What's this Science Fiction Doing in/to/for My Environmentalism? (ASLE 2011, 6/22-6/26)

full name / name of organization: 
The Association for the Study of Literature and Environment / The Science Fiction Research Association
contact email: 

Rachel Carson's "A Fable for Tomorrow," Edward Abbey's Good News, Scott Russell Sanders's Terrarium—these are science fiction works written by writers whom we most often identify as canonical environmentalist figures. Science fiction authors often address important issues of environmental concern in their works, and exploring these works is an important and growing effort in ecocritical literary and film criticism. But why might environmentalist writers be attracted to science fiction to the extent that the genre's narrative devices (extrapolation, cognitive estrangement, etc.) frequently show up in their writing, or to the extent that some have even written genre science fiction?

The goal of this roundtable discussion is to flesh out the implications of science fictional thinking for environmentalism. What is useful and fruitful in such thinking? Are environmentalist forays into science fiction valuable and productive, or do they threaten to render issues such as climate change and peak oil as fictional, sensationalist scenarios?

This roundtable is sponsored by the Science Fiction Research Association (SFRA), a new professional affiliate organization of ASLE. To be considered for the 4-12 participant panel, please submit a 100-200 word position piece outlining your proposed input on this topic. Proposals that frame the roundtable issue within the theme of the conference ("Species, Space, and the Imagination of the Global") are especially welcome. Send your proposal in the body of an email to Eric Otto at eotto@fgcu.edu by Friday, October 29th. See http://www.indiana.edu/~asle2011/call.shtml for more information about the conference.