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Philipp Martin, M.A.

Dystopian Futures in Scandinavian Science Fiction Literature since 1945


Dissertation Abstract

Science Fiction reflects and anticipates global change in fictional worlds. As a "literature of cognitive estrangement", it is distinguished by the introduction of a "novum" which either differs from the reader’s reality, or has not been realized yet, but which is made plausible within the text (Suvin). Science Fiction does not aim at making precise predictions of the future, but rather aims at extrapolating possible futures at the centre of which is technoscientific progress. Since the end of World War II, imagined versions of the future have become increasingly sceptical of the far-reaching innovations in science and technology that correlate with economy, politics, society and philosophy
and which are only conceivable within a worldwide connection. Hence, the project assumes that Science Fiction creates a critical awareness of the substantial anthropogenic impact on Earth in which the nexus between technology, ethics and ecology plays a crucial role. This interrelationship has been gaining importance from the second half of the 20th century onwards.
Using three Scandinavian texts, the project will examine the function of literary representations of the future as narrative experiments within critical discourse on globalization. In the epic poem Aniara. En revy om människan i tid och rum (Aniara. A Review of Man in Time and Space, 1956), Harry Martinson warns about the end of the world as a result of a nuclear holocaust in the context of the escalating Cold War. In the tetralogy Rummet uden tid (The Space without Time, 1983–89), Inge Eriksen imagines an apocalypse and the following post-apocalypse caused by climate catastrophes on our planet. In the long poem Solaris korrigert (Solaris Corrected, 2004) Øyvind Rimbereid challenges humankind’s self-conception in a technomorphic and transhuman future using an invented hybrid
The project poses the following guiding questions: Which possibilities and consequences of technological and scientific developments for humanity and its environment do these literary texts problematize? Which conceptions of globality, the Earth and ecology underlie these fictional worlds? Do these visions of the future serve as self-defeating prophecies or do they offer counter-models for
the man-made world of tomorrow?

Short CV

Since 2018 PhD Candidate at the Research Training Group

2016-2018: Research Assistant at the DFG-funded research project »Balladenwelten. Untersuchungen zur                transmedialen Rezeption der mittelalterlichen Balladen in der skandinavischen Moderne«, LMU Munich

2016: M.A. Scandinavian Studies, LMU Munich

2014-2016: Student Assistant at the Institute for Nordic Philology, LMU Munich

2014: B.A. Scandinavian Studies and Assyriology, LMU Munich