<b>Terraforming and the City</b> // Terraformación y la ciudad

  • Chris Pak University of Lancaster (till end 31st Jan 2016)
Keywords: Urbanism, town planning, science fiction, ecology, terraforming, geoengineering // Urbanismo, planificación urbana, ciencia ficción, ecología, terraformación, geoingeniería


      Science fictional depictions of cities have explored a variety of utopian and dystopian modes of habitation and control that have fed into popular imagination regarding the shape of future societies. The intersection between terraforming, the adaptation of planetary landscapes, and the interfaces for these interventions into multiple environments (the city) have accrued new resonances in the contemporary context of climate change. This paper surveys the image of the city in narratives of terraforming from H.G. Wells’s The Shape of Things to Come (1933), through the American pulp sf of the 1950s, the ecological sf of the 1970s-1980s and the terraforming stories of the 1990s, and up to Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars (1992-1996). Exploring how the image of the city appears in these narratives, this paper raises questions about how these interfaces with nature explore possible modes of habitation. What does this mean for a burgeoning sense of place that has begun to consider how such imagined habitations become spaces that are embedded in nature and thus reflect new conceptions of the human?



      La representación de la ciudad en la ciencia ficción ha sido utilizada para explorar una variedad de modos de morada y control utópicos y distópicos que han alimentado la imaginación popular con respecto al aspecto de las sociedades futuras. La intersección entre la terraformación, la adaptación de paisajes planetarios, y las interfaces para estas intervenciones en múltiples ambientes (la ciudad), han acumulado nuevas resonancias en el contexto contemporáneo del cambio climático. Este artículo considera la relación entre la naturaleza no-humana y la ciudad en narrativas de terraformación desde The Shape of Things to Come (1933) de H.G. Wells a través de los pulps de ciencia ficción americanos de los años 50, Genesis (1988) de Frederick Turner, y las novelas Red Mars, Green Mars y Blue Mars (1992-1996) de Kim Stanley Robinson. Mediante la exploración de cómo la ciudad se asocia con la naturaleza no-humana en forma del animal, de bacterias y plantas en estas narrativas, este artículo sugiere preguntas sobre cómo estas interfaces con la naturaleza exploran posibles modos de morada. ¿Qué significa esto para un creciente sentido de lugar que ha comenzado a considerar cómo estas moradas imaginadas se convierten en espacios que se incrustan en la naturaleza y, por lo tanto, reflejan nuevas concepciones de lo humano?


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Author Biography

Chris Pak, University of Lancaster (till end 31st Jan 2016)

Chris Pak is an independent researcher with research interests in Speculative Fiction and the Environmental Humanities, the Medical Humanities, and the Digital Humanities. His last book was published in June 2016 by Liverpool University Press, entitled Terraforming: Ecopolitical Transformations and Environmentalism in Science Fiction, it explores the relationship between planetary modification, ecology and society. He has recently completed a term as Research Associate on the Leverhulme-funded project "'People,' 'Products,' 'Pests,' and 'Pets': The Discursive Representation of Animals at The University of Lancaster. He is the editor of the Science Fiction Research Association's SFRA review (sfra.org). A list of publications and links to online articles can be found on his website (chrispak.wix.com/chrispak).He is an independent researcher with research interests in Speculative Fiction and the Environmental Humanities, the Medical Humanities, and the Digital Humanities.

Articles: Urban Ecologies