Science Fiction and the Utopian Imagination
Edited By Tom Moylan
Chapter 8: Conclusion
We need to make the creation of prefigurative forms an explicit part of our movement against capitalism. I do not mean that we try to hold an imaginary future in the present, straining against the boundaries of the possible until we collapse in exhaustion and despair. This would be utopian. Instead such forms would seek both to consolidate existing practice and release the imagination of what could be.
— SHEILA ROWBOTHAM
No literary text can be read so as to achieve a full understanding of its unique place in the world, for the web of relations and forces in which text and reader are situated is complex and shifting and prevents a final and complete reduction. “The thing itself always escapes,” says Derrida. What we are left with is a reading of a certain group of novels done at a particular time with a particular analytical/interpretive grid from the perspective of a particular historical and personal sensibility. The utopian novels discussed in the previous pages could have been approached separately in terms of the oeuvre of each author; they could have been read generically in more limited terms as science fiction, or feminist, or fantasy; some would be tempted to read them as examples of the “commie-fag-braburning-hippie decadence” of the 1960s that threatens the moral majority of modern-day America. That I chose to look at them from within the changing tides of a literary genre which seemed to have gone out of business...
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