Archive Trouble: Endgame, science fiction, and the limits of extinction

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In an era when the possibility of species extinction is more importunate than ever, Beckett’s 1958 play, Endgame, carries a profound sense of immediacy. This article considers the ‘afterlife’ subtended by the play in terms of its post-apocalyptic premise— traditionally, the provenance of the science fiction genre. Using Adorno’s 1961 reading of Endgame, which brushes aside any filiations with “childish science fiction,” the argument pivots on the ‘paring-down’ operations that deprive the drama of most of its resources. Since the latter includes the archivising operations of memory, their breakdown makes the play’s insistent sf allusions both inescapable and radically untenable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-120
Number of pages15
JournalSamuel Beckett Today - Aujourd hui
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2021


  • Endgame
  • afterlife
  • science fiction
  • extinction
  • post-apocalypse
  • T. W. Adorno
  • Afterlife
  • Extinction
  • Science fiction
  • T.W. Adorno
  • Post-apocalypse


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