The Petrofictionary is a preliminary mode of archiving words and concepts that assist in the study of petrofiction: literary figurations of petroleum, the most important energy source of the twentieth and (so far) twenty-first centuries. The Petrofictionary addresses both the more visible (often intense contested and violent) aspects of oil production, and the less evident, entrenched ways in which petroleum shapes our everyday lives. It takes seriously Imre Szeman’s assertion that “petrocarbons structure contemporary social life…oil is ontology, the structuring ‘Real’ or our contemporary sociopolitical imaginary.”
The Petrofictionary was created as a collaborative project by the students in English 7087: Petrofictions, at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and edited by Amy Donovan under the guidance of Dr. Fiona Polack. It is intended as an archive, a tool, and a source of both information and inspiration as we consider the wide-reaching implications of petroleum culture and speculate about new modes of human existence after oil.