Risky Business: Industrial Disaster and the Cost of Energy Extraction in Lisa Moore's February and Leo McKay Jr.'s Twenty-six
Our assumptions about the costs of industrial energy extraction underlie its discourse. Literature can create a space to question the validity of dominant paradigms. Lisa Moore’s February and Leo McKay Jr.’s Twenty-six, through their explorations of the 1982 sinking of the Ocean Ranger oil rig and the Westray coal mine explosion respectively, encourage readers to reconsider neo-liberal assertions that energy development is an absolute necessity and serves the common good. Beyond their mimetic representation of disasters, these novels are meditations on the ways in which people from a traditionally “have-not” region negotiate choices within an increasingly globalized, neo-liberal world. Both novels expand the idea of risk from that of individuals in dangerous workplaces to the more far-reaching impacts that energy development has on the places we live. They invite consideration of the degree to which we are prepared to offer up our home communities to development.