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Utopianism, Relativism, Cultural Imperialism: Mike Resnick’s Kirinyaga

  • Jeffrey Allen TuckerEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

Resnick’s Kirinyaga is a novel set in a twenty-second-century terraformed planetoid within Earth’s solar system. Its inhabitants are Kenyans who left an ecologically devastated Earth to pursue the pre-colonial way of life of the Kikuyu people as an intentional community in outer space. Koriba, Kirinyaga’s narrator, is an elderly storyteller who was exiled back to earth after his people accepted modern technology, despite his insistence they maintain traditional customs. As a white American writing about native Africans, Resnick has generated controversy by potentially asserting an uncritical form of cultural relativism. This essay demonstrates how philosophical stances regarding utopianism factor in the novel and demonstrate the relevance of Kirinyaga to debates about the pursuit of the ideal societies.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EnglishUniversity of RochesterRochesterUSA

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