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The Land that Time Forgot: Fictions of Antarctic Temporality


Leane, E, The Land that Time Forgot: Fictions of Antarctic Temporality, Futurescapes: Space in Utopian and Science Fiction Discourses, Rodopi, Ralph Pordzik (ed), Amsterdam, pp. 199-223. ISBN 978-90-420-2602-5 (2009) [Research Book Chapter]

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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 – novels in which different periods in history are juxtaposed – and ‘cryonic’ fiction, in which ice acts as a form of time machine, allowing a living being effectively to fast-forward into the future. With the advent of global warming, the Antarctic ice has taken on increased temporal significance: its 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. Focussing 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 Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:allochronic fiction, Antarctica, chronotope, cryonic fiction, futurescape, ‘lost world’ romance, temporality
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Literary studies
Research Field:Literary studies not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Communication
Objective Field:Literature
UTAS Author:Leane, E (Professor Elizabeth Leane)
ID Code:59067
Year Published:2009
Deposited By:English, Journalism and European Languages
Deposited On:2009-11-17
Last Modified:2012-12-11
Downloads:3 View Download Statistics

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