The Dying Animals: Anthropocene Stories
Beginning with analyses of work by Ben Marcus, Blake Butler, and Barbara Kingsolver, this chapter discusses the way fiction can respond to dramatic shifts in humanity’s place in the world. It contrasts the explicitly American, capitalist perspective on climate change and mass extinction in Lydia Millet’s How the Dead Dream with the Indigenous perspectives of Alexis Wright’s The Swan Book, then turns to the fantastic worlds of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy and Adam Roberts’s Bête. All four authors suggest the importance of seeing precarity and vulnerability as essential to all creaturely life, and challenge ideas of linear narratives. By examining the way language is shared between creatures and positioning mass suffering and death as a form of relation, they suggest new directions for narrative.