Blast, Corrupt, Dismantle, Erase
Contemporary North American Dystopian Literature
Paper 450 pp.
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What do literary dystopias reflect about the times? In Blast, Corrupt, Dismantle, Erase, contributors address this amorphous but pervasive genre, using diverse critical methodologies to examine how North America is conveyed or portrayed in a perceived age of crisis, accelerated uncertainty, and political volatility.
Drawing from contemporary novels such as Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, and the work of Margaret Atwood and William Gibson (to name a few), this book examines dystopian literature produced by North American authors between the signing of NAFTA (1994) and the tenth anniversary of 9/11 (2011). As the texts illustrate, awareness of and deep concern about perceived vulnerabilities—ends of water, oil, food, capitalism, empires, stable climates, ways of life, non-human species, and entire human civilizations—have become central to public discourseover the same period.
By asking questions such as “What are the distinctive qualities of post-NAFTA North American dystopian literature?” and “What does this literature reflect about the tensions and contradictions of the inchoate continental community of North America?” Blast, Corrupt, Dismantle, Erase serves to resituate dystopian writing within a particular geo-social setting and introduce a productive means to understand both North American dystopian writing and its relevant engagements with a restricted, mapped reality.
Brett Josef Grubisic teaches contemporary literature at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He is the author of Understanding Beryl Bainbridge as well as the novel The Age of Cities. He is the co-author (with David L. Chapman) of American Hunks: The Muscular Male Body in Popular Culture, 1860–1970 and co-editor (with Andrea Cabajsky) of National Plots: Historical Fiction and Changing Ideas of Canada (WLU Press, 2010).
Gisèle M. Baxter has taught in the English Department at the University of British Columbia since 1997. Her research interests include near-future dystopias, the Gothic inheritance, children’s/YA literature, and British modernism. Her publications, talks, and media work address topics such as Spanish Civil War narratives, vampires, zombies, Internet culture, women in music, and Peter Pan. She is writing a novel.
Tara Lee teaches in the Department of English at the University of British Columbia. Her teaching and research interests include media and technology, science fiction, critical race theory, and contemporary minority Canadian literature. She also works as a freelance writer and broadcaster for a variety of local and national publications.
By the same editor
National Plots: Historical Fiction and Changing Ideas of Canada, Andrea Cabajsky and Brett Josef Grubisic, editors