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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: 25 July 2021

The Classical Dystopia in Climate Fiction

The Classical Dystopia in Climate Fiction

(p.75) Chapter 4 The Classical Dystopia in Climate Fiction
Science Fiction and Climate Change

Andrew Milner

J.R. Burgmann


The chapter opens with a discussion of the distinction between ‘classical’ and ‘critical’ dystopias, as developed by Tom Moylan, Raffaella Baccolini and Lyman Tower Sargent. It then proceeds to an account of classical cli-fi dystopias that exhibit, by turn, each of five ideal-typical responses to climate change: denial, mitigation, negative adaptation, positive adaptation, and Gaian deep ecological anti-humanism. The texts analysed include Liu Cixin’s 地球往事‎/ Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy, Arthur Herzog’s Heat, Michel Houellebecq’s La Possibilité d’une île, Will Self’s The Book of Dave, Bernard Besson’s Groenland, Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Water Knife, Maggie Gee’s The Ice People and Jean-Marc Ligny’s Exodes and Semences. The Chapter concludes by explaining that the sixth substantive responsive to climate change, fatalism, presents peculiar problems for the kinds of fiction overwhelmingly intended as warning and postponing its discussion until a later chapter.

Keywords:   Dystopia, Moylan, Liu, Herzog, Self, Bacigalupi, Gee, Ligny

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