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Irish Science Fiction$
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Jack Fennell

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781781381199

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781381199.001.0001

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The Dystopian Decades: From Recession to Tiger and Back Again

The Dystopian Decades: From Recession to Tiger and Back Again

(p.187) 8. The Dystopian Decades: From Recession to Tiger and Back Again
Irish Science Fiction

Jack Fennell


This chapter explores Irish science fiction of the 1980s, 1990s and the early twenty-first century, tracing a trajectory from dystopian narratives to optimism and experimentation, and back to dystopia. The 1980s recession provided the background for dystopian novels reflecting cold war paranoia, nuclear anxiety, violence engendered by transnational capitalism, and a new cynical attitude towards religion and politics. When the economy improved, this cynicism continued in Irish popular literature, though ‘Celtic Tiger’-era sf quickly became imitative of American genres, particularly of outdated cyberpunk - though these imitations were often tinged with mysticism. Science fiction was increasingly utilised to examine emerging issues, such as immigration, globalisation and Ireland’s increasing involvement in the EU, though few texts dared to predict an end to the country’s economic prosperity. When the Celtic Tiger died the mood of Irish sf once again turned dystopian, and this chapter considers how this resurgent dystopian turn manifests itself.

Keywords:   Irish science fiction, Irish popular literature, dystopia, cyberpunk, Celtic Tiger

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