Ken McLeod Roundtable Discussion!

Philip Wegner
“Ken MacLeod's Permanent Revolution:
Utopian Possible Worlds, History, and the Augenblick in the Fall Revolution”

Wednesday, May 25
5:00 PM, Oakes Mural Room


The Science Fiction Research Cluster presents a roundtable discussion of recent work on Scottish science fiction author Ken MacLeod’s Fall Revolution series by and with the University of Florida’s Phillip Wegner. This series, argues Wegner, “represents not only one of the most interesting recent utopian visions, but also an attempt to rethink the very nature of the political act and agency within an emerging global reality.” Wegner explores issues of narrative structure in conjunction with the Lukácsian Augenblick and argues “that MacLeod’s fiction gives voice to the kinds of political energies that we see expressed in the then emerging counter-globalization movement and in the theoretical writings of Zizek, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, and Badiou, among others. Thus, utterly shattering any vision of rigid historical determinism and opening up the historical closure posited by Fukuyama and others, MacLeod’s utopia becomes that of the future as ‘permanent revolution,’ one wherein we are once again endowed with the power, and responsibility, to act as political subjects.”

Suggested Readings:

1. Slavoj Zizek's afterword in Georg Lukács' A Defense of History and Class Consciousness. (Verso, 2001)

2. Ken McLeod The Sky Road (1999) [fourth book of the Fall Revolution series] --- MacLeod indicates that this series can be read in any order.

3. Tom Nairn on Hardt and Negri's Multitude in the latest issue of The London Review of Books 27, no. 9 (May 5, 2005)


Phillip E. Wegner is Associate Professor of English at the University of Florida, where he teaches twentieth-century literature, narrative theory, critical theory, and cultural studies. He received his PhD from the Literature Program at Duke University (1993), where he was a Mellon Fellow in the Humanities. Professor Wegner is the author of Imaginary Communities: Utopia, the Nation, and the Spatial Histories of Modernity (University of California Press, 2002). His most recent or forthcoming essays include, “Spatial Criticism: Critical Geography, Space, Place, and Textuality,” in Introducing Criticism at the Twenty-First Century, ed. Julian Wolfreys (Edinburgh University Press, 2002); “Soldierboys for Peace: Cognitive Mapping, Space, and Science Fiction as World Bank Literature,” in World Bank Literature, ed. Amitava Kumar (University of Minnesota Press, 2002); and “Where the Prospective Horizon is Omitted: Naturalism and Dystopia in Fight Club and Ghost Dog,” in , eds. Tom Moylan and Raffaella Baccolini (Routledge).

Please contact Leigh Fullmer for copies of the Zizek afterword (

Sponsored by the Science Fiction Research Cluster