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Dreaming the Clouds: Transculturation, Hybridity and Novum in Archie Weller’s Land of the Golden Clouds


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Zadro, Marko. (2016). Dreaming the Clouds: Transculturation, Hybridity and Novum in Archie Weller’s Land of the Golden Clouds. Diploma Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of English Language and Literature. [mentor Polak, Iva].

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When a reader approaches a literary text, there are always numerous implications as to what sort of preparation and knowledge the implied reader needs to have prior to close-reading of the text. Be it through sheer reading experience or through meticulous research into a given subject, the problem of defining specificities of the text require not only a well-prepared reader, but also a cooperative author who presents such specificities to his or her target audience. Such is the case of author Archie Weller, whose novel Land of the Golden Clouds is meant for the reader versed in several different areas.The focus of this paper is hence to examine the novel as simultaneously belonging to the corpus of postcolonial literature on the one hand, and SF, on the other. As Weller’s novel includes seven different spaces, a considerable number of satellite events and over one hundred characters, many of which are important for the kernel story-line, the analysis shall be limited only to two “types” of characters which are important for voicing the topic of transculturalism and hybridity since this underscores the main ideas behind the work. The first part of the paper, therefore, provides historical and structural analysis of postcolonial literature and SF, in order to provide a nexus between the two which may be used to constitute postcolonial SF as a distinctive subgenre of SF. The main critic referred to here is Darko Suvin and his definition of SF as a genre. Additional analysis is provided as to show how a postcolonial SF text is supposed to model and interpret two SF tropes – novum and cognitive estrangement – in order to establish Weller’s novel as a text that truly belongs to the sphere of postcolonial SF. The second part of the paper defines Land of the Golden Clouds as an Aboriginal text, pinpointing exact prerequisites the implied model reader should fulfil prior to his or her close-reading of the text. The last part of the paper discusses two particular groups of characters, namely the Keepers of the Trees and Prince Michael of the Ants, through which the concepts of hybridity and transculturation are defined. By observing these characters and analyzing them in detail, this paper provides a very specific argument as to how a postcolonial SF author models the novumin the text.

Item Type: Diploma Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: science fiction, postcolonial literature, Land of the Golden Clouds
Subjects: English language and literature
Comparative literature
Departments: Department of English Language and Literature
Supervisor: Polak, Iva
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2016 11:32
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2016 11:32

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