Pirates, robbers, and mayan shamans: The terrible and fine allure of the spirits of capital

Published

Journal Article (Review)

This essay examines China Miéville's The Scar (2004) and Nalo Hopkinson's Midnight Robber (2000) alongside Fredric Jameson's work on "the desire called Utopia and other science fictions," in order to read an anthropological "social science fiction" from the post-genocide Maya highlands of Guatemala, involving a scam that promised half a million quetzals (about $70,000) to people who were deemed worthy by the Ajau or Earthparent (and who had contributed a small fee). Only Maya could participate, and those who created the wealth would get a bit of it. I argue that this situation was a form of postcolonial or global science fiction: An emergent form embarking from the point of view of the enslaved, the indebted, all those who work for nothing-a.k.a. "free" labor. Exploring Miéville's pirates, Hopkinson's robber queen, and Mayan shamanic investors together offers ways to think about the spirits of capital and their intensely ambivalent allure on this crisis-ridden planet. © 2000-2013 ITHAKA.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Nelson, D

Published Date

  • November 1, 2012

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 39 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 437 - 458

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0091-7729

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.5621/sciefictstud.39.3.0437

Citation Source

  • Scopus