Greenock-Outer Space: Place and Space in Ken MacLeod’s The Human Front and Descent
- 123 Downloads
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).
- Abbott Abbott, Edwin. Flatland. Romance of Many Dimensions. London: Seely, 1884. Print.Google Scholar
- Abu-Lughod, J. ‘Going Beyond Global Babble’. Culture, Globalization and the World-System. Ed. Anthony King. London: Macmillan, 1991. Print.Google Scholar
- Aliaga Lavrijsen, Jessica. ‘Contemporary Scottish Literature and the Problematics of Identity’. The Fiction of Brian McCabe and (Scottish) Identity. Oxford: Peter Lang, 2013. 3–32. Print.Google Scholar
- Booker, Keith M. Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction in Literature. London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015. Print.Google Scholar
- Brockelman, Thomas. ‘Lost in Place? On the Virtues and Vices of Edward Casey’s Anti-modernism’. Humanitas XVI:1 (2003): 36–55. Print.Google Scholar
- Butler, Andrew M. ‘Introduction: The True Knowledge?’ The True Knowledge of Ken MacLeod. Ed. Andrew M. Butler and Farah Mendlesohn. Reading: Science Fiction Foundation, 2003. vii–xiii. Print.Google Scholar
- Casey, Edward S. Getting Back into Place: Toward a Renewed Understanding of the Place-World. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993. Print.Google Scholar
- Dailyrecord. ‘MoD Admit They Probed Claims of UFOs Over Greenock and Renfrewshire’. 1 July 2012. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/mod-admit-they-probed-claims-of-ufos-1106682#XKpcdo1R0WcYDiFI.97. Web.
- Dillon, Sarah. ‘Reinscribing De Quincey’s Palimpsest: The Significance of the Palimpsest in Contemporary Literary and Cultural Studies’. Textual Practice 19:3 (2005): 243–263. Print.Google Scholar
- ________. The Palimsest: Literature, Criticism, Theory. London: Bloomsbury, 2007. Print.Google Scholar
- Eliot, T. S. ‘Tradition and the Individual Talent’. The Sacred Wood. London: Methuen, 1920 (1919). Print.Google Scholar
- Giddens, A. Modernity and Self-Identity. Oxford. Polity, 1991. Print.Google Scholar
- Gray, Alasdair. Lanark: A Life in Four Books. Edinburgh: Canongate Books, 1981. Print.Google Scholar
- Greenock Telegraph. ‘UFO Sightings Probed by MOD’. 28 June 2011. http://www.greenocktelegraph.co.uk/news/13999863.UFO_sightings_probed_by_MOD/?commentSort=score. Web.
- Hess-Lüttich, Ernest W. B. ‘Spatial Turn: On the Concept of Space in Cultural Geography and Literary Theory’. Journal for Theoretical Cartography, Vol. 5, 2012. Print.Google Scholar
- Jameson, Frederick. Postmodernism, Or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. London: Verso, 1991. Print.Google Scholar
- Korzeniowska, Aniela. ‘“Scotland Small? Our Multiform, Our Infinite Scotland Small?” Scotland’s Literary Contribution to the Modern World’. Colloquia Humanistica 2 (2013): 37–58. Print.Google Scholar
- MacLeod, Ken. Cosmonaut Keep (The Engines of Light. Book 1). London: Orbit, 2000. Print.Google Scholar
- ———. Dark Light (The Engines of Light. Book 2). London: Orbit, 2001. Print.Google Scholar
- ———. Engine City (The Engines of Light. Book 3). London: Orbit, 2002. Print.Google Scholar
- ———. The Execution Channel. New York: Tor Books, 2007. Print.Google Scholar
- ———. The Night Sessions. New York: Prometheus Books, 2008. Print.Google Scholar
- ———. ‘The Future Will Happen Here Too’. The Bottle Imp, Vol. 18, 2015 (2010). http://asls.arts.gla.ac.uk/SWE/TBI/TBIIssue18/MacLeod.pdf. Web. 11 November 2016.
- ———. Intrusion. London: Orbit, 2012. Print.Google Scholar
- ———. The Human Front. Oakland: PM Press, 2013 (2001). Print.Google Scholar
- ———. Descent. London: Orbit, 2014. Print.Google Scholar
- ———. ‘Ken MacLeod on Scotland in Science Fiction’. 19 November 2014. http://www.orbitbooks.net/2014/11/19/ken-macleod-descent-scottish-science-fiction/. 2014. Web. 12 December 2017.
- Manga Qespi, Eusebio Atuq. ‘Pacha: Un concepto andino de espacio y tiempo’. Revísta española de Antropología Americana 24 (1994): 155–189. Print.Google Scholar
- Radstone, Susannah. ‘What Place Is This? Transcultural Memory and the Locations of Memory Studies’. Parallax 17:4 (2011): 109–123. Print.Google Scholar
- Rick, A. ‘What Space Makes of Us: Third Space, Identity Politics, and Multiculturalism’, UCLA, American Educational Research Association Conference, Chicago. 1997. http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED409409.pdf. Web. 28 October 2016.
- Robertson, Roland. ‘Glocalization: Time-Space and Homogeneity-Heterogeneity’. Global Modernities. Ed. Mike Featherstone, Scott Lash, and Roland Robertson. London: Sage, 1995: 25–44. Print.Google Scholar
- Rodríguez Magda, Rosa María. ‘Transmodernidad: Un nuevo paradigma’. Transmodernity. Journal of Peripheral Cultural Production of the Luso-Hispanic World 1.1 (2011): 1–13. Print.Google Scholar
- ———. Transmodernidad. Barcelona: Anthropos, 2004. Print.Google Scholar
- Skordoulis, Constantine, and Eugenia Arvantis. ‘Space Conceptualisation in the Context of Postmodernity: Theorizing Spatial Representation’. The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences 3:6 (2008): 105–113. Print.Google Scholar
- Smith, Gregory. Scottish Literature, Character and Influence. London: Macmillan, 1919. Print.Google Scholar
- Tambasco, Brandi. ‘Science Fiction: Spanning Space, Time, and Genre’. Notes. The New York Society Library 18:4 (2011). https://www.nysoclib.org/sites/default/files/pdf/news2011_11.pdf. Web. 17 December 2016.
- The Scotsman. ‘They’re Out There’. 26 July 2007. http://www.scotsman.com/news/they-re-out-there-1-910687#ixzz47aZOM37c. Web. 17 December 2016.
- Wallerstein, Immanuel. ‘The National and the Universal: Can There Be Such a Thing as World Culture?’ Culture, Globalization and the World-System. Ed. Anthony King. London: Macmillan, 1991: 91–106. Print.Google Scholar
- Welsh, Irvine. Trainspotting. London: Secker and Warburg, 1993. Print.Google Scholar