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Supplementary Materials and Resources for Podcast 29 - Definitions

 

mySF Project: definitions of Post-Apocalyptic texts
used as discussion scaffolds and ideas for Kelleher's Taronga

 

This page supports Podcast 29 of the mySF Project blog and podcast series, found at http://www.pataphysics.net.au/mysf_project/mysf_podcasts/index.html
You can find the full script for Podcast 29 at http://www.pataphysics.net.au/mysf_project/mysf_scripts/index.html

Index

 

Background to the use of the definitions

In Genre: POST-APOCALYPTIC NIGHTMARE article by RJ Grady

Start of a definition of 'Post-Apocalyptic' from Wikipedia
Post-holocaust quotes from Brave New Words
Survival, from Science Fiction Quotations
Resource list

 

Background to the use of the definitions

 

As noted in the section looking at the background to the focus class on Post-Apocalyptic texts in relation to Kelleher's Taronga (1986), a few quotations and quotes were added to the class VLE.

 

These brief passages were used as discussion starters, for the students to discuss what they thought of the definitions and quotes and to build up the idea that Post-Apocalyptic texts were of many kinds, for many purposes, as followed in the focus class exercises.

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In Genre: POST-APOCALYPTIC NIGHTMARE, by RJ Grady

The unifying theme of all post-apocalyptic settings is the lawlessness and isolation of a barbaric time, perhaps mirroring our inner dissatisfaction with the settled world of today. The genre concerns the struggle of small groups, even handfuls of individuals. Something has happened to the world, something terrible, whether it be an alien radiation that causes the dead to rise from their graves, nuclear war, or a breakdown in civilization caused by a failure of vital infrastructure.

Character competence tends to be high. The heroes of these stories tend to be gritty, and if they aren't military figures, are at least capable of surviving in a rough world through their resources. The morality varies, but tends to devolve the idea that tyranny is the same moral state as anarchy, and that civilization is preferable to both, but easily subverted. Thus, free-thinking, cooperation, toughness, and a grim practicality are the virtues of this genre.

One recurring theme is the idea of the State of Nature. Without the bounds of civilization, life, as Hobbes put it, is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short." Post-apocalyptic worlds are often dominated by roving gangs of brigands or rising fascists. Deviants haunt the fringes of settlements. Predators roam the vast distances between villages. Characters often adopt S&M gear or attitudes to express the truth that in a brutal world, relationships are based on power.

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Post-Apocalyptic - Wikipedia

Apocalyptic fiction is a sub-genre of science fiction that is concerned with the end of civilization either through nuclear war, plague, or some other general disaster. Post-apocalyptic fiction is set in a world or civilization after such a disaster. The time frame may be immediately after the catastrophe, focusing on the travails or psychology of survivors, or considerably later, often including the theme that the existence of pre-catastrophe civilization has been forgotten (or mythologized). Post-apocalyptic stories often take place in an agrarian, non-technological future world, or a world where only scattered elements of technology remain. There is a considerable degree of blurring between this form of science fiction and that which deals with false utopias or dystopic societies.

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Post-holocaust

 

The common practice has been to depict a post-holocaust world as a kind of damaged Eden, where a few survivors scavenge a subsistence living from the wreck of civilisation. (Disch, 1986)

 

Obviously the world had been ruined in some sort of catastrophe, and, in fact, the original idea was that this was going to be an After-the-Bomb story, showing how the man and his son survived in a Post-Holocaust world. (Dozois, 2001).

 

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Survival, from Science Fiction Quotations

 

Survival of the race is the first duty of every Ethical man and woman. (Merril, 1953).

 

We are barbarians. With survival the only moral touchstone, we show what we are. We kill in order to live. Our final decency is the ability to see what we are and exercise some rational control over it. The world's survivors will be the ruthless, not the holy meek. (Turner, 1987).

 

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Resource list

Dozois, G. (2001). In Swanwock, M. Being Gardener Dozois, p144. In Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction, edited by Jeff Prucher. Oxford: OUP.

Disch, T. (1986). 'Road to Heaven' in On SF (2005) 208. In Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction, edited by Jeff Prucher. Oxford: OUP.

Grady, RJ (2004). 'In Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Nightmare'. In rpg.net. Retrieved 12 November, 2009 from http://www.rpg.net/news+reviews/columns/ingenre27jan04.html

Kelleher, V. (1986). Taronga.  Scoresby, Victoria: Penguin Group Australia. Paperback 9780140326314

Merril, J. (1953). 'Survival Ship'. In In Science Fiction Quotations: From the Inner Mind to the Outer Limits. Edited by Gary Westfahl. New Haven, USA: Yale University Press.

NSWDET (2006). A classroom practice guide: Quality teaching in ACT Schools. Copyright NSW Department of Education and Training. Canberra: Publishing Services for the ACT Department of Education and Training.

NSWDET (2006a). An assessment practice guide: Quality teaching in ACT Schools. Copyright NSW Department of Education and Training. Canberra: Publishing Services for the ACT Department of Education and Training.

Turner, G. (1987). 'Drowning Towers'. In Science Fiction Quotations: From the Inner Mind to the Outer Limits. Edited by Gary Westfahl. New Haven, USA: Yale University Press.

Wikipedia (2009). 'Post-Apocalyptic'. Wikipedia. Retrieved 12 November, 2009 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-apocalyptic

 

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ends

Michael Sisley

 

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