Fafnir 4/2015

Fafnir – Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research 4/2015

Jyrki Korpua, Päivi Väätänen & Hanna-Riikka Roine:
Editorial 4/2015

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Gry Ulstein:
Hobbits, Ents, and Dæmons: Ecocritical Thought Embodied in the Fantastic

Abstract: This paper investigates the occurrence of ecocritical thought in two canonical fantasy epics, The Lord of The Rings (1954–1955) by J. R. R. Tolkien and His Dark Materials (1995–2000) by Philip Pullman. Using current ecocritical theory as well as writers and critics of speculative fiction to study the primary works from a marginalized angle, this paper argues that fantasy fiction, more than other literary genres, has an intrinsic exploratory potential for ecocritical ideas because the strong immersive aspect of the genre entices the reader to open up for a less anthropocentric view of the world. If this is investigated further, the narrow space for fantasy literature in literary criticism and academia may be broadened to include a more politically engaged discussion of fantasy than typically assumed.

Keywords: ecocriticism, ecocentrism, anthropocentrism, fantastic literature

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Laura-Marie von Czarnowsky:
“Power and all its secrets”: Engendering Magic in Neil Gaiman’s
The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Abstract:Neil Gaiman’s recent adult novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane (2013), presents the power of magic as an exclusively female concept. At the same time, however, it can be argued that the text subverts its own feminist potential in its advocation of motherhood as paradigmatic femininity. Gaiman’s ecofeminist vision connects the nurturing qualities of the motherly Hempstocks with the prospering magical landscape they inhabit. Evoking the image of the triple goddess of Neopaganism and connecting it to the Greek Moirai, Gaiman presents them as direct counterparts to the text’s other magical creature, the villainess Ursula Monkton, who appears as embodiment of Freud’s unruled id. Both variations of female magic empowerment can be read productively as gendered performances of the femme fatale and the godmother, used in order to effectively manipulate their human surroundings. Contrasting evil hypersexual femininity, which eventually has to be banished from the scene, with a benevolent nurturing femininity, the text clearly values one over the other. While the domesticity of the Hempstocks’ thus seems to communicate a surprisingly old-fashioned set of gender politics, continuously pointing to the constructedness of gender roles actually makes the text a postmodern meta-commentary on the performance of gender roles.

Keywords: Gaiman, feminism, ecofeminism, performance, fantasy

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Christian Ylagan:
Why Do The Heavens Beckon Us? Revisiting Constructions of Home and Identity in Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles

Abstract: Scholarship on Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, and science fiction in general, have hitherto been focused on binary accounts of human colonization and imperialism. This article seeks to complement existing research by instead providing an intervention that focuses on the hybridizing dynamic of space travel and encounters with alien races. Specifically, this article problematizes notions of home and identity from both ontological and ethical perspectives that subvert canonical ways of reading science fiction narratives, especially those from the genre’s Golden Age. Emblematic of these canonical readings is the insistence on the grand narrative of man as galactic colonizer whose culture and identity is considered stable and imposable on alien populations. This article seeks to invert such a narrative by reading Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles using a postcolonial framework, specifically by viewing the dynamic of human space travel in terms of the ontological and ethical ambiguities that parallel the historical movement of diaspora and decolonization. Drawing primarily on Emmanuel Levinas’ notion of encountering the Other-as-Subject and Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of the habitus as both abstract and material space where these encounters can happen, this article argues that while the ontological problem of the self-construction of identity is indeed largely influenced by the space that one inhabits, the violent imperialistic ethos of refashioning home as introduced in traditional readings of The Martian Chronicles must give way to an ethical ability to imagine the possibility of a non-violent confrontation with the Other, especially when such contact takes place in fluid, unstable, and imbricated spaces.

Keywords: Ray Bradbury, home, identity, self-construction, psycho-geography, colonialism

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Merja Leppälahti:
Myyttisestä fantasiaksi – Etsivät matkalla Pohjolaan

Abstrakti: Tässä artikkelissa tarkastelen kahden 2000-luvulla ilmestyneen romaanin intertekstuaalisia kytköksiä Kalevalaan ja kansanperinteeseen sekä kansantarinoiden myyttiaineksen muuttumista fantasiaksi. Kummassakin teoksessa tehdään matkaa kohti Pohjolaa, johon Kalevalassa liittyy paljon myyttistä ainesta. Harri V. Hietikon Roger Repo ja tuonen väkion julkaistu vuonna 2005 ja Mikko Karpin Väinämöisen vyövuonna 2007; molempien teosten päähenkilö on etsivä ja kummankin juonenkulussa on keskeistä siirtyminen tavallisesta maailmasta kalevalaiseen maailmaan ja siellä tehtävä matka Pohjolaan. Kummassakin teoksessa Pohjolaan liittyy myös Tuonela.

Asiasanat: intertekstuaalisuus, Kalevala, myyttisyys, Pohjola, Tuonela

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Jyrki Korpua:
Lectio praecursoria: Constructive Mythopoetics In J. R. R. Tolkien’s Legendarium

MA Jyrki Korpua defended his doctoral dissertation Constructive Mythopoetics in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Legendarium on the 13th of November 2015. This essay is a translated and edited version of the lectio praecursoria given by Korpua before the defense. The dissertation is available as an electronic publication in the following address: http://herkules.oulu.fi/isbn9789526209289/isbn9789526209289.pdf

Keywords: constructive mythopoetics, fantasy, legendarium, mythopoetics, speculative fiction, Tolkien

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James Hamby:
A Book Review: Brett M. Rogers & Benjamin Eldon Stevens (eds.) – Classical Traditions in Science Fiction

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Essi Vatilo:
A Book Review: Aino-Kaisa Koistinen – The Human Question in Science Fiction Television: (Re)Imagining Humanity in Battlestar Galactica, Bionic Woman and V

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Kaisa Kortekallio:
Kirja-arvio: Juha Raipola – Ihmisen rajoilla. Epävarma tulevaisuus ja ei-inhimilliset toimijuudet Leena Krohnin Pereat munduksessa

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Jani Ylönen:
“Reconfiguring Human and Non-Human: Texts, Images and Beyond” – A Seminar in Jyväskylä Demonstrates the Growing Interest in Anthropocene

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