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Literary Criticism General

Blast, Corrupt, Dismantle, Erase

Contemporary North American Dystopian Literature

edited by Brett Josef Grubisic, Gisèle M. Baxter & Tara Lee

Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Initial publish date
Jun 2014
General, Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic, Books & Reading
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    Publish Date
    Jun 2014
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    Publish Date
    May 2014
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In Blast, Corrupt, Dismantle, Erase, twenty-five contributors investigate how dystopian fiction reflects twenty-first century reality, using diverse critical methodologies to examine how North America is 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, William Gibson, and many others, 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 discourse over the same period.

By asking questions like “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 resituates dystopian writing within a particular geo-social setting and introduces a productive means to understand both North American dystopian writing and its relevant engagements with a restricted, mapped reality.

About the authors

Brett Josef Grubisic teaches contemporary literature at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. His most recent book of fiction is This Location of Unknown Possibilities (2014). He is the author of Understanding Beryl Bainbridge, 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).

Brett Josef Grubisic's profile page

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.

Gisèle M. Baxter's profile page


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.

Tara Lee's profile page

Editorial Reviews

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.

SFRA Review

''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.''

English Studies in Canada, 40.2-3, January 2015

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