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Nostalgia for Infinity: New Space Opera and Neoliberal Globalism


This doctoral dissertation argues that contemporary postcolonial literature from and about the Caribbean, Scotland, and India responds to American and British popular genre fiction, specifically the subgenre known as New Space Opera, in allegorizing the neoliberal processes, conditions, and experiences of globalization in the world-system. My project discusses works by postcolonial authors who have yet to receive theoretical investigation from this perspective, including Iain M. Banks, Karen Lord, and Nalo Hopkinson, as well as important transatlantic SF authors whose work has yet to be discussed in terms of globalism including Samuel R. Delany, M. John Harrison, Gwyneth Jones, Bruce Sterling, and C.J. Cherryh. I argue that these often critically neglected space-opera novels reconfigure for our times the conventional trappings of traditional space opera -- such as such as faster-than-light starships, galactic empires, doomsday weapons, and dramatic encounters with exotic aliens -- to reflect and refract the global dimensions of our neoliberal and postcolonial world-system transfigured by contemporary technoculture. Consequently, I argue that New Space Opera novels address and intervene in sociopolitical and historical developments specific to the cultures in which they are written. New Space Opera written from Scottish, Indian, and Caribbean perspectives interrogates the interweaving of nation-states and transnational culture, especially in connection with the rapidly accelerating technological, social, and economic changes facing our planet today.

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