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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.3/92382
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- Language as/of power: fate and free will in speculative fiction
- Allan, Joanne Lindsay
- The creative component of my doctoral thesis, The Ghost Waves, is a story that centres on the power of words. Set in alternate version of contemporary Australia, a worldwide organisation, SACER, seeks to control language and, by extension, the actions and beliefs of the wider world. Over recent years, the headquarters of SACER in regions around the world have been falling one by one, until the small Australian branch is the last one remaining. Within the wider organisation, two departments fight over the consequences of the power of words, one blaming the other for failed death prophecies that trap people in a limbo between life and death. The Ghost Waves explores these boundaries of life/death, and real/unreal, through the presence of the resultant zombies, people who exist in two alternate realities at the same time. Questions of fate and free-will are central to the story, as within this world words can be used to write destinies and even end lives. Two of the main characters, Idris and Orlagh, are counterparts from the opposing SACER departments, both struggling to prepare for their futures as heads of their respective departments. Circumstances throw them together and, with each other's help, they set about unravelling the mysterious disappearance of Áine, Orlagh's sister and Idris's friend. Two overlapping mysteries thread through the novel: Áine's disappearance, and the murder of a SACER agent. This death is notable because of the method - one that suggests someone has discovered the power over life and is able to literally inscribe a person's death. The race to discover who has this power is carried out under the looming threats of fear and retaliation that begin to tear apart SACER, while Idris and Orlagh's investigation brings them closer to discovering the truth. The accompanying exegesis, Language as/of Power: Fate and free will in speculative fiction, examines the themes of the novel. It explores how words can affect free will and fate, blur and transgress of boundaries and hold power through names. These ideas are located within the wider sphere of speculative fiction, a generic designation which is also examined. There is an online element to the story, where two characters communicate through internet chat rooms. The inclusion of new media within the story offers a chance to explore constructions of identity within cyberspace, as well as the new language that is evolving alongside technology.
- Publication type
- Thesis (PhD)
- Research centre
- Swinburne University of Technology. Faculty of Higher Education, Lilydale
- Publication year
- Australasian Digital Theses collection
- Copyright © 2010 Joanne Allan.