top of page

Worlds Apart. The sociopolitical implications of worldbuilding in speculative fiction

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 Sébastien Doubinsky, presenting the paper: "Freedom Is Slavery: The sociopolitical implications of worldbuilding in speculative fiction"


Worldbuilding is, if we consider myths a part of literature, as old as the written word. Imagining other worlds, or ages, strange creatures and supernspeatural heroes is the very fabric of what we call “fiction”. From King Arthur’s Avalon to the West visited by Sun Wukong and his allies, many worlds have been built and destroyed. Some of these world also reflect religious, philosophical or political concerns: Plato’s “Atlantis”, Thomas More’s “Utopia”, Rabelais’s “Thélème” or Jonathan Swift’s “Liliput” are classic examples. Since then, Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, Yevgeny Zamyatin, Le Guin, Abdouramahn Waberi, J. S. Breukelaar, Eugen Bacon, and myself have explored and built worlds that are not only a background for a fictional narrative, but also serve as a political commentary. With this specificity, “worldbuilding” appears through another angle, in which the political becomes a meaningful and essential element. The constructed world’s “politics” thus becomes the blueprint of the fiction instead of the reverse. Using examples in classics of speculative fiction and contemporary writers, I will try to reflect upon the implications of such consciously orientated worldbuilding and its implications for what we call our everyday “reality” and for the reader, not as a passive agent of culture, but as a fully conscious citizen. Sébastien Doubinsky is a bilingual French dystopian writer and academic. He is the author, among others, of The Babylonian Trilogy, The Song Of Synth, White City and Missing Signal. His latest novel, Missing Signal, published by Meerkat Press, won the Bronze Foreword Reviews Award in the sci-fi category. His new novel, The Invisible, a dystopian noir, was published in August 2020, also through Meerkat Press. He currently teaches French literature, culture and history at the university of Aarhus, in Denmark.

Worlds Apart: Worldbuilding in Fantasy and Science Fiction

is now in pre-order!


bottom of page