SCIENCE FICTION AND THE ANTHROPOCENE
WITH PROFESSOR JOHN PLOTZ (BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY, USA)
TIME: Thursday, 6 April, 16:00-17:30
LOCATION: G.03, 50 George Square
For centuries, the satiric thrust of science fiction was oriented chiefly against an exaggerated sense of mankind’s importance (do you think the world revolves around you?). But the nature of that satire necessarily changed in the Anthropocene, as writers struggled with the fact that humans truly had a world-altering and world-destroying capacity. (That change is revealingly prefigured in the impact that Hiroshima and worldwide atomic destruction had on post-45 SF.) The talk assesses SF’s newfound capacity to satirize humanity’s destructive power, principally by way of N K Jemisin’s The Fifth Season, set in a world where people control and create earthquakes with their minds. It is drawn from a larger project, “Laughter is from Mars,” that traces the long anti-anthropocentric satirical tradition in science fiction.
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