The Heavy Sky
: Apocalypse and the Necrocene

  • Samuel Higson-Blythe

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


There are many understandings of apocalypse, and herein I explore these understandings in an extract from a pre-apocalyptic eco-novel entitled The Heavy Sky. Making use of Biblical literature, namely Revelation, The General Epistle of James and Geza Vermes’ The Dead Sea Scrolls In English (1998), The Heavy Sky presents an apocalypse in the modern day. This apocalypse aligns with Justin McBrien’s understanding of the Necrocene, which he pitches as our current epoch defined by capitalism’s dominance and its capability to cause extinction, and thus the novel seeks to represent what Nixon terms ‘slow violence’: ‘convert[ing] into image and narrative disasters which are slow moving’ (Nixon, 2011, p. 3). Throughout The Heavy Sky, capitalism is pitched as the cause of the end of the world through the use of imagery from Biblical literature, parallels between the text and the poetry of the New Apocalypse (as collected by Keery in Apocalypse (2020)) and the use of apocalypse as metaphor, which Lawrence Buell claims to be ‘the single most powerful master metaphor that the contemporary environmental imagination has at its disposal’ (1996, p. 285).
Date of Award16 Jan 2024
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorStephen Ely (Main Supervisor) & Todd Borlik (Co-Supervisor)

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