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Demand the Impossible

Science Fiction and the Utopian Imagination

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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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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.

“This is a book for our time. In an age of individual self-enhancement schemes and neo-liberal apologies for unjust and unequal structures, it urges us to imagine a world of justice, freedom, and dignity for people and living things. It says: May your dreams be bold, your desires unfettered, and your commitment to a better world shared. Demand the Impossible!”

Angelika Bammer, Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Humanities, Emory University

“When this groundbreaking and oddly dis-entimed book first appeared, it recalled the possibilities of the past that Thatcher and Reagan were eradicating – not as nostalgic anamnesis but as an invocation of futures not yet shut down. In the darker days of neo-liberal hegemony, fracturing everywhere yet monstrously persisting, Demand reappears as anagnorisis – a future-oriented radical memory, a trace of what could have been and an invocation...

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