Genre hybridisation in the feminist short stories of Margo Lanagan & Synchronisation
This thesis explores how Margo Lanagan employs multiple genre conventions and tropes to create fictional worlds and new narrative discourses around issues of feminism, historical representation, national identities in her short fiction. It is comprised of research and a creative component. The creative component will implement the techniques and genres explored in the discussion of Lanagan’s short stories.
Margo Lanagan is an Australian author whose fiction blends genres and appeals to both young adults and adults. Several scholarly essays have focused on her young adult novels; however, her short fiction has not received the same attention. This paper aims to begin closing this gap by examining Lanagan’s shorts stories, with a specific focus on how Lanagan manipulates multiple genre conventions to create narratives that resist easy genre classification. While the scholarship of science fiction and fantasy texts creates a false dichotomy between the modes, writers often combine genres, and sub-genres, from either side of this divide. Lanagan’s stories exemplify this trend as they all bridge science fiction and fantasy. In order to discuss these texts then, one must draw from both sides of the existing scholarship. Lanagan is a consciously feminist writer, and this is an aspect of the analysis of these narratives. It is fruitful to combine research approaches in order to explore the full breadth of Lanagan’s creative expression.
This thesis examines a selection of Lanagan’s short fiction using close reading in combination with feminist theory and genre theory. These narratives build complex secondary worlds while also engaging with contemporary issues through their plots and characters. Through this investigation, this thesis will show how Lanagan manipulates genre at a textual level and what effect that manipulation has on how the narrative engages with social issues. This thesis's research is accompanied by a creative work titled “Synchronisation” and a short reflective essay discussing the interaction between the research and the creative process.