Val Nolan, Fiction writer, Academic and critic recently addressed the annual Nordic Irish Studies Network conference in Aalborg University, Denmark (the 2014 theme: ‘Ireland and the Popular’). The presentation was derived from his current research on the topic of Irish Science Fiction (as distinct from Fantasy).

As part of the presentation, he proposed that Science Fiction in an Irish context serves as a crucial if neglected bridge between ‘folk culture’ and ‘mass culture’, between ‘high culture’ and ‘popular culture’. He sought to present Irish SF as a space of extraordinary, multi-faceted encounters between readers and imagined developments in science, a space in which meanings of identity, history, gender, sexuality, and subjectivity are problematized. The presentation aimed to show that, with the nation’s long history of strange visitors and contentious futures, there is a great deal in Irish literature identifiable as Science Fiction (hardly a shock to those of us who read and write SF, but often a surprise to those with narrower literary or scholarly perspectives). Indeed, if there were ever a cultural and historical context which lent itself towards alternative histories or alien invasions, it is Ireland’s.

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