Dorothea Boshoff
University of Mpumalanga
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Becoming Alien(ated): A case study examining intimacy and loneliness in The Sentients of Orion by Marianne de Pierres
Dedalus 24 (2020), pp. 163-176. Download PDF

A textual analysis of physical and emotional intimacy (both positive and negative) in the science fiction series The Sentients of Orion by Australian author Marianne de Pierres reveals a link between loneliness and character motivation, and also between a lack of intimacy and the perceived level of threat posed to humanity by different alien races. This theme could initially be perceived as coincidental, but de Pierres develops the underlying thread of loneliness and social isolation in a way that is central to the plot. The paper sets out to demonstrate that de Pierres consciously and consistently focuses on the social, emotional and physical effects that loneliness or a lack of intimacy may have on different characters. Taking the four novels of The Sentients of Orion as a case study representing contemporary science fiction, this paper further aims to show how loneliness as a social phenomenon is increasingly being integrated into and explored through this popular genre.
Keywords: loneliness, science fiction, Marianne de Pierres, gender