Speculative Survival: An Ecofeminist Analysis of Canadian Women's Science Fiction
Bedford, Anna Louise
Donawerth, Jane L
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This dissertation explores the central Canadian theme of survival in recent science fiction by women, taking up the questions of nature, community, and ecological disaster. I argue that while midcentury science fiction coalesced around fears of nuclear fallout, contemporary Canadian women science fiction writers, such as Atwood, Gotlieb, Vonarburg, and Hopkinson, imagine survival amid the specter of environmental apocalypse. My dissertation focuses upon survival not from the perspective of conventional masculine adventurers, but from that of women and non-human nature, oft figured as feminine, who have conventionally been the objects of colonization and experimentation by the scientists and explorers. Within the work of Canadian women science fiction writers I identify maternalist politics, ecofeminist ethics of care, and post-colonial female protagonists. In addition, I argue that these authors posit the possibility of ecofeminist science, derived from Indigenous scientific literacies, and re-embedded in apocalyptic future landscapes. This study extends an analysis of the central Canadian theme of survival to include science fiction. Despite substantial analysis of U.S. and British science fiction, little scholarly attention has been paid to the deployment of the genre by Canadian writers. Such attention is overdue because, as Douglas Iverson asserted in 2002, "the rapid development of Canadian SF over the past few decades is one of the most exciting developments within Canadian literature" (xxvii). I would also argue that Canadian texts, in turn, contribute some of the most exciting developments within the genre of science fiction. The works analyzed in this dissertation span the 1980s to the 2000s, the earliest being Élisabeth Vonarburg's <italic>Le Silence de la Cité</italic> (1981) and the most recent Phyllis Gotlieb's <italic>Birthstones</italic> (2007).