Peter Paik: Is mass violence justified if it brings about a better world?

Peter Y. Paik, author of From Utopia to Apocalypse: Science Fiction and the Politics of Catastrophe, has an interview in this week’s ROROTOKO about science fiction (and speculative narratives) that portray political upheaval and revolutionary change. His book covers works across the board that include the graphic novel Watchmen; popular films such as the Matrix trilogy and V for Vendetta; the science fiction cinema of Jang Joon-Hwan; and the manga of Hayao Miyazaki.

Paik writes about what led him to write this book:

I had not undertaken any scholarly studies of science fiction or popular culture prior to writing this book—my graduate work had focused on the aesthetics of literary modernism. But the attacks of September 11 led me to embark on a project that would enable me to reflect on the uses and consequences of violence in political life. Although my book is not a study of how the terrorist attacks have influenced the production of certain films or the writing of certain literary texts, nevertheless, at its heart, this book is an examination of the relentless compulsions that underlie such fateful and destructive endeavors as imperial expansion, the control of access to scarce resources, and the anxious defense of an unsustainable status quo.

Read the entire ROROTOKO interview here.

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