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As a young scientist searches for a way to save a dying Earth, she finds a connection with a man who's racing to catch the last shuttle off the planet.

I've thought that "Earth" is always used with "the" when we're referring to the planet we're living on because it's a unique object and "the" can be substituted with "this" here. But in that sentence, there's an "a" as if they are talking about SOME Earth. What am I missing here? Thanks.

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  • Compare film trailers that use "in a world" followed by a dramatic situation: “In a world with gas, this is a land that prays for a hero...” Feb 24 '20 at 20:41
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By writing a dying Earth, the author is ensuring that the context of this work is understood as though there are many other possible kinds of Earth contexts that the reader may live in. Maybe it is less clear because there's only one Earth, so consider the following example:

Scooby Doo and his friends have arrived in a London under siege by aliens.

This isn't inviting the reader to consider other cities and towns named London around the world, but instead to imagine a context in which London, UK is under siege by aliens.

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  • It's not necessarily fictional, so much as a new way of seeing it. In Lord Arthur Savile's Crime, Oscar Wilde wrote "These rustics, too, with their rough, good-humoured voices, and their nonchalant ways, what a strange London they saw! A London free from the sin of night and the smoke of day..." - they are seeing London in a different way from how Lord Arthur sees it.
    – Colin Fine
    Feb 24 '20 at 20:53
  • Yes, I suppose that's the root of the concept, thanks. Feb 24 '20 at 21:53

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