The Affinity for Utopia: Erecting Walls and Building Bridges in Robert Charles Wilson’s The Affinities
Robert Charles Wilson’s The Affinities (2015) is arguably his least “science-fictional” and most “grounded” novel, set in a largely contemporary Toronto. It nonetheless exploits a key novum that extrapolates technological advances and their impact on the sociopolitical present: the emergence of “Affinities,” social groups organized around genetic markers that provide their members with an almost-immediate intimacy and sense of connection with otherwise perfect (non-)strangers. Murphy’s essay examines both the utopian and dystopian potential of a social structure offered as an alternative to the contemporary nation-state, as well as Wilson’s transnational approach to his protagonist’s developing sense of identity within and without his “Affinity.” It contextualizes its arguments in the current US and Canadian political climates.
KeywordsRobert Charles Wilson The Affinities Utopianism Teleodynamics Transnationalism Eusociality
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