Digital Cultures and Speculative Environments: Science Fiction Roundtable // Talk by Esko Suoranta

Arts Lecture Room 4
Wednesday 5 February 2020 (16:00-18:00)

The Centre for Digital Cultures is delighted to host a roundtable on science fiction and a talk by Esko Suoranta (University of Helsinki)

4pm-5pm: Science Fiction Roundtable

Join our expert panel as they reflect on infrastructure and environment in science fiction. The speakers include Jayde Martin (University of Birmingham), Ben Horn (University of Birmingham), George Cox (University of Nottingham) and Adam Edwards (University of Birmingham).

5pm-6pm: Invited Speaker Esko Suoranta (University of Helsinki)

Title: Container Ports and Complex Catastrophes: A Case for Some Affordances of Technonaturalism

The complexity and weirdness of the contemporary moment present a unique challenge for artistic representation. How to devise fictional narratives that could address the way in which life in the 21st century is steered by such complex and vast forces as digital capitalism, climate change, or other distinct features of the Anthropocene?

In his talk titled “Container Ports and Complex Catastrophes: A Case for Some Affordances of Technonaturalism,” Esko Suoranta presents contemporary speculative fiction as a genre that employs distinct techniques to gesture toward that which is difficult to narrate. He argues for an understanding of these novels as technonaturalist as they both foreground the complex materialities digital capitalism depends on and engage in social criticism of their circumstances. Further, Suoranta suggests that such fictions generate cognitive affordances with which readers can think and engage what is difficult to grasp or apprehend.

Speaker Bio: Esko Suoranta works on his dissertation on contemporary speculative fiction at the Department of Languages at the University of Helsinki. He has published on the contemporary novels of William Gibson, on surveillance capitalism in Malka Older’s Infomocracy, and has a chapter on the dystopian and utopian impulses in Thomas Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge forthcoming.


The afternoon will conclude with a broader discussion, and invite shared dialogue on the topic and related themes. This event is free to attend and will be followed by a drinks reception. All are welcome - we hope to see you there!

Culture and collections

Schools, institutes and departments

Services and facilities