Dependence on the whale: multispecies entanglements and ecosystem services in science fiction

Green Letters 23 (2019): 54-67

Abstract: This article analyses how four science fiction stories frame whale endangerment and salvation as a problem of ecosystem service loss: Arthur C. Clarke’s The Deep Range (1957), Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), the Doctor Who episode ‘The Beast Below’ (2010), and T.J. Bass’s The Godwhale(1974). It uses the four categories of the scientific concept of ecosystem services as a way of understanding the types of possible values to humans of multispecies entanglements. By projecting how severing multispecies ties or exposing fractures and disjuncture in current multispecies webs might result in dystopian tomorrows, science fiction gives us insights into how those relationships are currently valued and evaluated.

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