Recollecting the end: manifestations of radical hope in dystopian climate fiction. A critical analysis & The Last Expedition. A novel

Kirkbride, Jasmin Kate (2023) Recollecting the end: manifestations of radical hope in dystopian climate fiction. A critical analysis & The Last Expedition. A novel. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This creative-critical thesis explores manifestations of radical hope in dystopian climate fiction.

The critical aspect investigates manifestations of Jonathan Lear’s radical hope in dystopian climate fiction, and their contributions to extra-textual paradigm shifts. Questioning critics’ condemnation of dystopia’s dominance in climate fiction, this thesis analyses how dystopia acts as a bridge towards the utopian instinct, forming a necessary reflective and kathartic step on the radically hopeful journey. It pays particular attention to the teleological suspensions of the ethical undertaken by radically hopeful characters, and the nature of radically hopeful revivals in dystopian settings, exploring their implications for climate fiction writing an act of resistance. It draws on sources including philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, activist community the Dark Mountain Project, and psychologist C. R. Snyder, and uses Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Jeanette Winterson’s The Stone Gods, Octavia E. Butler’s Earthseed series, and Jeff VanderMeer’s Borne as case studies. It concludes that by rejecting eco-problematic assessments of value, dystopian climate fiction can be seen as an impactful literary mode that extrudes and processes subconscious emotions around climate change for readers and writers.

This is complemented by the creative aspect, a time-travel climate fiction novel. Recruited by Project Kairos to change the past and mitigate climate catastrophe, Echo and Hazel travel through time to two very different worlds. In Ancient Greece, Echo is swept up by eccentric philosophers and dangerous politicians. In the far future, Hazel is the last human alive, on a dystopian island with only robots for company. Both women suffer amnesia, but when they fall asleep, they cross time and meet in their dreams, discovering that their shared past threatens humanity’s survival. This novel uses the novum of time travel to explore themes including intergenerational climate trauma, the meaning of community during ecological upheaval, and interactions between ethics, resistance, and radical hope.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing
Depositing User: Nicola Veasy
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2024 08:45
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2024 08:45

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