A “funny” feeling : laughter and nostalgia in Alex Latimer’s The space race

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Peer-Reviewed Research


Alex Latimer’s The Space Race deploys the fairly conventional science fiction narrative where humans travel to the moon in search of a new home and, set in a post-apartheid context, the progressive possibilities of this search are exciting to consider. Yet, I argue, this future-oriented opportunity is – somewhat unwittingly – squandered in favour of a more nostalgic focus. Latimer uses the trope of space exploration to revisit the broken dreams of the Afrikaner volk whose goal of finding a home in South Africa has finally been thwarted by the post-apartheid era thus leading to a covert plan to colonise the moon. Latimer, wants us to laugh at the longings of the volk but the humour misfires, instead producing an uncomfortable state of disavowal that ultimately restores the nostalgic dreams of the volk by turning it into a science fiction prophesy.