The prism of petrol: drive, desire and the energy unconscious in Anna Kavan’s Ice
Keywords:energy unconscious, petroleum, petroculture, apocalyptic fiction, psycho-analysis
This essay argues that psychoanalytic modes of interpretation can help us understand and intervene in the blockages and fantasies hindering the exodus from fossil fuel use that contemporary science tells us is urgently necessary. A reading of Anna Kavan's 1967 science fiction novel Ice reveals an "energy unconscious" at work by which petroleum fuels a violent and masculinist resolution to the alienation and fragmentation experienced by the protagonists. Such interpretations allow us to recognize how culture and subjectivity are shaped by petroleum, opening a space to work towards framing new narratives and values.
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