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Publications [#339376] of Michael Gaffney

Articles in a Journal

  1. Gaffney, M, The Ice Age and Us: Imagining Geohistory in Kim Stanley Robinson's Shaman, Science Fiction Studies, vol. 45 no. 3 (November, 2018), pp. 469-483, SF-TH [doi]
    (last updated on 2019/05/21)

    © 2018 S F - T H Inc. All rights reserved. This essay examines how Kim Stanley Robinson's Shaman (2014) depicts the deep history of both humans and the Earth. Centered around humans living 32,000 years ago during the last ice age, it contributes to the genre of prehistoric fiction as well as, less obviously, climate fiction. As prehistoric fiction, it foregrounds the continuity of human identity across history, particularly our impulses toward art-making and science, and thereby challenges our sense of separation from the deep past. At the same time, Robinson's novel may also be understood as climate fiction. Typically, climate fiction is associated with contemporary global warming, but this article approaches the genre in terms of its tendency to envision environments historically, a capacity referred to here as the "geohistorical imagination." While Shaman shares this imagination with other climate fictions, it differs remarkably from most ice-age narratives because it describes the slow pace of glaciation and the persistence of daily life, rather than the apocalypse. Drawing out the consequences of this figuration of geohistory, this essay argues in conclusion that Shaman enables us to think historically about global warming and the Anthropocene.

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