Future tense : an analysis of science fiction as secular apocalyptic literature

 

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dc.contributor.advisor Chidester, David en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Thompson, Mary-Anne Carey en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2015-12-20T15:40:29Z
dc.date.available 2015-12-20T15:40:29Z
dc.date.issued 1985 en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Thompson, M. 1985. Future tense : an analysis of science fiction as secular apocalyptic literature. University of Cape Town. en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11427/15880
dc.description Bibliography: leaves 208-219. en_ZA
dc.description.abstract Religious apocalyptic literature appears to have been written in response to a situation of crisis in which the believers found themselves. It is the catalyst which provided the energy which the society needed in order to withstand that crisis, and it did this by radically inverting the dimensions which make up a worldview, that is the dimensions of time and space, and the classification of groups, so that it reflects the possibility of a new order, a new heaven and a new earth. Since the nineteenth century, the Western world has seen itself in a constant state of crisis in terms of the rapid secularisation, industrialisation and urbanisation, and it would seem that the notion of an apocalypse is still relevant. But religious visions of the apocalypse do not seem to have relevance to the largely secular society they would have been addressing. Something new, immediate and drastic was needed, which would supply the society with the energy to withstand the crisis of a secular world. Science fiction as a literary genre arose in the late nineteenth century, and it would seem as if the new social situation generated a new symbolic vocabulary for ancient apocalyptic themes, in other words, science fiction appeared as an imaginative literary genre of mythic, apocalyptic dimensions to address this situation. In the same way as religious visions of the apocalypse, science fiction inverts the components of a worldview so that a new social order, a new heaven and a new earth are seen as possible. In order to explore this theme, science fiction is examined in the light of radical inversion of accepted worldviews, and the genre is divided into three historical periods in order to understand the conditions under which it was written, as well as the content of the material involved. These periods are: 1. Apocalypses of Expectation and Hope. The late nineteenth century and the early twentieth century; the beginnings of the genre in the crisis of rapid industrialisation, secularisation and urbanisation, using the works of Jules Verne and H G Wells. 2. Apocalypses of Irony and Despair. The nineteen twenties to the end of the Second World War; the crises of the two World Wars on a complacent world, using the works of Aldous Huxley and George Orwell. 3. Apocalypses of Destruction and Redemption. The nineteen fifties to the present; the crisis of nuclear power and thinking machines, using the works of Frank Herbert and Isaac Asimov. Also examined are the quasi-religious nature of science fiction, apocalypse as a cleansing agent of the universe, and the myths of noble survivors of post-apocalyptic literature and films. In the light of the above, it can be understood why science fiction can be seen as the functional equivalent to religious apocalyptic myth, but relevant to the largely secular Western world of the twentieth century. en_ZA
dc.language.iso eng en_ZA
dc.subject.other Theology - Christian Religion en_ZA
dc.subject.other Religious Studies en_ZA
dc.subject.other Apocalyptic literature en_ZA
dc.subject.other Science Fiction en_ZA
dc.title Future tense : an analysis of science fiction as secular apocalyptic literature en_ZA
dc.type Master Thesis
uct.type.publication Research en_ZA
uct.type.resource Thesis en_ZA
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
dc.publisher.faculty Faculty of Humanities en_ZA
dc.publisher.department Department of Religious Studies en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationlevel Masters
dc.type.qualificationname MA en_ZA
uct.type.filetype Text
uct.type.filetype Image
dc.identifier.apacitation Thompson, M. C. (1985). <i>Future tense : an analysis of science fiction as secular apocalyptic literature</i>. (Thesis). University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Humanities ,Department of Religious Studies. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/11427/15880 en_ZA
dc.identifier.chicagocitation Thompson, Mary-Anne Carey. <i>"Future tense : an analysis of science fiction as secular apocalyptic literature."</i> Thesis., University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Humanities ,Department of Religious Studies, 1985. http://hdl.handle.net/11427/15880 en_ZA
dc.identifier.vancouvercitation Thompson MC. Future tense : an analysis of science fiction as secular apocalyptic literature. [Thesis]. University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Humanities ,Department of Religious Studies, 1985 [cited yyyy month dd]. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/11427/15880 en_ZA
dc.identifier.ris TY - Thesis / Dissertation AU - Thompson, Mary-Anne Carey AB - Religious apocalyptic literature appears to have been written in response to a situation of crisis in which the believers found themselves. It is the catalyst which provided the energy which the society needed in order to withstand that crisis, and it did this by radically inverting the dimensions which make up a worldview, that is the dimensions of time and space, and the classification of groups, so that it reflects the possibility of a new order, a new heaven and a new earth. Since the nineteenth century, the Western world has seen itself in a constant state of crisis in terms of the rapid secularisation, industrialisation and urbanisation, and it would seem that the notion of an apocalypse is still relevant. But religious visions of the apocalypse do not seem to have relevance to the largely secular society they would have been addressing. Something new, immediate and drastic was needed, which would supply the society with the energy to withstand the crisis of a secular world. Science fiction as a literary genre arose in the late nineteenth century, and it would seem as if the new social situation generated a new symbolic vocabulary for ancient apocalyptic themes, in other words, science fiction appeared as an imaginative literary genre of mythic, apocalyptic dimensions to address this situation. In the same way as religious visions of the apocalypse, science fiction inverts the components of a worldview so that a new social order, a new heaven and a new earth are seen as possible. In order to explore this theme, science fiction is examined in the light of radical inversion of accepted worldviews, and the genre is divided into three historical periods in order to understand the conditions under which it was written, as well as the content of the material involved. These periods are: 1. Apocalypses of Expectation and Hope. The late nineteenth century and the early twentieth century; the beginnings of the genre in the crisis of rapid industrialisation, secularisation and urbanisation, using the works of Jules Verne and H G Wells. 2. Apocalypses of Irony and Despair. The nineteen twenties to the end of the Second World War; the crises of the two World Wars on a complacent world, using the works of Aldous Huxley and George Orwell. 3. Apocalypses of Destruction and Redemption. The nineteen fifties to the present; the crisis of nuclear power and thinking machines, using the works of Frank Herbert and Isaac Asimov. Also examined are the quasi-religious nature of science fiction, apocalypse as a cleansing agent of the universe, and the myths of noble survivors of post-apocalyptic literature and films. In the light of the above, it can be understood why science fiction can be seen as the functional equivalent to religious apocalyptic myth, but relevant to the largely secular Western world of the twentieth century. DA - 1985 DB - OpenUCT DP - University of Cape Town LK - https://open.uct.ac.za PB - University of Cape Town PY - 1985 T1 - Future tense : an analysis of science fiction as secular apocalyptic literature TI - Future tense : an analysis of science fiction as secular apocalyptic literature UR - http://hdl.handle.net/11427/15880 ER - en_ZA


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