Plants have played key roles in science fiction novels, graphic novels and film. John Wyndham's triffids, Algernon Blackwood's willows and Han Kang's sprouting woman are just a few examples. Plants surround us, sustain us, pique our imaginations and inhabit our metaphors – but in many ways they remain opaque. The scope of their alienation is as broad as their biodiversity. And yet, literary reflections of plant-life are driven, as are many threads of science-fictional inquiry, by the concerns of today. Plants in Science Fiction is the first-ever collected volume on plants in science fiction, and its original essays argue that plant-life in SF is transforming our attitudes toward morality, politics, economics and cultural life at large – questioning and shifting our understandings of institutions, nations, borders and boundaries; erecting and dismantling new visions of utopian and dystopian futures.
Introduction – Katherine E. Bishop
Weird Flora: Plant Life in the Classic Weird Tale – Jessica George
‘Bloody unnatural brutes’: Anthropomorphism, Colonialism and the Return of the Repressed in John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids – Jerry Määttä
Botanical Tentacles and the Chthulucene- Shelley Saguaro
Between the Living and the Dead: Vegetal Afterlives in Evgenii Iufit’s and Vladimir Maslov’s Silver Heads – Brittany Roberts
Vegetable Love: Desire, Feeling, and Sexuality in Botanical Fiction – T. S. Miller
Alternative Reproduction: Plant-time and Human/Arboreal Assemblages in Holdstock and Han – Elizabeth Heckendorn Cook
Sunlight as a Photosynthetic Information Technology: Becoming Plant in Tom Robbins’s Jitterbug Perfume – Yogi Hale Hendlin
The Question of the Vegetal, the Animal, the Archive in Kathleen Ann Goonan’s Queen City Jazz – Graham J. Murphy
Queer Ingestions: Weird, Vegetative Bodies in Jeff VanderMeer’s Fiction – Alison Sperling
The Botanical Ekphrastic and Ecological Relocation – Katherine E. Bishop
Katherine E. Bishop PhD is Assistant Professor at Miyazaki International College. David Higgins PhD teaches English at Inver Hills College in Minnesota. Jerry Maatta PhD is Associate Professor (Docent) at the Department of Literature, Uppsala University, Sweden
"Science fiction teaches us to "be-with others better". This is the core argument of Plants in Science Fiction, captured in one of its chapters and suffused throughout. Readers will come away with a profound and challenging understanding of what it means to be human, as well as a deep appreciation for the critical function of science fiction in a threatened world."
– Professor Eric Otto, Florida Gulf Coast University
"Plants in Science Fiction demonstrates that science fiction and ecocriticism have much to say to each other. By considering "speculative vegetation", of course, we learn much about our own lives in the present moment on Earth."
– Scott Slovic, Editor-in-Chief, ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment
"Plants in Science Fiction establishes key theoretical concepts and offers approaches that point the way for further studies addressing the dearth of critical studies on plants in SF. Plants in Science Fiction is a much-needed study of plants in SF that offers potential for synthesis with human-animal studies and broader ecological and environmental criticism."
– Chris Pak, University of Swansea, Science Ficton Studies March 2021