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'Another Generation Cometh'

Apocalyptic Endings and New Beginnings in Science Fictional New London(s)

Pat Wheeler

This article looks at the sub-genre of apocalyptic science fiction and explores the ways that a range of contemporary writers engage with natural, climatic disasters and the damage wrought to the planet in the Anthropocene era. The novels under discussion are Maggie Gee's The Flood and The Ice People, Adam Roberts's The Snow, Stephen Baxter's Flood and Stephen Jones's creative compilation Zombie Apocalypse. The novels are analysed as examples of revelatory eschatological and apocalyptic literature that implicitly borrow from canonical religious writings of the past. The article analyses the apocalyptic narratives as predictors of both the end of the world and the coming of a new age. It focuses primarily on the novels' relationship to apocalyptic discontinuity and to end-of-the-world scenarios that are predicated on the forces of nature.

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Editorial

Representations of Dystopia in Literature and Film

Pat Wheeler

In this issue of Critical Survey scholars from both Britain and North America analyse representations of dystopia in literature and film. In the keynote article, Patrick Parrinder offers an examination of Samuel Butler's Erewhon, contexualising it within the tradition of dystopian romance – which, he argues, saw a last flowering in the late nineteenth century. In a thought-provoking discussion Parrinder covers a range of utopian/dystopian narrative strategies and a selection of novels including The Time Machine, The coming Race and A Crystal Age.

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Introduction

Eco-dystopias – Nature and the Dystopian Imagination

Rowland Hughes and Pat Wheeler

When, at the climax of Franklin J. Schaffner’s 1968 film Planet of the Apes, the astronaut Taylor (Charlton Heston) discovers the torch of the Statue of Liberty poking through the shifting sands of a postapocalyptic world, his horrified, despairing cry – ‘We finally really did it! You maniacs! You blew it up!’ – encapsulated the nuclear anxiety of dystopian fiction and film in the 1950s and 1960s. Thirty-five years later, that iconic image of Liberty’s torch engulfed by natural forces was knowingly echoed in both Steven Spielberg’s AI and Roland Emmerich’s The Day After Tomorrow, but in the first decade of the new millennium, the imagined apocalypse waiting to engulf the human race was not nuclear, but environmental: New York is swallowed by the rising waters of the Atlantic ocean, and frozen solid by the plunging temperatures of a new ice age. As these high-profile cinematic examples indicate, climate change has made its way towards the mainstream in recent years, on both the screen and the page, and has now eclipsed nuclear terror as the prime mover of the apocalyptic and dystopian imagination.

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Pat Wheeler, Sharon Monteith, and Livi Michael

Livi Michael has written four highly acclaimed novels, Under a Thin Moon (London: Minerva, 1993), Their Angel Reach (London: Martin, Secker and Warburg Ltd, 1994), All the Dark Air (London: Martin, Secker and Warburg Ltd, 1996) and Inheritance (London: Penguin, 2000). This interview was conducted prior to the publication of Inheritance. She has been shortlisted for the John Steinbeck and the John Llewellyn Rhys Awards and is a winner of the Royal Society of Literature Arthur Welton Scholarship. Michael has also been awarded by the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and the Society of Authors Award.

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Michael D. Amey, Douglas A. Cunningham, Paul March-Russell, Derek Maus, Patrick Parrinder, Aaron S. Rosenfeld, Ben Wheeler, and Pat Wheeler

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Paul Bentley, James Booth, Mark Forshaw, Judy Hayden, Sharon Monteith, Jill Terry, Pat Wheeler, and Joanna Zylinska

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Jim Clarke, Soraya Copley, Rowland Hughes, Sidneyeve Matrix, Hannah Stark, and Pat Wheeler

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