Greenock-Outer Space: Place and Space in Ken MacLeod’s The Human Front and Descent

  • Jessica Aliaga Lavrijsen
Part of the Geocriticism and Spatial Literary Studies book series (GSLS)


In The Human Front and Descent, writer Ken MacLeod departs from the demand made by authors such as Alasdair Gray to make Scotland visible in fiction, going a step further, as MacLeod also offers a regeneration, a new insight into Scotland’s possible futures. There is an implicit political stance: Scotland must be (re)imagined, but bearing in mind a wider approach to the local that also encompasses the universal, with considerations about ecology, the global economic world-system or the possible existence of extraterrestrial civilizations. Both texts are located in Scotland in the near future and portray new configurations of space where the local cannot be understood without the global. Locality, like time, is understood as being engaged in a dynamics of interconnectedness. Therefore, my analysis will focus on the interconnectedness of the different spaces presented. From a transmodern methodological perspective, space-time has been reconfigured in both texts, creating a new paradigm, where past, present and future overlap, and place has become glocal. Through the use of various mechanisms and topoi, readers are presented with a “transmodern virtuality”. This transmodern space-time creates a new territory where the glocal and the virtual meet in a new multifold reality without ever losing its local specificity.



The research carried out for the writing of this article is part of a project financed by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness (MINECO) in collaboration with the European Regional Development Fund (DGI/ERDF) (code FFI2017-84258-P), and a project financed by the Centro Universitario de la Defensa Zaragoza (CUD2017-01). The author is also thankful for the support of the Government of Aragón and the European Social Fund (ESF) (code H03_17R).

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica Aliaga Lavrijsen
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro Universitario de la DefensaZaragozaSpain

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