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.
``With an introduction and twenty-five separate essays, Blast, Corrupt, Dismantle, Erase covers impressive ground.... The rewards of engaging the text as a whole are great.... The effect produced is one of cycling defamiliarization, a shuffling of imagined destinies and short-circuited hopes that comprise a dauntingly heterogeneous futurity.... Whether for teaching or research, I anticipate this collection will prove an invaluable reference, opening up new pathways and connections for those well versed in science fiction's dystopian variants as well as for those newly embarking down the pathways of the future.''- Brent Bellamy, English Studies in Canada, 40.2-3, January 2015
Not only does it have the coolest title, but Blast, Corrupt, Dismantle, Erase is also among the best-edited volumes on SF published last year … As a study of North American texts, it addresses the continent’s tri-lingual colonial heritage, including five essays on Spanish-language and two on French-language texts. Reasonably priced for its heft, rigorous in its approach, this volume offers an extended interrogation of how contemporary writers extrapolate the detrimental effects of neoliberalism, the ongoing vicissitudes of European colonization of the Americas, and the dehumanizing aspects of global capitalism. At the same time, it covers a staggering array of texts and writers; above all, like NAFTA itself, it seeks to erase the national borders that all too often artificially compartmentalize literary studies, ultimately decentring the US by forcing readers to rethink the equation US = America.- Amy J. Ransom, SFRA Review