Photo: Duarte Amaral Netto

Some Years From This Exact Moment: Ambivalent Dystopian Science Fiction Satire

Luke Holmaas

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Abstract | This article investigates the relationship between satire and science fiction in three films: The Running Man, Southland Tales, and Gamer. Building on the work of sci-fi scholars such as Darko Suvin and Vivian Sobchack, as well as film scholars such as Steven Shaviro, Dan Harries, and Johan Nilsson, it proposes that these films, and others like them, are best understood as “ambivalent dystopian science fiction satires,” a term that effectively captures their combination of clear satiric critique and a celebratory, questionably satirical use of exaggeration and excess. By examining how each of these films utilize intertextuality and excessive stylistic techniques to create their satire, it hopes to better understand how these films can function as both striking satire and “trashy” entertainment, and why this ambivalence may help to account for their frequent critical and scholarly dismissal.

Keywords | dystopia; satire; Gamer (2009); Southland Tales (2007); The Running Man (1987)