Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Postcard From the Future: Technology, Desire, and Myth in Contemporary Science Fiction
by Strasen, Christian T., M.A., Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, 2015, 155; 10013970
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis argues that modern, post-apocalyptic science fiction functions as a projected analysis of the author’s contemporary world. This insight is used to chart the historical trajectory of the spread of automaticity, the reduction of objects, and the loss of historical memory. The Introduction introduces readers to both the literary and critical histories of science fiction, contextualizing the worlds that George R. Stewart, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Margaret Atwood write in. Chapter One analyzes George R. Stewart’s 1949 novel Earth Abides, using it to demonstrate how the growing trend of automaticity leads toward a reduction of physical objects, and a misunderstanding of politics. Chapter Two uses Ursula K. Le Guin’s 1973 novel The Lathe of Heaven to reveal an acceleration of automaticity and reduction of objects though the manipulation of human desire. This, in turn, leads to a loss of historical memory via Herbert Marcuse’s concept of repressive desublimation. Chapter Three charts the effects that the advent of the virtual has had on automaticity and the manipulation of human desire through an engagement with Margaret Atwood’s 2003 novel Oryx and Crake.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Skoblow, Jeffery
Commitee: Berger, Charles, Ruckh, Eric W.
School: Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
Department: English Language & Literature
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: MAI 55/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: British and Irish literature
Keywords: Earth abides, Martin heidegger, Sci fi, Science, Science fiction, Technology
Publication Number: 10013970
ISBN: 978-1-339-48255-2
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