I'm here, I'm listening : short stories
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] I'm Here, I'm Listening is a creative dissertation that makes the case for non-realist speculation as a fundamental tool for creative writers. The collection's twelve short stories push against the boundaries of realism, borrowing from genre conventions found in historic fiction, fabulism, and sci-fi to investigate the uncanny intersection of ecology, technology, and the human experience. The critical introduction, "New Worlds, Green Futures," argues for the political potential in science fiction and speculative writing. It close reads two novels -- Margaret Atwood's Surfacing (1972) and Ruth Ozeki's A Tale for the Time Being (2013) -- and argues that the cathartic instances of time travel in these novels serve to break down the societal limitations of gender, time, environment, and species. The creative component of the dissertation depicts variations on womanhood and loss. The stories' many female protagonists contend with missing parents, siblings, and partners, absences both physical and emotional. Non-realist and speculative genres highlight the estranging experience of mourning. Characters must navigate strange and perilous dystopias, and many face external conflicts typical of a Cold War era sci-fi film--mutant spiders, doorways to other dimensions, sentient plant people, and cyber-ghosts. At the same time, the collection hones in on these women's interior lives, exploring, not only what makes their world strange and surreal, but what sense of beauty can be found and what connections can be forged in the wake of their own personal apocalypses.
Access to files is limited to the University of Missouri--Columbia.