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From Tolkien to Star Trek and from Game of Thrones to The Walking Dead, imaginary worlds in fantastic genres offer us complex and immersive environments beyond capitalism. This book examines the ways in which these popular storyworlds offer valuable tools for anticapitalist theory and practice. Building on Hardt and Negri’s concept of Empire as a way of understanding globalization, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Politics shows how popular fantastic fiction has the potential of offering more than a momentary escape from capitalist realism in the age of media convergence and participatory culture.
The book approaches fantastic world-building as an ideologically ambiguous way of imagining alternatives to global capitalism. By approaching transmedia world-building both as a narrative form and as a growing industry derived from fan culture, it shows on the one hand the limitations inherent in the political economy of popular genre fiction. But at the same time, it also explores the productive ways in which fantastic storyworlds contain a radical energy that can give us new ways of thinking about politics, popular culture, and anticapitalism.