and titles. Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle, M.R. Carey’s The Girl with all the Gifts, James Patterson’s Maximum Ride books, and Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega series are all discussed here and the articles will make you want to read them!
Anthropocene in Speculative Fiction: Narrating the Future examines fictions that represent the “Anthropocene” – the geological age of extreme human impact on the planets. The volume’s introduction and twelve chapters analyze narratives that engage the anthropocene’s most crucial aspects: its economic, social and political dimensions, the relationship between the planet’s human and non-human inhabitants, and its possible apocalyptic consequences. The editors have successfully united high-quality essays from a variety of critical perspectives without sacrificing focus. The essays are both timely and engaging, offering us new ways to think about humanity, the planet, and the complex relations between them, to reimagine ourselves and the future. This volume will no doubt become a scholarly touchstone on this topic.
Offering academic reflection on the nature, representation and discourses of the Anthropocene, the volume testifies to the pressing need for their examination in the humanities. The authors ground their observations in detailed and penetrating analysis of speculative fiction texts to provide multi-perspective insight into a range of problems related to the Anthropocene. A variety of their approaches is reflected in the structure of the collection, which is organized around its main themes: ecocriticism, artistic representations of civilizational anxieties, (post)apocalyptic visions, and socio-political problems. Preceded by an excellent introduction, the volume is both a knowledgeable and needed contribution to the field.
This exciting volume shows us how speculative fiction can help us understand the geological moment of the anthropocene (otherwise known as the capitalocene or the chthulucene), and further how human-induced climate change shakes up our conception of what we mean by realist and speculative. It shows us how these two terms are not mutually exclusive. Thoughtful on the value of story in understanding how we got here as well as how to understand and perhaps even influence what happens next, this book will be of value to anyone interested in the range of human practices that produced the trouble, and how they interact nonhuman and extra-human forces. An important new book in the field.
This collection is best positioned for students and those interested in understanding speculative fiction’s diverse approaches to thinking through key challenges of the Anthropocene.