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11 - Ice-Sheet Collapse and the Consensus Apocalypse in the Science Fiction of Kim Stanley Robinson

from Science Fiction and Future Fantasies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 March 2022

Adeline Johns-Putra
Affiliation:
Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China
Kelly Sultzbach
Affiliation:
University of Wisconsin, La Crosse
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Summary

The breakdown of what Donald Wollheim once called the ‘consensus future’ of science fiction – a spacefaring human civilisation migrating to the moon, Mars, the outer solar system, and beyond – has coincided with increasingly dire warnings about the true consequences of technological modernity on the planet. Where the future once seemed to be a site of unlimited possibility, it now appears to be a site of ever-worsening catastrophe and collapse. This chapter considers what might be called the ‘consensus apocalypse’, but also looks beyond it to consider techno-utopian and ecotopian visions of a non-disastrous future for humanity, with a thematic focus on figurations of sea-level rise due to ice-sheet collapse, especially in the work of Kim Stanley Robinson.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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