CFP for special issue of Green Letters: ‘J. G. Ballard and the Natural World’
‘Is there such a thing as authentic “Nature” these days? Or is it now merely an adjunct to the electronic media, almost a TV gimmick? Is it rapidly turning into a theme park?’ (J.G. Ballard, Time Out Magazine, September 1987).
J. G. Ballard’s fictions famously explore the meeting point between the inner world of the psyche and the outer realm of ‘reality’. Ballard called this convergence ‘inner space’, a dimension which, in a Romantic echo, is half perceived and half created. This creative perception opens up a multitude of possibilities for considering the natural world, and images of nature and environment are central to Ballard’s topographical aesthetic. His plots of his first quartet of novels – The Wind from Nowhere, The Drowned World, The Drought and The Crystal World – revolve around dramatic climatological and ecological change, and as such have been read as early examples of climate fiction. This interdisciplinary special issue of Green Letters seeks to understand the importance of Ballard’s works as we enter into (or continue on in) the age of the Anthropocene. What do Ballard’s vivid depictions of flora and fauna (or their disturbing absence) have to say to a world that is obsessed with images of plant and animal life, but is destroying the same at an unprecedented rate? How do Ballard’s landscapes, transformed by human mismanagement and/or the imagination, speak to concerns about our rapidly changing climate? What hope does the power of the imagination, central to so much of Ballard’s writing, offer in terms of anthropogenesis – and what dangers might it disguise? The issue seeks to contribute to the emergent need to historicize ecocriticism as well as progenitor literatures such as climate fiction. It is also interested in the intersections between science fiction, climate fiction and urban dystopias.
250-word abstracts for 6000 word articles are invited. Themes might include, but are not limited to
Ballard and ecology
Ballard and climate change fiction
The nature of technology
Animals/plant-life/the natural world in Ballard’s fiction
Ecology, the city, urban dystopia
Ballard and the weather
The mind/world dyad
Sight and sound in a changing world
Nature and mediation
Ballard, science fiction and ecocriticism
Green Letters: Studies in Ecocriticism is the journal of ASLE-UKI (the UK-Ireland branch of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment). It is a peer-reviewed journal published by Routledge and supported by Bath Spa University and the University of Worcester. Green Letters explores interdisciplinary interfaces between humans and the natural and built environment.