What is Irish Science Fiction?
Ireland is not, it is fair to say, the first country that springs to mind when you think “science fiction”. When aliens land on Earth, we tend to assume they’ll land in New York, or London, or Tokyo. Definitely not Dublin or Cork.
But then, why not? This inability to imagine Irish science fiction actually misrepresents the fact that there’s a long history of the genre in Ireland, going right back to at least the mid-19th century. Fitz-James O’Brien, for example, was an Irishman who emigrated to the U.S. and achieved great recognition in his time. He was the author of “The Diamond Lens” and “What Was It?”, science fiction stories which helped establish two central tropes of the genre.
This episode charts Irish science fiction from the work of Fitz-James O’Brien through to the present day. Myth, history, and the supernatural, it turns out, are just as important as science, technology, and the future. My guest this week is Dr Jack Fennell, expert in all things science fiction and author of Irish Science Fiction.
Dr Jack Fennell is an Independent Researcher based in Limerick, Ireland. He completed his PhD in the University of Limerick and is the author of a number of works, including his monograph on Irish Science Fiction.
Irish Science Fiction (Liverpool University Press)
You can view his profile on Academia.edu
Chapalet (Invisible Ink)
Night Echoes (Moscow)
Mountains (Everything Fall)
Iain M. Banks: Culture Novels
Alex Garland: Ex Machina
Fitz-James O’Brien: “The Diamond Lens” & “What Was It?”
Kevin Barry: City of Bohane
Tim Booth: Altergeist
Jason Mordaunt: Welcome to Coolsville
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