Two Solitudes, Two Cultures: Building and Burning Bridges in Peter Watts’s Novels

  • Michele Braun
Part of the Studies in Global Science Fiction book series (SGSF)


Peter Watts’s sf is rooted in the contestation of binary oppositions, such as those explored in Hugh MacLennan’s Two Solitudes (1945) and C. P Snow’s “The Two Cultures” (1959), suggesting that cultural binaries provide lenses through which one might understand how Watts’s characters build (and sometimes burn) bridges. This chapter surveys Watts’s major works, investigating how characters build or destroy bridges in the context of twenty-first-century biotechnology and the corporations that own those technologies, to determine how McLennan’s original treatise on the two solitudes can be understood in the context of dissolving national boundaries. Watts’s work recognizes the shift from the local to the global and updates the challenge of building bridges across two solitudes that span the globe rather than the Canadian landscape.


Peter Watts Biotechnology Globalism Apocalyptic fiction Rifters trilogy Blindsight 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michele Braun
    • 1
  1. 1.Mount Royal UniversityCalgaryCanada

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