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Demand the Impossible

Science Fiction and the Utopian Imagination


Edited By Tom Moylan

Although published in 1986, Demand the Impossible was written from inside the oppositional political culture of the 1970s. Reading works by Joanna Russ, Ursula K. Le Guin, Marge Piercy, and Samuel R. Delany as indicative texts in the intertext of utopian science fiction, Tom Moylan originated the concept of the «critical utopia» as both a periodizing and conceptual tool for capturing the creative and critical capabilities of the utopian imagination and utopian agency. This Ralahine Classics edition includes the original text along with a new essay by Moylan (on Aldous Huxley’s Island) and a set of reflections on the book by leading utopian and science fiction scholars.


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Introduction to the Classics Edition ix Acknowledgments xxix Chapter 1 Introduction: The Critical Utopia 1 PART ONE Theory 13 Chapter 2 The Utopian Imagination 15 Chapter 3 The Literary Utopia 29 PART TWO Texts 51 Chapter 4 Joanna Russ, The Female Man 53 Chapter 5 Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed 87 Chapter 6 Marge Piercy, Woman on the Edge of Time 115 vi Chapter 7 Samuel R. Delany, Triton 149 Chapter 8 Conclusion 187 Additional Material (2014) 205 Chapter 9 “And we are here as on a darkling plain”: Reconsidering Utopia in Huxley’s Island 207 Chapter I0 Reflections on Demand the Impossible 227 Raffaella Baccolini, Introduction 229 Lucy Sargisson, A Breath of Fresh Air 231 Peter Fitting, Demand the Impossible and the Imagination of a Utopian Alternative 232 Andrew Milner, Tom Moylan’s Demand the Impossible 236 Lyman Tower Sargent, Miscellaneous Reflections on the “Critical Utopia” 242 Kathi Weeks, Timely and Untimely Utopianism 248 Gib Prettyman, Extrapolating the Critical Utopia 251 Ruth Levitas, We Argue How Else? 257 Antonis Balasopoulos, The Negation of Negation: On Demand the Impossible and the Question of Critical Utopia 263 Ildney Cavalcanti, Very Inspiring – and Still Highly in Demand 270 Phillip E. Wegner, Musings from a Veteran of the Culture Wars; or, Hope Today 275 Raffaella Baccolini, Preserving the Dream 283 Tom Moylan, A Closing Comment (For Now At Least) 287 vii Notes to the First Edition 293 Bibliography of the First Edition 307 Index 321 Ralahine Classics Utopia has been articulated and theorized for...

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