Imagining the Anthropocene: science fiction cinema in an era of climatic change

Neilson, Toby (2020) Imagining the Anthropocene: science fiction cinema in an era of climatic change. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Due to Embargo and/or Third Party Copyright restrictions, this thesis is not available in this service.


This thesis explores contemporary science fiction cinema through the concept of the Anthropocene. The literature review suggests that science fiction film studies doesn’t engage with ecological concerns as much as it could, that ecocinema studies tends to ignore the genre, and that the broader field of the environmental humanities similarly overlooks the genre’s uses. By bringing science fiction cinema into conversation with emergent Anthropocene debates, it makes useful contributions to science fiction film studies, ecocinematic understanding and the wider environmental humanities field. This thesis is split in two. Part one suggests a trend within a number of science fiction films of the 21st century, which are shown to respond to the ecological concerns of this era marked by rapid environmental change. Chapters two and three in particular are concerned with showcasing how legacy forms of representation in the genre undergo Anthropocene-inflected alterations. These chapters showcase a movement from technological to ecological concern in a selection of contemporary science fiction films. Beyond demarcating this shift towards the ecological that’s being borne out in the genre, this thesis also suggests science fiction cinema as a uniquely placed framework for mediating and experiencing certain aspects of this era. In part two, comprising chapters four and five, this thesis argues for the importance of science fiction films in lending aesthetic and experiential consideration to the dwarfing nonhuman timescales and objects that pervade human experience in the Anthropocene. Through an analysis of the representation of time and planets across a range of films, this thesis argues for the uses and importance of the genre in wider ecocritical discourse and understanding.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Due to copyright issues the electronic version of this thesis will not be made available at the end of the embargo period.
Keywords: science fiction cinema, anthropocene cinema, ecocinema, anthropocene studies, environmental humanities, science fiction anthropocene cinema
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Theatre Film and TV Studies
Supervisor's Name: Martin-Jones, Professor David
Date of Award: 2020
Embargo Date: 16 June 2023
Depositing User: Dr toby neilson
Unique ID: glathesis:2020-81457
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2020 15:58
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2020 15:58

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