Emma Davies

Autobiography, Quantum Physics, and the Climate Crisis: Imagining Collaborative Futurities in Ruth Ozeki's A Tale for the Time Being

Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being interweaves speculative literary imagination with autobiographical and scientific realism, redefining these categories and their implications in the process. I argue that Ozeki’s methodological entanglement of genres, disciplines, and themes productively addresses climate change as it allows readers to imagine new forms of futurity despite the deterministic doom usually associated with environmental crisis. By looking at the intersection of quantum theory and literary imagination in the novel, we see how its disruption of the autobiographical self privileges acts of transdimensional solidarity between individuals. Consequently, these acts of solidarity allow for the proliferation of virtual storyworlds that embody a literary realism compatible with Hugh Everett’s many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics. Ultimately, the ability to engage with these worlds offers readers the optimism necessary to be collectively inventive and responsible to one another in a time when such qualities are desperately needed.

Emma Davies is a recent graduate of the MA program in English at the University of Toronto. She holds a BA in English and Philosophy from the same institution. Her interests include the contemporary novel, speculative fiction, and climate change fiction.

William Thompson

Climate Change, Decolonization, and Reconciliation in the Dystopian Novels of Monica Hughes

Climate change fiction, or Cli-Fi, has its roots in earlier environmental fiction, particularly the science fiction and dystopian literature of the late twentieth century, particularly in two books by British born, Canadian science fiction author Monica Hughes. Both Ring-Rise Ring-Set (1982) and The Crystal Drop (1992) are set in uniquely Canadian landscapes — the tundra of the North West Territories and the drought-stricken prairie of southern Alberta. The changing landscape motivates both Lisa and Megan to seek out a new home; moreover, their respective encounters with the First Nations peoples who still inhabit the land helps to bring about the new life they seek. I argue that Hughes’ vision of environmental devastation not only anticipates the climate change fiction of the twenty-first century but looks forward to the beginnings of the decolonization of the landscape and reconciliation with First Nations communities.

Dr. William Thompson is an associate professor with MacEwan University in Edmonton. His area of research is children’s and young adult literature and culture, and he has both published and presented on C. S. Lewis, J. K. Rowling, and L. M. Montgomery.

Marina Klimenko

Beyond "The Last Doubler": Reproductive Futurism and the Politics of Care in Larissa Lai's The Tiger Flu

Larissa Lai’s novel The Tiger Flu offers alternative ways of thinking about the relationship between biological reproduction and environmental care through its depiction of the Grist sisterhood, a queer feminist collective of organ-harvesting clones. First, I examine the Grist sisters’ paradoxical interest in both organ harvesting and bodily purity to suggest that bodily purity is a pursuit that the Grist sisterhood must abandon to survive. Then I examine the novel’s treatment of caretaking via the character of Kirilow, a Grist “groom” forced to harvest the organs of her beloved, to highlight the novel’s critique of models of care that deny agency to the caregiver. Finally, I explore how the novel’s final chapter rethinks the discourse of reproductive futurism to imagine a future that revolves around acts of environmental care and memory but does not rest on the reproduction of a heteronormative family nucleus in the service of a neoliberal state.

Marina Klimenko is working on her Master’s degree in English and Creative Writing at the University of Toronto. Her research addresses the intersection of sexual diversity studies and eco-criticism. As part of her creative project she is working on a novel that grapples with the themes of globalization and connection.

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