Ngapo, Kathryn Anne Reremoana
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This thesis is comprised of an exegesis “What if: A Thought Experiment” and a novel The Cystmaster - Part 1: The Tunnel Boy (referred to hereafter as The Cystmaster). The Cystmaster is the first draft of a science fiction novel and it is aimed at a young adult audience. It explores a post nuclear society 300 years in the future and attempts to revisit the ecological science fiction writing of the sixties and seventies which was resurrected by writers such as Kim Stanley Robinson in his 1990s Mars series. Both the exegesis and the novel examine the tension between Utopia and Dystopia – the novel dealing with the dynamics of existence and ethics in a radioactive world where food and genetic material are commodities to be offered and traded in a no ownership, anarchistic society. The Cystmaster is also a coming of age, love story illustrating the role of adolescents in a society where the guiding imperative is one driven by a collective guilt at the human destruction of the world 300 years earlier. Everyone is attempting to regrow the Earth. Because some people live in highly radioactive environments, those in more benign environments give genetic material, food and other resources to try and balance this equity equation and to ensure world peace. The sacrificial role imposed by this sort of society creates tensions and a loss of choice as well as questions of ethics concerning the roles of children and adolescents. However in striving for a better world, people on the new Earth are drawn together and the general impulse is utopian. The exegesis attempts to define what constitutes science fiction and compares themes and ideas in The Cystmaster to other science fiction novels. To a lesser extent the exegesis also looks at how relevant the novel may be for its intended young adult audience. Aspects of the author’s process are also discussed including some of the difficulties experienced.