ABSTRACT

This article discusses the politics of hope in N. K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy. Drawing on scholarship in utopian studies, science fiction studies, and Africana studies, it discusses the ways in which Jemisin uses two intentional community experiments depicted in the trilogy as “critical utopias” in order to work through problems involved in collective living, including the potentially anti-utopian aspects of these communities’ shortcomings. Ultimately, despite the apocalyptic setting that has attracted the most attention from critics, this article argues that The Broken Earth ultimately affirms the necessity of utopian hope, even amid anti-utopian circumstances, and as such is an important and timely political statement. In a historical moment marked by social and racial strife and, in the literary realm, by what Sean Guynes calls “dystopia fatigue,” Jemisin’s trilogy does not promise utopia, but insists on the need for hope in seemingly hopeless times, the “anti-anti-utopian” orientation described by Fredric Jameson.

You do not currently have access to this content.