This volume incorporates Darko Suvin’s thinking on utopian horizons in fiction and on eutopian and dystopian readings of historical reality since the 1970s. While the focus is on the United States and the United Kingdom, the essays also draw on French, German and Russian sources. The book is composed of eighteen chapters, including four sets of poems. The chapters include heretic reflections on utopian fiction, science fiction and utopian studies, explorations of dystopias, and epistemological examinations of political standpoint. Throughout, plebeian history is the stance from which all the author’s value judgements are made. The essays and poems engage with the empirical world and identify areas of hope. In a dark dystopian time, they reaffirm eutopia, the radically better place to be striven for in every here and now.
Essays on Utopia, Science Fiction and Political Epistemology
On the Poetics and History of a Literary Genre
Edited by Gerry Canavan
Returning to print for the first time since the 1980s, Metamorphoses of Science Fiction is the origin point for decades of literary and theoretical criticism of science fiction and related genres. Darko Suvin’s paradigm-setting definition of SF as «the literature of cognitive estrangement» established a robust theory of the genre that continues to spark fierce debate, as well as inspiring myriad intellectual descendants and disciples. Suvin’s centuries-spanning history of the genre links SF to a long tradition of utopian and satirical literatures crying out for a better world than this one, showing how SF and the imagination of utopia are now forever intertwined. In addition to the 1979 text of the book, this edition contains three additional essays from Suvin that update, expand and reconsider the terms of his original intervention, as well as a new introduction and preface that situate the book in the context of the decades of SF studies that have followed in its wake.