Forward Thinking: Utopia and Apocalypse

Southerly 74.1

This issue considers how to think about the future in a time that doubts it will occur. It addresses the question of how culture retains its capacity to imagine possible futures in the face of multiple forces that threaten its existence: climate change, global war, the extinction of species. In local terms, Forward Thinking looks at how Australian literature imagines the world beyond present constraints and crises or as its impending corollary.

The essays range from Bill Ashcroft’s discussion of the utopian possibilities within literature itself to Australian science fiction, recent literary works that envisage post-catastrophic worlds and the role of catastrophic commemoration. There is also Lucy Sussex’s account of writing and teaching speculative fiction and a consideration of the utopian speculations of late Marxism as a way of opening up older works from the Australian archive to new readings – to give them a future, so to speak.

The issue includes fiction that relates to the theme as well as work that too compelling not to publish immediately. The issue contains a wealth of new poetry – a testimony to the current range and strength of this field – and reviews of new fiction, non-fiction and poetry.




Bill Ashcroft, The Horizon of the Future 12

Robin Gerster, Exile on Uranium Street: The Australian Nuclear Blues 55

Lucy Sussex, Apocalypse vs Utopia: A Writer’s Guide 90 William M. Taylor, Everyday war memorials to the end of all wars: building cemeteries and collecting war trophies in a culture of commemoration 105
Jessica White, Fluid Worlds: Reflecting Climate Change in The Swan Book and The Sunlit Zone 142
Darren Jorgensen, Geopolitics in Greg Egan’s Science Fiction 186
Danny Anwar, The Island called Utopia in Patrick White’s The Tree of Man 217


Ariel Riveros Pavez, Whilst I was here with you and living on the other side of the world… 36
Bev Braune, Waiting my turn 39
Nicolette Stasko, Circus Act 51
Mark Roberts, museum 52
Paul Magee, Observatory 54
Toby Fitch, from Jerilderies 71
Zoe Dzunko, After Asbury 103
Andy Jackson, Double-helix 127
Matthew da Silva, On the way to New England 128
Dugald Williamson, Ode 129
Phillip Hall, Carpentaria Running the Flag 164
Margaret Bradstock, The Marriage (1823–1850) 165
Joe Dolce, Place Name 182
Anne Elvey, eden 183
William Fox, The Last Crusade 185
π.ο., Graham Kennedy 1934-2005 213
John Hawke, Pietà 215
Ben Walter, Joseph Hooker’s Hands 235


Siang Lu, The Canton of Our Subconscious Choreography 75
Lucy Sussex, Apocalypse Rules 98
Susan Midalia, The hook 199


Rozanna Lilley, The Little Prince, and other vehicles 40
Liesl Nunns, And in our room too 130
Stephanie Bishop, Weatherman 167


Gretchen Shirm, of Richard Flanagan, The Narrow Road to the Deep North 236
a.j. carruthers, of Astrid Lorange, Food Turns into Blood and of Melinda Bufton, Girlery 242
Megan Nash, of Elizabeth Harrower, In Certain Circles 247
Joseph Cummins, of Alex Miller, Coal Creek 251
Geoff Page, of Tim Thorne, The Unspeak Poems and other verses and of Chris Wallace-Crabbe, My Feet Are Hungry 254
Sarah Day, of Peter Timms, Asking For Trouble 259
Ali Jane Smith, of Jill Jones, The Beautiful Anxiety 263


And in The Long Paddock…


Amanda Hickie, Looting Lucy’s
Adam Ouston, The Chaos of Life Beyond Death in the Outback
Francesca Sasnaitis, Drawing the Line
Emma L Waters, Something for a Rainy Day


Alice Allan, After this Short Break
Shevaun Cooley, the bone the island
William Fox, The Last Crusade and The Butterfly House
Corey Wakeling Elegy for Epithalamium and Available for Public Events
Mark Young, After Heine


Adrian Caesar reviews Geoff Page New Selected Poems
Nathan Sheperdson reviews Luke Beesley Balance and New Works on Paper
Nicolette Stasko reviews The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane and The Railwayman’s Wife by Ashley Hay


Cover image: Donna Marcus: Re-entry
Occupy Program, Federation Square, Melbourne, 2010
Anodised Aluminium

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