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Worlds Apart. Criminal Cityscapes: Christopher Nolan’s Gotham

Luna's fifth Call for Papers, Worlds Apart: Worldbuilding in Fantasy and Science Fiction is now in pre-order and will be released on Tuesday 27th of July. Here is a chance to discover the 14 brilliant papers you will find in the book in the order they appear.

Today, we would like to introduce you to Rachel Jones, presenting the paper: "Criminal Cityscapes: Christopher Nolan’s Gotham"


Gotham City has been home to the comic book hero Batman since 1940 (Batman #4, Boltinoff, et al. 1940). Through various incarnations, the city has been portrayed as a gloomy, crime-ridden city of rich and poor, with a murky underbelly driven by greed and corruption. The forces of good are often outnumbered or inept, creating an opening for a law-breaking vigilante – Batman. This article examines the Gotham created by director Christopher Nolan in his trilogy of films – Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises. The paper’s intention is to explore worldbuilding in Nolan’s combination of architecture, cityscaping and cinematography and how it creates a Gotham where organised crime not only thrives, but is the natural state. In addition, the surroundings and streetscapes take the viewer into a dark, surreal vortex where the justice systems – most notably Arkham Asylum – encourage the mind to warp. In Nolan’s version of Gotham, this is seen through home- grown villains – Scarecrow, The Joker and Harvey Dent, in addition to Gotham’s Mob – and through Batman himself.

Rachel Jones considers herself a global citizen. Brought up in South Wales, she completed an MA in Geography at the University of Aberdeen, before moving to Finland to complete a Master’s degree in Urban Studies and Planning at Helsinki University. She is a sci-fi movie fanatic and in her spare time has acquired a Lego Star Wars Empire which she regularly likes to modify. Although she is generally on team Superman, Rachel has branched out to explore the world of Batman in her first Luna Press Call for Papers. Rachel also enjoys travelling, recently visiting Singapore, Estonia and Latvia and hopes to continue to do so in the future. She is currently studying Politics remotely at Brunel University London.

Worlds Apart: Worldbuilding in Fantasy and Science Fiction

is now in pre-order!


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