A broad examination of climate fantasy and science fiction, from The Lord of the Rings and the Narnia series to The Handmaid’s Tale and Game of Thrones. Fellow Inklings J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis may have belonged to different branches of Christianity, but they both made use of a faith-based environmentalist ethic to counter the mid-twentieth-century’s triple threats of fascism, utilitarianism, and industrial capitalism. In Fire and Snow, Marc DiPaolo explores how the apocalyptic fantasy tropes and Christian environmental ethics of the Middle-earth and Narnia sagas have been adapted by a variety of recent writers and filmmakers of “climate fiction,” a growing literary and cinematic genre that grapples with the real-world concerns of climate change, endless wars, and fascism, as well as the role religion plays in easing or escalating these apocalyptic-level crises. Among the many other well-known climate fiction narratives examined in these pages are Game of Thrones, The Hunger Games, The Handmaid’s Tale, Mad Max, and Doctor Who. Although the authors of these works stake out ideological territory that differs from Tolkien’s and Lewis’s, DiPaolo argues that they nevertheless mirror their predecessors’ ecological concerns. The Christians, Jews, atheists, and agnostics who penned these works agree that we all need to put aside our cultural differences and transcend our personal, socioeconomic circumstances to work together to save the environment. Taken together, these works of climate fiction model various ways in which a deep ecological solidarity might be achieved across a broad ideological and cultural spectrum.
“This book is remarkably diverse in its literary, cinematic, journalistic, and graphics-media sources, and the writing is equally authoritative in all these domains. DiPaolo’s prose moves deftly from a work of fiction to its film avatar, to the political and societal realities they address, and back again into other cultural manifestations and then into and out of the deep theory of climate fiction, literary scholarship, ecofeminism, religious tradition, and authorial biographies. It contributes considerably to all of these fields, and is indispensable for climate and environmental literature classes. It’s also a must-have for general readers of the genre.” — Jonathan Evans, coauthor of Ents, Elves, and Eriador: The Environmental Vision of J. R .R. Tolkien
“I like it. No, I love it. This book is both broad and deep, and yet it remains both very readable and constantly interesting. It’s the sort of book that can only be written by someone who is a good reader of both books and culture. As I was reading it I thought, this is like being at a party and meeting someone brilliant and fun, and finding that I’m enjoying that person’s company so much that I don’t notice the time flying by. It’s not often that a scholarly book does that to me.” — David O’Hara, Augustana University
About the author
Marc DiPaolo is Assistant Professor of English at Southwestern Oklahoma State University and the author of War, Politics and Superheroes: Ethics and Propaganda in Comics and Film.
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