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Utopian Effects, Dystopian Pleasures

Series:

Peter Fitting

Edited By Brian Greenspan

This collection brings together for the first time Peter Fitting’s writings about the utopian impulse as expressed in science fiction, fantasy, cinema, architecture, and cultural theory. These wide-ranging essays trace the constant reconsideration of the utopian project itself over the past four decades, from its mid-twentieth century period of decline to its revival in counter-cultural science fiction of the 1960s and ‘70s, its second decline with the «dystopian turn» in film, and the rise of feminist pessimism in the 1980s.

These pages reveal what popular utopian, dystopian, and science-fiction narratives tell us about today’s most pressing political issues, including gender equity, education reform, technological change, capitalist excess, state-sanctioned violence, and the challenges of effecting lasting political change. Through analyses of various popular genres and media, the author demonstrates how utopian visions written from particular political perspectives transcend narrowly partisan concerns to stoke our collective desire for another world and a more adequate human future, teaching us how to become the citizens and subjects that a utopian society demands.

</i>Peter Fitting is an emeritus Professor of French at the University of Toronto and the former Director of the Cinema Studies Program. Author of more than fifty articles on science fiction, fantasy and utopia—from critical analyses of the works of various SF and utopian writers (from P.K. Dick to Marge Piercy); to theoretical examinations of the reading effect in utopian fiction, the problem of the right-wing utopia, or gender and reading; to overviews of cyberpunk, feminist utopias and the turn from utopia in the 1990s, or the Golden Age and the foreclosure of utopian discourse in the 1950s; as well as articles on SF and utopian film and architecture. He has also completed a critical anthology of subterranean world fiction. He has had a long-time commitment to the study of utopia through his work with the Society for Utopian Studies (for which he has twice served as president).</i>