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

Michał Klata

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

Číslo: 1/2021
Periodikum: Prague Journal of English Studies
DOI: 10.2478/pjes-2021-0007

Klíčová slova: Climate change, climate fiction, cognitive estrangement, global warming, literature studies, Robinson, science fiction, utopia

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Anotace: 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.