Science Fiction and the Utopian Imagination
Edited By Tom Moylan
Chapter 2: The Utopian Imagination
The effectively ideological is also, at the same time, necessarily Utopian. — FREDRIC JAMESON
Be realistic, demand the impossible.
— WALL SLOGAN (Paris, May 1968)
The revival of the utopian impulse in the latter half of the twentieth century may seem useless in the face of the cooptation of utopia by consumer capitalism on one hand and the destruction of a hopeful future by the threat of nuclear holocaust on the other. In these days of false promises, hard times, and dire fears, utopia often is unable to find a place in people’s imaginations or actions. Yet, since the 1960s especially, the utopian impulse has played an important role in the politics and culture of the many movements opposed to society as it is structured by the modern phallocratic capitalist system and the bureaucratic state. The power of subversive imagining to move people beyond the present toward a more fulfilling future is now expressed and understood as a more complex mechanism than those writing and working for radical change during the last wave of utopian discourse in the 1890s might have experienced.
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