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Strategies of Cognitive Estrangement in Kim Stanley Robinson’s New York 2140

Authors
  • Klata, Michał
Type
Published Article
Journal
Prague Journal of English Studies
Publisher
Walter de Gruyter GmbH
Publication Date
Jul 01, 2021
Volume
10
Issue
1
Pages
109–121
Identifiers
DOI: 10.2478/pjes-2021-0007
Source
De Gruyter
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

This paper seeks to analyse the strategies of cognitive estrangement employed by the science fiction writer and literary scholar Kim Stanley Robinson in his New York 2140 (2017). I argue that the novel was written as a call to action to mitigate the effects of climate change, and rather than being merely a description of a particular vision of the future, provides a comment on the current ecological crisis, mechanisms of history, and human agency. Robinson’s unusual position at the intersection of the field of literary production and literature studies allowed him to apply the ideas developed for the analysis of the genre of science fiction in his creative work. The three main thematic areas in the novel are ecology, politics, and history. In each of these, allusions to the present, the past, and literary tradition, characterisation, and narrative structure are used as a means to convey the author’s message and sensitise the reader to issues connected with ecology and social justice, painting a realistic, yet hopeful vision where human civilisation carries on despite the consequences of global warming.

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