Green Letters: Studies in Ecocriticism CFP for special issue of Green Letters: ‘J. G. Ballard and the Natural World’

Green Letters

‘Is there such a thing as authentic “Nature” these days? Or is it now merely an adjunct to the electronic media, almost a TV gimmick? Is it rapidly turning into a theme park?’ (J.G. Ballard, Time Out Magazine, September 1987).

J. G. Ballard’s fictions famously explore the meeting point between the inner world of the psyche and the outer realm of ‘reality’. Ballard called this convergence ‘inner space’, a dimension which, in a Romantic echo, is half perceived and half created. This creative perception opens up a multitude of possibilities for considering the natural world, and images of nature and environment are central to Ballard’s topographical aesthetic. His plots of his first quartet of novels – The Wind from Nowhere, The Drowned World, The Drought and The Crystal World – revolve around dramatic climatological and ecological change, and as such have been read as early examples of climate fiction. This interdisciplinary special issue of Green Letters seeks to understand the importance of Ballard’s works as we enter into (or continue on in) the age of the Anthropocene. What do Ballard’s vivid depictions of flora and fauna (or their disturbing absence) have to say to a world that is obsessed with images of plant and animal life, but is destroying the same at an unprecedented rate? How do Ballard’s landscapes, transformed by human mismanagement and/or the imagination, speak to concerns about our rapidly changing climate? What hope does the power of the imagination, central to so much of Ballard’s writing, offer in terms of anthropogenesis – and what dangers might it disguise? The issue seeks to contribute to the emergent need to historicize ecocriticism as well as progenitor literatures such as climate fiction. It is also interested in the intersections between science fiction, climate fiction and urban dystopias.

Submission information

500-word abstracts for 6000 word articles are invited. Themes might include, but are not limited to

  • Ballard and ecology
  • Ballard and climate change fiction
  • The nature of technology
  • Animals/plant-life/the natural world in Ballard’s fiction
  • Ecology, the city, urban dystopia
  • Ballard and the weather
  • The mind/world dyad
  • Sight and sound in a changing world
  • Nature and mediation
  • Ballard, science fiction and ecocriticism

Please send abstracts and any questions to thomas.knowles@bcu.ac.uk. The deadline for abstracts is the 30th of March 2017. The abstract should be attached as an anonymous document in Word with a covering email that should give your name, address and institutional affiliation. A decision as to which articles will be commissioned will be made by the end of May. The deadline for first draft essays will be Dec 2017 with publication due by the end of 2018.

​Green Letters: Studies in Ecocriticism is the journal of ASLE-UKI (the UK-Ireland branch of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment). It is a peer-reviewed journal published by Routledge and supported by Bath Spa University and the University of Worcester. Green Letters explores interdisciplinary interfaces between humans and the natural and built environment.