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The Green DepressionAmerican Ecoliterature in the 1930s and 1940s$
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Matthew M. Lambert

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781496830401

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2021

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496830401.001.0001

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Futuramas and Atom Bombs

Futuramas and Atom Bombs

(p.131) Chapter 4 Futuramas and Atom Bombs
The Green Depression

Matthew M. Lambert

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter shifts away from geographical landscapes to focus on technology during the period. Not only does the chapter examine debates over the “technological sublime” at the 1939/40 New York World’s Fair, it examines ways that science fiction authors use the “sf grotesque” to highlight the potentially devastating environmental and social consequences of uncritical forms of technological progress. The early work of Ray Bradbury and Judith Merril calls attention to the apocalyptic threat of the atom bomb by exposing its effects on the natural world as well as on human communities and bodies. Merril and George Schuyler also call attention to ways that ideologies associated with Western notions of science and progress have been used to support gender and racial inequality. In Black Empire (1938), Schuyler envisions innovative forms of renewable energy created by Black scientists that allow them to establish independence from Euro-American control.

Keywords:   Science fiction, Nuclear bomb, New York World’s Fair, Technology, Afrofuturism

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