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.

The Postnational Fantasy Essays on Postcolonialism, Cosmopolitics and Science Fiction, Now Published and Available from McFarland!

UPDATE: The Postnational Fantasy now has its own page on here.

I am very pleased to announce the publication of The Postnational Fantasy: Essays on Postcolonialism, Cosmopolitics and Science Fiction, my first co-edited collection of essays with with my good friends and colleagues Masood Ashraf Raja and Swaralipi Nandi! Click here to purchase it directly from the publisher McFarland & Co or click here to purchase it from Amazon (they should receive copies soon).

Below, I have included the book jacket copy, editor biographies, and the table of contents.

The Postnational Fantasy: Essays on Postcolonialism, Cosmopolitics and Science Fiction

Edited by Masood Ashraf Raja, Jason W. Ellis and Swaralipi Nandi

Foreword by Donald M. Hassler

Print ISBN: 978-0-7864-6141-7

EBook ISBN: 978-0-7864-8555-0

notes, bibliographies, index

225pp. softcover 2011

Buy Now!

Price: $40.00

Available for immediate shipment

About the Book

In twelve critical and interdisciplinary essays, this text examines the relationship between the fantastic in novels, movies and video games and real-world debates about nationalism, globalization and cosmopolitanism. Topics covered include science fiction and postcolonialism, issues of ethnicity, nation and transnational discourse. Altogether, these essays chart a new discursive space, where postcolonial theory and science fiction and fantasy studies work cooperatively to expand our understanding of the fantastic, while simultaneously expanding the scope of postcolonial discussions.

Table of Contents



Part I: Postcolonial Issues in Science Fiction

1. Science Fiction as Experimental Ground for Issues of the Postcolonial Novel by MICHELE BRAUN

2. Truth Is Stranger: The Postnational “Aliens” of Biofiction by KAREN CARDOZO and BANU SUBRAMANIAM

3. Forms of Compromise: The Interaction of Humanity, Technology and Landscape in Ken MacLeod’s Night Sessions by ADAM FRISCH

4. The Language of Postnationality: Cultural Identity via Science Fictional Trajectories by CHRIS PAK

Part II: The Nation and Ethnicity in Science Fiction

5. The “Popular” Science: Bollywood’s Take on Science Fiction and the Discourse of Nations by SWARALIPI NANDI

6. Postcolonial Ethics and Identity in Mike Resnick’s Kirinyaga by JENN BRANDT

7. The Frontier Myth and Racial Politics by ÁNGEL MATEOS-APARICIO MARTÍN-ALBO

8. Dystopia and the Postcolonial Nation by SUPARNO BANERJEE

Part III: Towards a Postnational Discourse

9. Body Speaks: Communication and the Limits of Nationalism in Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis Trilogy by KATHERINE R. BROAD

10. Engineering a Cosmopolitan Future: Race, Nation, and World of Warcraft by JASON W. ELLIS

11. When “Nation” Stops Making Sense: Mexican and Giorgio Agamben’s “State of Exception” in Children of Men by STACY SCHMITT RUSNAK

12. Fantastic Language/Political Reporting: The Postcolonial SF Illocutionary Force Is with Us by MARLEEN S. BARR

About the Contributors


About the Editors

Masood Ashraf Raja is an assistant professor of Postcolonial literature and theory at the University of North Texas, and editor of Pakistaniaat: A Journal of Pakistan Studies. Jason W. Ellis is an English literature Ph.D candidate at Kent State University and holder of an M.A. in science fiction studies from the University of Liverpool. Swaralipi Nandi is an English literature Ph.D candidate at Kent State University, whose research focus is postcolonial literature and theory.

Also read the announcement on Masood Raja’s blog here.