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Hope Is the New Punk: Politics Of Storytelling, Queerness and Marginalized Communities in Becky Chambers’ The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet (pp. 27-46)

Beatriz Hermida Ramos

Universidad de Salamanca


With the coining of Henry A. Giroux’s concept of ‘educated hope’, hopefulness has been defined by postcolonial and decolonial scholars as a survival strategy against vertical systems of power, and arguably, as a source of agency (2014, 38). Nevertheless, hope is not the only emotion or affect that has been theorized to be a political form of resistance. In 2016, Judith Butler explored the notion of ‘radical vulnerability’, arguing that it was vital for marginalized communities (that category referring to those who have been historically kept at the margins) to exercise it as a way to contest the cisheteropatriarchal and capitalist system. This article examines if these emotions and affects truly constitute an act of agency, and how they are intertwined with each other as well as with storytelling, because literature has been employed by ‘the other’ as a tactic to build places of contestation and subversion (Lorde, 2017, Walker, 1994). Moreover, this analysis will prove that the transformative capacities of storytelling are vital to the margins in a way that is unique to them and that is simultaneously connected with the ideas of community and vulnerability, due to their subaltern positioning. In order to do so, I will focus on the literary genre of ‘hopepunk’ (quote) and its socio-political implications, as well as the capacity of literature to help to imagine and create better realities through a sense of community and solidarity. In particular, I will focus on Becky Chamber’s The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, (2015) a USA science fiction novel that deals with the intersection of queerness and hope, as well as the interaction between both in relation to Giroux and Butler’s theorization.

Keywords: hope; science fiction; vulnerability; queerness; storytelling.


Beatriz Hermida Ramos is a senior student at the University of Salamanca. In the realm of English studies, she mainly focuses on examining the relationship between language and power, as well as the fields of linguistics, discourse analysis and gender and sexuality studies. She is also a published poet.

e-mail address: bhermidaramos@gmail.com


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