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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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Chapter 10: Reflections on Demand the Impossible



When we decided (alas, I must admit, a few years ago) to work on a new edition of Tom Moylan’s Demand the Impossible, in the Classics section of the Ralahine Utopian Studies series, we felt that the regularly updated Introduction that accompanies each new edition would not be “enough” for what was supposed to be the twenty-fifth anniversary edition. Therefore, besides writing a new Introduction, Moylan also added a chapter on Aldous Huxley’s Island, a novel that has been read as a possible precursor of the critical utopia. However, as we neared what would be a thirty-year anniversary, we felt the need to offer not only Tom’s reexamination in the Introduction, but also a reassessment of the text by some of the colleagues who over the years had engaged most with Moylan’s work. We thus decided to invite ten scholars, from different fields and universities, to participate in a virtual discussion, not only of Demand the Impossible, but of Tom’s new material as well. The ten colleagues are Antonis Balasopoulos (University of Cyprus, Cyprus), Ildney Cavalcanti (Universidade Federal de Alagoas, Brazil), Peter Fitting (University of Toronto, Canada), Ruth Levitas (University of Bristol, UK), Andrew Milner (Monash University, Australia), Gib Prettyman (Penn State Fayette, US), Lyman Tower Sargent (University of Missouri-St. Louis, US), Lucy Sargisson (University of Nottingham, UK), Kathi Weeks (Duke University, US), and Phillip E. Wegner (University of Florida, US). ← 229 | 230 →

The following virtual conversation collects the thoughts and reflections of friends...

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