Monash University
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Science Fiction’s Ethical Modes: Totality, Infinity, and the Unenglobable Literary Space

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posted on 2020-05-25, 04:46 authored by Zachary James Kendal
This thesis explores the ethical dimensions of different science fiction (SF) traditions, bringing SF studies into dialogue with poststructuralist literary theory and Emmanuel Levinas’s writings on ethics. US pulp SF, Eastern European SF, and post-New-Wave SF traditions are examined through case studies of Isaac Asimov, Yevgeny Zamyatin, and Gene Wolfe. It is argued that US pulp SF’s representation of the world, and other people, reveal totalising foundations that result in problematic ethical and political orientations. SF beyond this influential genre tradition, however, has demonstrated the potential for SF to engage with more ethical approaches to alterity, unknowability and the other.


Principal supervisor

Peter Lewis Groves

Additional supervisor 1

Andrew Milner

Additional supervisor 2

Andrew Benjamin

Additional supervisor 3

Rebecca-Anne Do Rozario

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

School of Language, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics


Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type


Campus location