Ecology and Science Fiction. Managing Imagination in the Age of the Anthropocene

Grażyna Gajewska


When formulating proecological strategies, social imagination is devoted relatively little attention. Contribution of the humanities to the management in the age of the Anthropocene is most often perceived as explaining threats that we and the future human and non-human beings will have to face as a result of irresponsible environmental policies. Hence, the presumed task of the humanities (and social science) consists primarily in analyzing and presenting the causes and the processes which culminated in the climate crisis and the decline of biodiversity. However, such an approach does not allow this knowledge to be actively engaged in constructing alternative, proecological attitudes. Consequently, I argue in this paper that in order for the state of affairs to change one requires not only new scientific tools (methodology, language), but also new sensitivity and aesthetics.

The author argues that the challenges of the current times, resulting from environmental change, destruction of habitats and ecological disasters, direct our sensibilities and aesthetics ever more tangibly towards the fantastic: horror, science fiction, or fantasy. However, while ecohorror mainly exposes the negative aftermath of the Anthropocene—culminating in the inevitable disaster—science fiction offers leeway for a more speculative approach, enabling one to construct such visions of reality in which multispecies justice will be observed and cultivated. It is therefore suggested that there is much need for a science fiction aesthetic and narration that would be capable of guiding us out of the anthropocentric entanglement and the Anthropocene into the Chthulucene (as conceived by Haraway).

Słowa kluczowe: science fiction, fantasy, ecohorror, Anthropocene/Capitalocene, social imagination

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