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Defined by a Hollow

Essays on Utopia, Science Fiction and Political Epistemology


Darko Suvin

This volume incorporates Darko Suvin’s thinking on utopian horizons in fiction and on eutopian and dystopian readings of historical reality since the 1970s. While the focus is on the United States and the United Kingdom, the essays also draw on French, German and Russian sources. The book is composed of eighteen chapters, including four sets of poems. The chapters include heretic reflections on utopian fiction, science fiction and utopian studies, explorations of dystopias, and epistemological examinations of political standpoint. Throughout, plebeian history is the stance from which all the author’s value judgements are made. The essays and poems engage with the empirical world and identify areas of hope. In a dark dystopian time, they reaffirm eutopia, the radically better place to be striven for in every here and now.
Contents: Phillip E. Wegner: Preface: Emerging from the Flood in Which We Are Sinking: Or, Reading with Darko Suvin (Again) – Defining the Literary Genre of Utopia: Some Historical Semantics, Some Genology, a Proposal, and a Plea (1973) – «Utopian» and «Scientific»: Two Attributes for Socialism from Engels (1976) – Science Fiction and the Novum (1977) – Poems of Doubt and Hope 1983-1988 – Locus, Horizon, and Orientation: The Concept of Possible Worlds as a Key to Utopian Studies (1989) – On William Gibson and Cyberpunk SF (1989-1991) – The Doldrums: Eight Nasty Poems of 1989-1999 – Where Are We? How Did We Get Here? Is There Any Way Out? Or, News from the Novum (1997-1998) – Utopianism from Orientation to Agency: What Are We Intellectuals under Post-Fordism to Do? (1997-1998) – On Cognition as Art and Politics: Reflections for a Toolkit (1997-1999) – What Remains of Zamyatin’s We After the Change of Leviathans? Or, Must Collectivism Be Against People? (1999-2000) – What May the Twentieth Century Amount To: Initial Theses (1999-2000) – A Tractate on Dystopia 2001 (2001, 2006) – Seven Poems from the Utopian Hollow: Diary Notes of 2000-2005 – Living Labour and the Labour of Living: A Tractate for Looking Forward in the Twenty-first Century (2004) – Inside the Whale, or etsi communismus non daretur: Reflections on How to Live When Communism Is a Necessity but Nowhere on the Horizon (2006-2007) – Five Farewell Fantasies of 2006-2008 – Cognition, Freedom, The Dispossessed as a Classic (2007).