• Maria Lynge Johansen Pedersen
4. term, English, Master (Master Programme)
In this thesis, I examine how authors Weis and Hickman approach transtextuality and possible worlds narrative in order to comment on the genre of fantasy and on 1990s American social anxieties in their fantasy dystopian series The Death Gate Cycle. It is a close reading genre study of all seven novels in the aforementioned series which I analyze using Gérard Genette’s theory of transtextuality and Marie-Laure Ryan’s theory of possible worlds. I analyze how hypertextuality and intertextuality are present in the series and how these support the series’ narrative, genre commentary, and social commentary. Then I analyze how the social commentary is woven into the intertextuality and the dystopian storytelling, as well as how it connects to the context of 1990s America. I also go into the epitext surrounding the authors, such as author interviews, to solidify my analysis on these points. Finally, I briefly comment on the reception that the series has had on its readers to close up the examination of the reader effects of said use of intertextuality and dystopian elements.
The Death Gate Cycle did some extraordinary things with intertextuality and with a fantastical dystopian possible worlds narrative. It uses these to comment on religion, racism, slavery, industrialism, unionizing, science, war, and climate change from a 1990s American point of view. The series also uses these as a genre commentary by subverting the typical expectations for a Tolkienesque fantasy epic and turning it dystopian. But The Death Gate Cycle is more a product of its culture, rather than having had any great influence or impact upon it. It was not the next The Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, in that it did not change public perception of fantasy literature in any way. It is considered by fans to be an underrated fantasy series—an obscure 1990s gem in an oversaturated market that pumps out fantasy series after fantasy series.
Publication date2 Jun 2021
Number of pages60
ID: 413092517