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Issue Details: First known date: 2011... 2011 The Shield of Distance : Apocalypse in Australian Literature After 1945
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'...One of the major themes of the Australian apocalyptic discourse is the nation's vulnerability to outside influence. In a sense, Australia's position on the edge of the globe not only excludes it from the world and its advantages but also shields the country from crises as a kind of utopian space free from harm, whereby the end of 'the world' can occur even if Australia still exists.

In the case studies in this chapter, the nation initially appears to be relatively utopian setting while war has destroyed the rest of the world, and the country's remote location seem to have protected it from the disaster elsewhere; yet this proves to be a false hope. Australia cannot escape catastrophe, and the authors suggest social and political complacency and indifference as the main reasons for collapse. In this way the novels function as warnings, using crisis to reveal dystopian futures. The associations these case studies make between disaster and Australia ultimately work to reinforce the concept that the nation is an apocalyptic space.' (54)


  • Epigraph: "I won't take it," she said vehemently. "It's not fair. No one in the southern hemisphere ever dropped a bomb, a hydrogen bomb or a cobalt bomb or any other sort of bomb. We had nothing to do with it. Why should we have to die because other countries nine or ten thousand miles away from us wanted to have a war? It's so bloody unfair." - Nevil Shute, On the Beach 39

    The northern hemisphere, we were told, suffered more than the southern. That had always been true, the palaeontologists said. In the southern hemisphere we remained the Lucky Country. Was it so? Really so? - George Turner, Drowning Towers 137

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Apocalypse in Australian Fiction and Film : A Critical Study Roslyn Weaver , Jefferson : McFarland and Company , 2011 Z1820733 2011 single work criticism 'Australia has been a frequent choice of location for narratives about the end of the world in science fiction and speculative works, ranging from pre-colonial apocalyptic maps to key literary works from the last fifty years. This critical work explores the role of Australia in both apocalyptic literature and film. Works and genres covered include Nevil Shute's popular novel On the Beach, Mad Max, children's literature, Indigenous writing, and cyberpunk. The text examines ways in which apocalypse is used to undermine complacency, foretell environmental disasters, critique colonization, and to serve as a means of protest for minority groups. Australian apocalypse imagines Australia at the ends of the world, geographically and psychologically, but also proposes spaces of hope for the future.' (From the publisher's website.) Jefferson : McFarland and Company , 2011 pg. 54-82
Last amended 1 Jun 2012 12:45:33
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