“Evolution Takes Love:” Tracing Some Themes of the Solarpunk Genre
This project aims at examining some of the core themes and concerns of Solarpunk, a newly emerging genre. Placing Solarpunk in contrast to one of its nearest literary predecessors, Cyberpunk, I work to unify the disparate definitions of the Solarpunk genre, while examining the ways in which it departs from its Cyberpunk roots while retaining a radical critical mode. By mapping and defining some of Solarpunk’s primary concerns in this way, this project aims to set the groundwork for additional critical work on the Solarpunk genre, providing a foundation from which other scholars may work. Throughout the thesis I work primarily with the four English language Solarpunk anthologies, Solarpunk: Ecological and Fantastical Stories in a Sustainable World, Wings of Renewal: A Solarpunk Dragons Anthology, Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation, and Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Summers. In Chapter One, I examine the interrelationship of social ecology, technological progress, and social progress with questions of community and society, in order to demonstrate the ways in which Solarpunk promotes its ideal, social ecology inspired future. In Chapter Two, I build on the generic interest in progress in order to examine Solarpunk’s optimistic treatment of the posthuman in relation to questions of physiological and capitalist consumption, and fears over the loss of humanity.