Zombie Cities: Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction and the Metropolis
Yeates, Robert Anthony
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
Publication plans for research included within the thesis
This thesis looks at how cities are portrayed in British and American post-apocalyptic science fiction, from the rise of the modern city to the present day. Conceptualized as “zombie cities,” the thesis suggests these are locations caught between life and death, in which humanity is at risk of being eaten away. Uncanny doubles haunting the contemporary, ordered, and modernized city, such fictional projections frequently present manifestations of contemporary urban concerns. The four historical sections of this thesis track the shifting focus of urban representations in post-apocalyptic science fiction from the threats of reckless modernization and aerial warfare to the hope of radical reinvention of broken cities and even the joyful exploration of their ruins. The project presents this urban fixation as connected to the history of science fiction and the development of media, suggesting that post-apocalyptic science fiction in particular is the ideal form to address the piecing together of the broken and fragmented into the experimental and new. By looking at adaptations, sequels, and re-imaginings it is possible to see that history of urban representations in post-apocalyptic science fiction is connected to a history of evolving urban anxieties. Creating a space of contact between urban studies, the study of ruins, the uncanny, science fiction studies, apocalypse studies, academic study of the zombie, and media history, the thesis proposes the value of the new term of zombie cities to each field, and aims to initiate further endeavours that follow similar methods.
PhD in English