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Extreme Places as Sites of Ecological Exploration: Postmodern Wilderness in Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam

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Keywords: Margaret Atwood; Climate Change; Canadian North; Hyperreality; MaddAddam.

This article mainly focuses on Margaret Atwood's fictionalization of the Mackenzie Mountains in the "Bearlift" episode of "MaddAddam" (2013), the last novel in the "MaddAddam" trilogy. The Canadian mountain range between Yukon and the Northwest Territories provides a literary niche for the author to explore the Canadian North and its changing climatic conditions. Atwood also uses it as a symbolic field to undertake a postmodern exploration of the altered conditions of wild places as opposed to anthropic places. The literary imagination has often used extreme places on geographical maps as the setting for the human struggle against hostile nature that most often defeats the undaunted explorers. In recent years, technological progress has turned these places into the most tangible manifestation of anthropogenic ecological crisis. Climate change fiction (cli-fi), within the much broader and longer tradition of science fiction, has become a consistent branch of contemporary literature that deals with the threats posed by anthropogenic climate change and Atwood's trilogy certainly belongs to this current. The Bearlift episode provides an example of the complex implications of a changing environment within the broader theme of ecological discourses and in light of postmodernist theories.

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