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Science Fiction and Climate ChangeA Sociological Approach$
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Andrew Milner and J.R. Burgmann

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789621723

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789621723.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

Climate Fiction and the World Literary System

Climate Fiction and the World Literary System

(p.51) Chapter 3 Climate Fiction and the World Literary System
Science Fiction and Climate Change

Andrew Milner

J.R. Burgmann


The chapter opens with a discussion of two early instances of global warming cli-fi, Arthur Herzog’s Heat and George Turner’s The Sea and Summer, and argues that both are more or less oblivious to the wider world beyond their respective national frontiers. It proceeds to elaborate an account of the place of SF in the world literary system, understood in Wallerstein and Moretti’s terms as comprising a core, semi-periphery and periphery. This model is then applied more specifically to cli-fi, distinguishing between structural and conjunctural determinants of the evolution of the sub-genre. The main structural determinant, it argues, will be the world SF system. But this may be either countered or reinforced by one or more of three main conjunctural factors: the degree of perceived vulnerability to extreme climate change of any particular national political economy; the salience of Green politics within any particular national polity; and the salience of climate change within broader environmentalist discussions in any particular national culture. The chapter concludes with critical accounts of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Science in the Capital trilogy, Frank Schätzing’s Der Schwarm, Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy and Antti Tuomainen’s Parantaja.

Keywords:   Cli-fi, World-Systems, Robinson, Schätzing, Atwood, Tuomainen

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