21st century writing | 21st century approaches

Current Issue

Contemporary Speculative Fiction

Posted by on Mar 15, 2017

What do we mean by this odd subject, Speculative Fiction? If we’re dealing with extrapolative fictions, expressly concerned with imagining alternate futures, presents and pasts, when does now begin and end?... 

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Current Issue

The Altermundos of Latin@futurism

Posted by on Mar 15, 2017

Latin@futurism has yet to register within the hegemonic popular imagination—one historically drenched in whiteness and heteropatriarchy. At best, it is recognized as a quaint...

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Current Issue

Jordan Krall’s Speculative Fiction

Posted by on Mar 15, 2017

Speculative fiction is a paradox. Synonymous with science fiction and “genre literature,” it is also one of the most ancient modes of storytelling in literary history. One could easily identify Plato’s Atlantis...

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Current Issue

Martin MacInnes and Celtic SF

Posted by on Mar 15, 2017

Martin MacInnes’ debut novel Infinite Ground (2016) is structured around a disarmingly simple premise. At the height of a heatwave in a South American country, a 29-year-old man named Carlos is having...

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Recent Posts

Literary Annotation, from Poe to Twitter

Literary Annotation, from Poe to Twitter

Oct 30, 2016

On the sixth of September 2012 Bret Easton Ellis tweeted: “Reading D. T. Max’s bio I continue to find David Foster Wallace the most tedious, overrated, tortured, pretentious writer of my generation…”. This article will be less interested in the judiciousness of Ellis’s findings—that debate seems unlikely to resolve itself any time soon—than in the form they take. “Reading D. T. Max’s bio:” the present tense suggests a pause for reflection, a moment...

Nuclear Narratives: Editor’s Introduction

Nuclear Narratives: Editor’s Introduction

Jul 29, 2016

Written from within the last “hot” period of the Cold War’s near half century span, Martin Amis’s 1987 essay “Thinkability” articulates how nuclear weapons embedded themselves within our personal and cultural imagination: "Everyone is interested in nuclear weapons, even those people who affirm and actually believe that they never give the question a moment’s thought. We are all interested parties...

The Futures of Nuclear Criticism

The Futures of Nuclear Criticism

Jul 29, 2016

The unthinkable happened at 4.20pm on 28 October, 1988. Though lasting only thirty-six minutes – betrayal by European NATO allies prevented escalation into the global holocaust many had feared – nuclear attack transformed the United States. As Whitley Strieber and James Kunetka record in an extraordinary travel narrative about a perilous journey around the country five years...

Documentary Film and Our Restless Nuclear Present

Documentary Film and Our Restless Nuclear Present

Jul 29, 2016

Our nuclear present is restless, yet we rarely conceptualise nuclear reality in this way. It can only ever be restless, as nuclear technologies shape our world, their relentless and dangerous forms remaining largely permanent and unseen, deliberately kept from our gaze. The “nuclear fuel cycle” is a hyper-long-term phenomenon and, at any split second, globally, there are hundreds of thousands...

Haunting Clouds

Haunting Clouds

Jul 29, 2016

Clouds form part of a shared and familiar everyday aesthetic. Cloud narrative through which patterns are seen incorporate more than simple pareidolia when we consider the nuclear cloud. Ordinarily, pareidolia refers to witnessing illusion; thus, we might see images and symbols in clouds. However, the nuclear cloud engages a more nuanced narrative of cultural trauma than the term pareidolia encompasses.

Representations of National Identity in Cold War UK and US Civil Defence Films

Representations of National Identity in Cold War UK and US Civil Defence Films

Jul 29, 2016

Propaganda is a central weapon in the arsenal of modern conflict and Cold Wars especially are fought with images and words. The forty-year tension between East and West after the Second World War was responsible for the creation and distribution of national propaganda on a previously unprecedented scale as US and Soviet nuclear stockpiles increased exponentially and leaders shied away...

What Game Worlds Can Teach Us About Literary Worlds

What Game Worlds Can Teach Us About Literary Worlds

May 31, 2016

From the space of books to space in books While the debate rumbles on between those who contend that games tell stories in ways unique to the medium (ludologists), and those who argue that games resemble literary narratives (narratologists), literary scholars have sought to ask reciprocally what games can tell us about conventional modes of storytelling in print.

The Contemporary Historical Novel & the Novel of Contemporary History

The Contemporary Historical Novel & the Novel of Contemporary History

May 31, 2016

What is historical fiction? “Everyone knows what a historical novel is,” Avrom Fleishman states, “perhaps that is why few have volunteered to define it in print” (Fleishman 3). However, literary prizes – those institutions of canon-making – have little, if any, qualms when it comes to advancing their own sense of what constitutes historical fiction in the 21st century.