Changing the Climate: Utopia, Dystopia and Catastrophe

Andrew John Milner, Simon William Stanley Sellars, Verity Nancy Burgmann

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Abstract

Since Thomas More famously coined the word utopia in 1516, images of the ideal utopian society have reflected the tension at the heart of an emerging modernity: the domination of nature on one hand and the desire for reconciliation on the other. In the twenty-first century, the question of nature and the ideal society has returned, but in a different form, this time as the politics of climate change. Now, utopia and dystopia are being played out against the possibility of planetary catastrophe and in the terms of an emerging politics for radical social change. In this fraught context, utopia expresses an expectation of the potential of human beings to act responsibly and imaginatively in relation to circumstances they create. Paradoxically, the dystopian imagination may help to elucidate the problems that haunt our sense of an unpredictable future. This volume, the third and final in Arena s Utopia and Dystopia series, explores nature and environment, power and society, narrative and image in meditations on ecology, ecocriticism, science and speculative fiction, film and contemporary art. It especially focuses on the radical potential of the science fiction imaginary as a kind of politicized dreaming about the future. In this light Kim Stanley Robinson offers a chapter in reflection on his own science fiction novels, while several authors also analyse his work.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNorth Carlton VIC Australia
PublisherArena Publications
Number of pages274
ISBN (Print)9780980415827
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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