Science Fiction and Anticipation: Utopias, Dystopias and Time Travel presents ten chapters discussing themes related to time travel, utopias, and dystopias in science fiction novels published in America and Europe between the 18th and 20th century. These themes include social progress, freedom and human rights, technological advances, and the issues of ethics, racism, sexism, censorship, and slavery. The contributors analyze novels such as The Year 2440 published in 1771, Paris in the Twentieth Century written by Jules Verne, Blake; or, The Huts of America by Martin Robinson Delany, The Amphibian Man by Alexander Belyaev, Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov, Ashes, Ashes by René Barjavel, The Machine Stops by E. M. Forster, Morel’s Invention by Adolfo Bioy Casares, and writers of Spanish, Argentinian, English, and French fictions such as George Orwell, Eduardo Ladislao Holmberg and Leopoldo Antonio Lugones Argüello. This book notably presents their sources and influence, the accuracy of their predictions, and their relevance in our very unstable world.
Bernard Montoneri is independent researcher in Taiwan.
Chapter One: Mercier’s The Year 2440, a Dream and a “Thought Experiment”
Chapter Two: Origins of Hard Science Fiction: An Approach
Fernando Darío González Grueso
Chapter Three: Beyond Utopia: The Dystopian Capitalist Society in Paris in the Twentieth Century (1863)
Murielle El Hajj
Chapter Four: With Second Sight and Afro-pessimism: The Im/Possibility of Black Utopia in Martin R. Delany’s Blake; or, The Huts of America
Chapter Five: The Phenomenon of Human-Animal Hybridization in Russian Science Fiction of the 20th Century
Chapter Six: Barjavel, Ravage: roman extraordinaire (1943)
Bernard Montoneri and Murielle El Hajj
Chapter Seven: Dystopia as the First-person World: Rereading E. M. Forster’s The Machine Stops as a Pandemic Novel of a Global Society
Chapter Eight: Orwellian Themes and Echoes in Today’s World—A Perspective
Chapter Nine: The 19th Century American Socialism: A Vision of A Future Utopia
Majed S Al-Lehaibi and Bernard Montoneri
Chapter Ten: The Invention of Morel, a Projection on Dreams and Immortality
Miguel Ángel González Chandía
Appendix: Some key titles in science fiction
About the Editor and Contributors
This book is a landmark work of literary studies. Science fiction, as the name implies, usually evokes an impression of a scientific aspect that is far removed from human nature, but this book suggests that this notion is not accurate. In particular, Chapter 3, which deals with dystopian fiction, addresses issues of human rights and discrimination against African Americans. This book offers a new perspective on the field of literary studies.
A timely and increasingly relevant study, Science Fiction and Anticipation: Utopias, Dystopias and Time Travel not only contributes significantly to what is a diverse and compelling field of research, but also delves into the SF genre’s metamorphoses in our COVID-19 world. In its analyses of Proto SF to 20th century SF texts, this study draws exciting parallels between our present reality and those imagined, not-so-distant, futures.
This volume’s ten chapters by contributors from around the world makes an effective case for the literary, cultural and even philosophical importance of science fiction. Its explorations of key themes and ideas range across the varied modes of the genre, exploring its cross-fertilizations with realism, fantasy, children’s literature, the detective and the adventure novel. Underscoring these analyses are questions concerning the very terms with which modernity addresses its present and future. Particularly impressive is how each chapter addresses science fiction’s Promethean warnings of the dangers of technological and positivist overreach, and how these infect capitalism with a utilitarianism that would strangle not only social advancement but also the arts themselves. One key argument of the volume is that dystopias emerge in response to a utopian text’s implicit critiques of capitalism’s amplification of the Industrial Revolution’s inequities. Also impressive is the wealth of information about the authors, texts, genre definitions, subgenre distinctions, critical responses, and the depth of historical and cultural contextual detail.