The Future is Collapsing: Feminist Narratives of Unmaking in Laura Pugno and Veronica Raimo




Collapse, Ecofeminist Fiction, Laura Pugno, Veronica Raimo, Queer Theory


While long ignored in the Italian panorama, in recent years science fiction and speculative fiction have seen a significant increase in the number of novels and critical analyses related to the two genres. Women writers are reclaiming a central spot in the fields in general, as exemplified by collapse and extinction narratives in particular. Laura Pugno’s Sirene (Mermaids, 2007) constitutes a significant example of such fiction. The work depicts a dystopic future, in which humans are facing extinction due to a dangerous cancer caused by pollution. While mermaids are immune to the disease, they are imprisoned by humans either for mermaid meat production or for sexual purposes. Veronica Raimo’s Miden (2018) has points in common with Pugno’s novel, even if from a (seemingly) utopian perspective. Miden is an ideal society that has flourished according to gender equality, happiness, and community principles. However, not too long after having moved there due to the economic (and moral) “Collapse” of their country, the main character and his partner are investigated by Miden’s society as the protagonist is accused of sexual violence. Both novels have been described by Marco Malvestio as eco-dystopias. Stemming from his definition, the paper investigates how both Sirene and Miden apply the concept of collapse as a key methodology in constructing their narratives. In this way, Pugno and Raimo collapse the human and nonhuman and the dystopia and utopia binaries. The paper argues that the authors follow a queer practice of unmaking theorised by Jack Halberstam, who stated that the only way forward is to unbuild, unmake, and collapse (2021).


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Author Biography

Alice Parrinello, University of Oxford

Alice Parrinello (she/her) is a final-year PhD student at St Cross College, University of Oxford. Her doctoral project investigates the films and plays by Sicilian director Emma Dante through the lens of queer theory. Her research engages with questions of homonationalism, kinship, spectrality, and human and nonhuman bonds in Dante’s works. She is currently one of the co-convenors of the Queer Intersections Oxford Network. Her key interests are queer theory, ecofeminism, and gender studies.






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