Spy fiction in the age of the global

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The figure of the spy is almost invariably tied to the concept of the nation and of the sovereign state – so much so that, as this chapter suggests, the removal of the state from the spy story would amount to what might be thought of as an ontological reconfiguration of the genre. ‘William Gibson’s Blue Ant trilogy – Pattern Recognition (2003), Spook Country (2007), and Zero History (2010) – effects just such a reconfiguration. The chapter traces the ways in which Gibson reimagines the figure of the spy in the age of the global and unearths the implications of this transformation. While the centrality of the nation-state has much to do with the conservativism that typically underpins spy fiction, the absence of the state in the Blue Ant trilogy’s global setting does not serve to transform a fundamentally conservative genre into a progressive one; rather, it points to something that is in fact more regressive: the emergence of a neo-feudal world.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobalization and Literary Studies
EditorsJoel Evans
PublisherCambridge University Press
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • spy fiction
  • William Gibson
  • globalisation
  • totality
  • neo-feudalism
  • Pattern Recognition
  • Spook Country
  • Zero History


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