Envisioning unreal utopias

by Henry Farrell on June 17, 2010

John Gray on the disappearance of utopian dreams of social reform in science fiction “here”:http://www.newstatesman.com/fiction/2010/06/human-life-world-science-city. His taste in SF is excellent and he has several good lines.

bq. The role of science has been to gauge the limits of the species, with new technologies and extra-planetary environments being used as virtual laboratories for an ongoing thought experiment. If the mainstream novel employs the lens of the commonplace career – birth and education, marriage and divorce, ambition and failure – SF has pursued the inquiry by abducting the human animal and placing it in alien environments.

is particularly nice. It captures real (if not universal) differences without fetishizing the one as better than the other.

However, the main argument seems to me to say more about John Gray than it does about the genre he is writing about. [click to continue…]