Surreal Entanglements : Essays on Jeff VanderMeer’s Fiction book cover
1st Edition

Surreal Entanglements
Essays on Jeff VanderMeer’s Fiction

ISBN 9780367360849
Published May 19, 2021 by Routledge
280 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This edited collection approaches the most pressing discourses of the Anthropocene and posthumanist culture through the surreal, yet instructive lens of Jeff VanderMeer’s fiction. In contrast to universalist and essentializing ways of responding to new material realities, VanderMeer’s work invites us to re-imagine human subjectivity and other collectivities in the light of historically unique entanglements we face today: the ecological, technological, aesthetic, epistemological, and political challenges of life in the Anthropocene era. Situating these messy, multi-scalar, material complexities of life in close relation to their ecological, material, and colonialist histories, his fiction renders them at once troublingly familiar and strangely generative of other potentialities and insight. The collection measures VanderMeer’s work as a new kind of speculative surrealism, his texts capturing the strangeness of navigating a world in which "nature" has become radically uncanny due to global climate change and powerful bio-technologies. The first collection to survey academic engagements with VanderMeer, this book brings together scholars in the fields of environmental literature, science fiction, genre studies, American literary history, philosophy of technology, and digital cultures to reflect on the environmentally, culturally, aesthetically, and politically central questions his fiction poses to predominant understandings of the Anthropocene.

Table of Contents


Weird Ecology: VanderMeer’s Anthropocene Fiction

Louise Economides and Laura Shackelford


Node 1: More-than-Human Traces and Symbiotic Monsters – A Posthumanist Politics for the Anthropocene Era?


Chapter 1:

Home on the Strange: The Queering of Place in VanderMeer’s Borne Books

Louise Economides


Chapter 2:

Acceptance and Continuation: Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy and Hope in the Anthropocene

Arwen Spicer


Chapter 3:

Entangled Care and the Trouble with Making Family in Borne

Samuel Gormley


Chapter 4:

‘Love Your Monsters:’ Anthropocene Discourse and Green" Psychoanalysis in Jeff VanderMeer’s Borne and The Strange Bird: A Borne Story

Sydney Lane


Node 2: Materialist Speculation after Quantum Physics


Chapter 5:

Microbiology and Microcosms: Ecosystem and the Body in Shriek: An Afterword

Octavia Cade


Chapter 6:

Strange Matters: More-than-Human Entanglements and Topological Spacetimes

Laura Shackelford


Chapter 7:

Street Smarts for Smart Streets

Rob Coley


Chapter 8:

Tentacular Narrative Webs: Unthinking Humans in Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach Trilogy

Dunja M. Mohr


Node 3: Aesthetics of Perception and Genre Sense; or Politics Made Perceptible


Chapter 9:

Genre Tentacular: Area X and the Southern Neogothic

Lee Rozelle


Chapter 10:

‘Another World, another life:’ Humans, Monsters, and Politics in Predator: South China Sea

Benjamin J. Robertson


Chapter 11:

Can You Describe Its Form? Annihilation and Cinematic Adaptation

Cameron Kunzelman


Chapter 12:

Love in the Time of the Anthropocene: A Conversation Between Alison Sperling and Jeff VanderMeer

Alison Sperling

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Louise Economides is a professor of English and director of the Literature and the Environment program at the University of Montana, Missoula.

Laura Shackelford is Associate Professor of English and founding Director of the Center for Engaged Storycraft at the Rochester Institute of Technology.