Confronting ecological futures: global environmental crises in contemporary survival quests for young adults

Yvonne Hammer


This paper examines representations of societal concern in the futuristic ecological disaster fi ctions of three British authors: Julie Bertagna (Exodus; Zenith), Jan Mark (Riding Tycho; Voyager) and Marcus Sedgwick (Floodland). The depicted refugee journeys in these futuristic worlds speak into a growing global disquiet that surrounds current historic events. Environmental crises that ground the emergent world orders of depicted future societies set the scene in each coming of age frame: each survival quest embeds social and cultural issues recognisable to contemporary audiences in futuristic representations of changed world orders, limited resources, and isolated communities. Authors resist the mythic frame of a traditional quest journey − a call to journey, the engagement with growth through a road of trials and then celebrations in a return to home territory: their conclusions offer limited resolutions, the struggle to survive entrenched as a linear path. Because authors link depictions of the refugee subject with environmental degradation, apocalyptic scenarios that signify the devastating consequences of global environmental crises provide an ecocritical platform from which each author situates a discourse of protest. Interrogating contemporary political positions of ambiguity and denial their novels profi le social justice issues experienced by refugee populations in contemporary society.

Keywords: Bertagna; Mark Sedgwick; ecocriticism; refugees; postdisaster fi ction; displacement; transformative utopianism.


Bertagna, Mark, Sedgwick, ecocriticism, refugees, postdisaster fi ction, displacement, transformative utopianism

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Barnboken – Journal of Children's Literature Research eISSN 2000-4389
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