"On the receiving end of the colonization":1 Nalo Hopkinson's 'nansi web

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Abstract

In the 1980s, cyberpunk helped to revitalize interest in science fiction among academic and popular audiences. The genre offers a singular vision of the imminent production and deployment of technology in the service of capitalism writ large. In this essay, I argue for a broader vision of cyberpunk, including the novels of authors situated "on the receiving end of the colonization," particularly Nalo Hopkinson, whose future visions render visible current socio-economic inequities and increase the cultural repository of ideas that inspire technological development. Nalo Hopkinson's Midnight Robber (2000) fashions unconventional scenarios premised on technological development and provides unorthodox versions of future societies. Hopkinson combines English with Trinidadian and Jamaican creole, "hacking" a language that recalls the histories of the middle passage, slavery, and imperialism. Her characters break and create code, "hacking" in speech as well as through their conceptions of community. Centered on a feminine Artificial Intelligence commanding a planet and its inhabitants, Midnight Robber challenges the genre conventions of cyberpunk, revealing its ideological underpinnings, and complicates popular accounts of the intersections of gender, technology, and corporate presence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-282
Number of pages21
JournalScience-Fiction Studies
Volume34
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory

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