The Postnational Fantasy Reviewed in SFRA Review 298

The Postnational Fantasy: Essays on Postcolonialism, Cosmopolitics, and Science Fiction, a collection of essays that I co-edited with my friends and colleagues Masood Raja and Swaralipi Nandi, received its first review in the SFRA Review 298 by Rikk Mulligan available online here.

About the book, Mulligan writes, “As part of McFarland’s series of critical explorations in science fiction and fantasy (SF/F), this collection of twelve essays analyzes works ranging from novels and short stories to films and computer games, through the combined lenses of postcolonialism, nationalism, globalization, and cosmopolitanism and the theories of SF/F criticism.”

He goes on to make the following recommendation: “Overall these essays are engaging and encompass a variety of concepts that consider not only a multicultural (or semi-homogenized) global postnationalism but also preserve space for Creole and Mestizo identities as dynamic hybridities. . . . This collection does lend itself easily to in- terdisciplinary work and situates well with similar volumes such as Rieder’s Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction (2008), Hoagland and Sarwal’s Science Fiction, Imperialism and the Third World (2010), and from outside SF, Singh and Schmidt’s collection, Postcolonial Theory and the United States (2000). Given the number of shared sources and similarity of arguments, these essays would provide a valuable resources for an upper level literature seminar that uses SF/F to frame issues of globalization and nationalism in an American, Transatlantic, or Regional Studies approach.”

In addition to discussing some of the other essays in the collection, I was happy to read his comments on my essay, ” “: “Jason W. Ellis plays with expressions of cosmopolitan and individual identities in his elaboration of character creation and player choices available through the MMORPG World of Warcraft. Ellis mixes Kant with transnational systems of communication and interaction to argue for the ability of virtual interactions to move individual players (and fans) toward a cosmopolitan consciousness and interaction. (He did leave me wondering about the role of trans-faction groups in the game, such as the Earthen Ring, and their effects on cosmopolitan identity.)”

I wrote my essay included in the collection, “Engineering a Cosmopolitan Future: Race, Nation, and World of Warcraft” about 2.5 years before the book appeared, so I was not able to accommodate the changes made to the game with the Cataclysm upgrade (Blizzard released Cataclysm while we were in the editing process so I could not make any changes to my essay). I wish that I could have wrote about The Earthen Ring that Mulligan references, because it does have cosmopolitan potentiality.

I am a professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on 20th/21st-century American culture, science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology.

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Who is Dynamic Subspace?

Dr. Jason W. Ellis shares his interdisciplinary research and pedagogy on DynamicSubspace.net. Its focus includes the exploration of science, technology, and cultural issues through science fiction and neuroscientific approaches. It includes vintage computing, LEGO, and other wonderful things, too.

He is an Assistant Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY (City Tech) where he teaches college writing, technical communication, and science fiction.

He holds a Ph.D. in English from Kent State University, M.A. in Science Fiction Studies from the University of Liverpool, and B.S. in Science, Technology, and Culture from Georgia Tech.

He welcomes questions, comments, and inquiries for collaboration via email at jellis at citytech dot cuny dot edu or Twitter @dynamicsubspace.

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