“The Four Horsemen of the Greenhouse Apocalypse”: Apocalypse in the Science Fiction Novels of George Turner
This paper surveys some of the developments in apocalyptic writing in recent decades, and then examine the use of apocalypse in George Turner's science fiction novels. Global events such as World War Two, terrorism, the Cold War, and increasing environmental problems have contributed to a growth in apocalyptic fictions. While novels warning about the dangers of nuclear war were prolific in post-WWII speculative literature, other issues such as technological and ecological disaster have since become dominant threats. Apocalypse literally means revelation, but the popular imagination more frequently associates it with widespread destruction. The form therefore offers a useful approach for writers keen to protest against political systems, harmful environmental policies, and reckless technological and scientific experimentation. Apocalypse allows authors to extrapolate from current events and imagine a terrible future should certain actions be taken. In Turner's novels, seemingly utopic societies have arisen after future catastrophes have devastated the world. Yet in reality these new societies are brutal and totalitarian regimes. Turner utilises apocalyptic themes and imagery to interrogate scientific, social and environmental policies and warn about looming environmental catastrophes if society does not address current problems of complacency and short-sighted governing.
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