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The Land that Time Forgot: Fictions of Antarctic Temporality

Leane, E 2009 , 'The Land that Time Forgot: Fictions of Antarctic Temporality', in R Pordzik (ed.), Futurescapes: Space in Utopian and Science Fiction Discourses , Rodopi, Amsterdam, pp. 199-223.

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Antarctica's unique spatiality - its isolation, its position on the 'bottom' of the world, its seemingly limitless icescape - produces a complex and contradictory temporality. The preserving power of ice, along with the unfamiliar diurnal rhythms of high latitudes, gives the sense that time progresses differently in the southernmost continent. Antarctica thus offers itself as an ideal location for speculative fiction dealing with strange temporal phenomena, including 'allochronic' fiction, in which ice acts as a form of time machine, allowing a living being to fast-forward into the future. With the advent of global warming, the Antarctic ice has taken on increased temporal significance: it layers of ice provide a record of past ages and hence a means of predicting the future, and its collapsing ice shelves ominously point towards catastrophes to come. Antarctica has become a literal futurescape, an idea that dystopian writers (and filmmakers) have seized upon. Focusing primarily on science fiction but also drawing on exploration narratives, this paper explores the way in which time and space are intertwined in textual representations of Antarctica.

Item Type: Book Section
Authors/Creators:Leane, E
Keywords: Antarctica Dystopia Science fiction Allochronic Literary criticism chronotype cryonic fiction futurescape 'lost world' temporality
Publisher: Rodopi
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Copyright 2009 Rodopi

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