Title

From Adventurous Epic to Transhumanist Dystopia: An Investigation of Selected French Science-Fiction Novels from 1860-Present

Presenter Information

Madeleine LeonardFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

French

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Dr. Therese Saint Paul; Dr. Tanya Romero-Gonzalez

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

In this paper, I examine the shift in theme of French science-fiction literature from the 1860s to 2010. The works selected for this paper are Jules Verne’s Voyage au Centre de la Terre, Charles Derennes’ Le Peuple du Pôle, Pierre Boulle’s La Planète des Singes, and Nicolas Ancion’s L’Homme qui Refusait de Mourir. In analyzing events, characters, and the word choice of the books, two themes were found; “adventurous epic” in the earlier two books and “transhumanist dystopia” in the latter two. The historical context of the novels is also given by pointing out the scientific elements in the books which were based on popular science of the time. After frist giving context for the novels and how they demonstrate the themes I found in them, I find further differences between the older and newer books. In my paper, I first demonstrate that the earlier works are more external in their narrative when compared to the latter two. I also discuss evidence of how the earlier two books use a "lost world" to draw in readers. Then I seek to answerthe question, “Why is this change present?" My research points towards a shift in how people interact with new technologies, a shift originating from the World Wars. I claim that there is a dramatic thematic shift in French sci-fi literature and that current media still falls into the “transhumanist dystopia” category more than an “adventurous epic” as a way to play into the wariness towards science modern consumers have.

Fall Scholars Week 2018 Event

GLT 400

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From Adventurous Epic to Transhumanist Dystopia: An Investigation of Selected French Science-Fiction Novels from 1860-Present

In this paper, I examine the shift in theme of French science-fiction literature from the 1860s to 2010. The works selected for this paper are Jules Verne’s Voyage au Centre de la Terre, Charles Derennes’ Le Peuple du Pôle, Pierre Boulle’s La Planète des Singes, and Nicolas Ancion’s L’Homme qui Refusait de Mourir. In analyzing events, characters, and the word choice of the books, two themes were found; “adventurous epic” in the earlier two books and “transhumanist dystopia” in the latter two. The historical context of the novels is also given by pointing out the scientific elements in the books which were based on popular science of the time. After frist giving context for the novels and how they demonstrate the themes I found in them, I find further differences between the older and newer books. In my paper, I first demonstrate that the earlier works are more external in their narrative when compared to the latter two. I also discuss evidence of how the earlier two books use a "lost world" to draw in readers. Then I seek to answerthe question, “Why is this change present?" My research points towards a shift in how people interact with new technologies, a shift originating from the World Wars. I claim that there is a dramatic thematic shift in French sci-fi literature and that current media still falls into the “transhumanist dystopia” category more than an “adventurous epic” as a way to play into the wariness towards science modern consumers have.