Nuclear Gothic

Nuclear Gothic

Textual and Cultural Fusions

By Helena K Bacon

Anthem Studies in Gothic Literature

Nuclear Gothic investigates the previously unexplored congruities that lie between gothic forms and modes and nuclear cultures and techno-sciences; it aims to read Western nuclear fictions in relation to their Japanese counterparts and through a cohesive critical framework that examines atomic processes, nuclear fictions and specific historical and cultural moments.

Hardback, 250 Pages


September 2023

£80.00, $125.00

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About This Book

There has been a cohesive cultural response from Japan to the atomic bomb and its radiological consequences: cultural icon Godzilla, awakened by radiation, has been imagined repeatedly as a manifestation of the monstrous power of nuclear weapons and their after-effects. Though studies by Joseph Siracusa, Joyce A. Evans and David Dowling address various representations of atomic power in literature and film, critical engagement regarding nuclear cultures has still primarily been political, ecological or scientific in focus, with limited work available on fictional and imagined nuclear texts and narratives. By reading Western, and particularly American, conceptualisations of atomic power (whether actual or imagined) as gothic, and by situating them in relation to their Japanese counterparts, Nuclear Gothic aims to rectify this critical dispersion and cultural gap. By compiling a working field of nuclear-gothic examples across various fields, it also seeks to provide an interdisciplinary study of nuclear narratives as viewed through a specific critical lens, surveying atomic processes, nuclear fictions and specific historical and cultural moments as instances and products of the gothic mode. 

Using a range of criticism that stretches across American history, postmodernism, international relations, scientific studies and the gothic, Nuclear Gothic will examine the interrelation and enmeshment of the nuclear and the gothic, accounting for operative similarities; Japanese nuclear fictions; nuclear journalism, non-fiction and science writing; horror cinema; eco-fiction, modern ruins and depictions of literally and metaphorically contaminated landscapes; and nuclear testimonies, cultural moments and textual memorials. Through exploring these areas within a specific gothic framework, accounting for the gothic’s adaptable yet repetitive forms, the text will suggest that the nuclear and the gothic modally draw towards each other, and that the gothic has, again and again, been the primary means we employ to understand and interpret the nuclear, from the first uranium mines all the way through to current nuclear energies and technologies.


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Author Information

Helena Bacon has taught at multiple universities throughout the United Kingdom and has published across fields including the gothic, literature and science, film and television, and eco-fiction.


Anthem Studies in Gothic Literature

Table of Contents

Introduction – Gothic Nuclear/Nuclear Gothic; Chapter One – We call him Godzilla: Japan’s Nuclear Fictions; Chapter Two – Nuclear Terror: Uranium as Gothic Monster; Chapter Three – Radiological Horror: Mutant Memories in Horror Cinema; Chapter Four: Irradiated Landscapes; Part One; Part Two.


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