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Postapocalyptic fiction and the social contract : "we'll not go home again"

Author: Claire P Curtis
Publisher: Lanham, Md. : Lexington Books, 2012.
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : 1st pbk. edView all editions and formats
Summary:
Postapocalyptic Fiction and the Social Contract: We'll Not Go Home Again provides a framework for our fascination with the apocalyptic events. The popular appeal of the end of the world genre is clear in movies, novels, and television shows. Even our political debates over global warming, nuclear threats, and pandemic disease reflect a concern about the possibility of such events. This popular fascination is really  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Claire P Curtis
ISBN: 073917648X 9780739176481
OCLC Number: 811206280
Notes: Originally published: ©2010.
Description: ix, 199 pages ; 23 cm
Contents: Introduction : Thinking the end of the world --
Last one out, please turn out the lights : On the beach and The road --
" ... solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short" : Hobbes and Lucifer's Hammer, the classic post-apocalyptic text --
"Industrious and rational" : John Locke and Alas, Babylon : the rational life post-apocalypse --
"Man is born free; and everywhere is in chains" : Rousseau and Malevil : the responsibilities of civil life --
"Maybe effort counted" : John Rawls and thought experiments --
"To take root among the stars" : Octavia Butler's Parable of the sower and rethinking the social contract --
"We can choose" : Octavia Butler's Parable of the talents and the meaning of security.
Responsibility: Claire P. Curtis.

Abstract:

Postapocalyptic Fiction and the Social Contract: We'll Not Go Home Again provides a framework for our fascination with the apocalyptic events. The popular appeal of the end of the world genre is clear in movies, novels, and television shows. Even our political debates over global warming, nuclear threats, and pandemic disease reflect a concern about the possibility of such events. This popular fascination is really a fascination with survival: how can we come out alive? And what would we do next? The end of the world is not about species death, but about beginning again. This book uses postapocalyptic fiction as a terrain for thinking about the state of nature: the hypothetical fiction that is the driving force behind the social contract. The first half of the book examines novels that tell the story of the move from the state of nature to civil society through a Hobbesian, a Lockean, or a Rousseauian lens, including Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank, Malevil by Robert Merle, and Into the Forest by Jean Hegland. The latter half of the book examines Octavia Butler's postapocalyptic Parable series in which a new kind of social contract emerges, one built on the fact of human dependence and vulnerability.

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This thoughtful and engaging study effectively utilizes the resources of political theory and literary criticism to illuminate both post-apocalyptic fiction and social contract theory. In the current Read more...

 
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