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New Book: Green Planets: Ecology and Science Fiction

2014 October 15
by Shared by Steve Rust

Thanks to Andrew Hageman for drawing my attention to this book in a recent review for the journal ISLE. Click here to read Andy’s review of the book. Although most of the book focuses on literature, some of the essays reference or deal directly with media texts.

Green Planets: Ecology and Science Fiction, Edited by Gerry Canavan and Kim Stanley Robinson. Wesleyan University Press

Description from the publisher’s website:

Essays exploring the relationship between environmental disaster and visions of apocalypse through the lens of science fiction

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.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Endorsements:

“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.”—Fredric Jameson, William A. Lane, Jr., Professor of Comparative Literature, Professor of Romance Studies, Duke University

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.”—Patrick D. Murphy, author of Transversal Ecocritical Praxis

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