The C21st Novel: Securing or Securitising Space

Activity: External talk or presentationOral presentation


The ‘space’ of our title refers at once to social or geo-political space, and to the space of the novel in the twenty-first century. We will explore not how the novel attempts to map the twenty-first century’s contradictory conjuncture of uncertainty and (frequently violent) certainty but rather how the novel attempts to formally relate forces and affects within the maps of social space it posits.
Our subject novels are William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition (2003 – the first in Gibson’s ‘Blue Ant Trilogy’), and Tom McCarthy’s Satin Island (2015). We will treat these two novels as exemplary of their respective sub-genres - the thriller and ‘literary fiction’. These two sub-genres are of interest because they are both thoroughly globalised yet rely on the intensities of locally situated experience for their mode of address or style. Moreover as novels within sub-genres sufficiently confident of their conventions they aspire to a totalising representation of the world yet to speak also of the formal dilemma this confidence drives them to: not the older dilemma of how to ‘only connect’ but how to relate.
Period24 Sept 2015
Event titleBloomsbury C21 Conference - Writing and Insecurity: Writing the Twenty-first Century 24-25 Sept 15
Event typeConference
LocationBrighton , United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Novel Studies
  • Critical Theory
  • Genre
  • William Gibson
  • Tom McCarthy