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Ecosickness in Contemporary U.S. FictionEnvironment and Affect$
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Heather Houser

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231165143

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231165143.001.0001

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The Anxiety of Intervention in Leslie Marmon Silko and Marge Piercy

The Anxiety of Intervention in Leslie Marmon Silko and Marge Piercy

(p.167) 5. The Anxiety of Intervention in Leslie Marmon Silko and Marge Piercy
Ecosickness in Contemporary U.S. Fiction

Heather Houser

Columbia University Press

Through Marge Piercy's Woman on the Edge of Time (1976) and Leslie Marmon Silko's Almanac of the Dead (1991), this chapter analyzes anxiety, an affect associated with rapidly changing political, technological, and environmental realities. As the inequalities inherent to technoscience emerged in the 1970s, women writers crafted speculative fictions to imagine the apocalyptic implications of interventions into bodies and the land. Through scenarios of bio- and ecotechnological horror and medicalizing tropes, body and land become vectors of anxiety—the affect that triggers concern about immoral technoscience, and neutralizes the capacity to resist its penetration of all domains of existence. Because it compromises human agency, apocalyptic anxiety is at odds with the revolutionary historiography that animates narratives of ecopolitical resistance.

Keywords:   Marge Piercy, Woman on the Edge of Time, Leslie Marmon Silko, Almanac of the Dead, anxiety, technoscience, speculative fictions, biotechnological horror, ecotechnological horror, apocalyptic anxiety

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