Andrew Milner, Emeritus Professor of English and Comparative Literature in the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics, will be Guest of Honour at the 2016 international conference of the Science Fiction Research Association, to be held at the University of Liverpool in the UK on 27-30 June.
He will give a plenary address on the topic of “Science Fiction and Climate Change”.
Professor Milner argues that global warming is a ‘hybrid’ natural-social-discursive phenomenon and that science fiction (SF) occupies an increasingly critical location within this nature/culture nexus.
The lecture will take as its subject matter what some commentators have dubbed ‘cli-fi’. It will argue against the view that such ‘catastrophic’ SF is best understood as a variant of the kind of ‘apocalyptic’ fiction inspired by the Christian Apokalypsis, on the grounds that this tends to downplay the historical novelty of SF as a genre defined primarily in relation to modern science and technology. It will describe how a genre thus defined finds itself increasingly obliged to produce fictional responses to problems actually thrown up by contemporary scientific research. And it will examine and explain the narrative strategies pursued in print and audio-visual SF texts dealing with anthropogenic climate change.
Professor Milner’s most recent book, Locating Science Fiction (Liverpool University Press, 2012), has been highly praised in the relevant specialist journals. John Clute, co-editor of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, described it in Strange Horizons as ‘the finest assessment of SF theory yet published’; Cultural Sociology described it as ‘an ambitious book’ by ‘an accomplished theorist’ that ‘will inspire further developments in SF studies’; Extrapolation as ‘a welcome re-evaluation of the selective tradition of sf … that promises to revitalize contemporary debates about the genre’; Comparative Literature Studies as ‘an exhaustive genre analysis that seeks to (re)define the parameters for its study … scholarship of a very high order indeed’.
Professor Milner’s next book, Again, Dangerous Visions: Essays in Cultural Materialism is currently in press with E.J. Brill.
Find out more: