Science Fiction Film & Television

Different Death Stars and devastated Earths

Contemporary sf cinema’s imagination of disaster in the Anthropocene

Science Fiction Film & Television (2019), 12, (2), 241–258.

Abstract

Susan Sontag, within ‘The Imagination of Disaster’, argued that sf films reflect worldwide anxieties (44), specifically those of nuclear threat. This article will investigate how contemporary sf cinema speaks to the twenty-first-century anxieties surrounding the Anthropocene. Through a comparative analysis of the Star Wars saga’s various Death Stars, this paper will demonstrate environmentally informed representational changes in the film series’ contemporary iterations. This will be followed by a theoretically informed analysis of After Earth (Shyamalan 2013), unveiling the means by which sf cinema’s disaster imaginary in the twenty-first century can, and often does, shape itself around the ecocritical intricacies of the Anthropocene epoch. In the hitherto unlikely bringing together of Star Wars and After Earth this paper unveils sf cinema’s relationship with the disaster imaginary of the Anthropocene.

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Details

Author details

Neilson, Toby