HDR Confirmation Presentation: William 'Gil' Douglas - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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HDR Confirmation Presentation: William 'Gil' Douglas

We would like to invite you to attend the Confirmation Presentation of William 'Gil' Douglas, a Doctor of Philosophy candidate in the School of Social Sciences.

Thesis Title: The Poor Love Principle: Mythic Narrative in Transrealist Futures Fiction

When: Tuesday, 30 June 2020, 2pm-3pm 

Where: This presentation will be held via zoom.

Link: https://usc-au.zoom.us/j/99015464798

Meeting ID: 990 1546 4798


When fictional characters are dislodged from realist constraints in a queered confabulation, a mythic dimension opens to enhance the performative author function and character agency. Mythic character constructions enhance transrealist fiction, where permeable boundaries between layered fictive planes facilitate multiple, perspectival intersections across fiction and reality. When the pretentions of realist fiction are imbued with fantastic aspects, normative existential realities become destabilised, creating sites for innovative expansions of narrative potential. Using mythic representational character types adds meta levels to conventional identity narratives, inviting a complex interaction between authors, their characters and the audience, to negotiate creative performative systems of self-expression. Mutable mythic transreal elements dislodge the fixity of timespace historicity to produce futures fiction that reveals the transnarratives connecting and underpinning assumed systems of identity nested in worldview values and beliefs, which can then be receptive to change. Modern and postmodern performative productions that successfully play with these metafictional potentialities indicate that a sophisticated understanding of queer creative capacities for emergent character/identity narratives already exists for contemporary media-literate consumers. Authors can exploit these familiar propensities to bring a plurified interstitial awareness to the perception of fictive and real-world existence into the cultural imaginary of the transmodern era, where characters develop a self-determining agency in an evolving expression of the transilient self.

Research question: The research will produce a novel of 60,000 words in sixteen chapters divided into four acts, and a 15,000 word critical essay. The Poor Love Principle novel, a work of creative futures fiction, and the accompanying academic essay respond to the research question:
How can transilient performative character types be devised and employed in transrealist narrative using queer mythic identity constructs to create agential change within the transmodern cultural continuum?

Research aims
The aim of this project is to investigate and write mythic characters who can navigate fictional virtuality to achieve agency within their permeable, constructed frames. All fiction can be considered virtual, simulating actual world environments from textual or cinematic symbols using styling, verisimilitude and narrative story elements (Banks 2008; Eriksson 2016; Lodge 1996). When the deceptive devices of realist narratives are augmented or superseded, however, to be replaced with a celebration of interactive changeability across virtual boundaries, fluid power differentials between the creator and the created are activated.
The proposed creative artefact will demonstrate how the relations between author, character and audience can become dynamic and progressive to empower character agency and prosocial real-world change. The accompanying critical essay draws on narrative, performance, futures and queer theory to reflect and expand on the conceptual ideas in the research question. Critical theoretical engagement with futures methodologies that delve deep into existential narratives (Inayatullah 2008; Bussey 2014) and queer performative concepts that confound stable identity constructs (Butler 1988; Halberstam 2011) intersect with metafictional creative writing devices in order to contribute new knowledge to transrealist, transmodern and posthumanist discourse for open, resonant, alternative and sustainable futures.
Analysis in the essay does not use close reading and textual analysis of published texts. Rather, the effective uses of transrealist writing techniques are identified and discussed in a variety of exemplars to illustrate the conceptual and theoretical elements affecting and contributing to the narrative developments. The creative artefact, The Poor Love Principle, integrates these transgressive and motile functions to create adaptive character types, some of whom become aware of their constructed reality and challenge author-ity, reworking their narratives into sustainable empowered futured creations. This creative and scholarly research project combines writing techniques with innovative theoretical concepts and methodologies to contribute knowledge concerning identity and reality narrative potentials in the transmodern era, establishing a new form of transfictional enterprise: futures fiction.


Gil Douglas has worked in the creative industries as a performer, creative director and producer for many years and has a degree in Creative Writing (Hons 1) from the University of the Sunshine Coast, graduating with an academic medal and the Chancellor’s medal. He holds a Masters in Writing, Editing and Publishing from UQ and is currently exploring the myths that underpin human realities for his PhD dissertation. He teaches History and Sociology in the School of Social Sciences at USC, and Communication in the Tertiary Access School. Elsewhere, Gil teaches creative writing, and performs at spoken word gatherings on the Queensland sunshine coast, winning at the major regional ‘Bunker’ competition two years running.

We look forward to seeing you there!

School of Social Sciences