Planetary utopianism: geoengineering, speculative fiction, and the planetary turn

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This essay proposes the term planetary utopianism to name the imagination of a radically changed planet Earth in the future. Such utopianism is ecological at its core, for it implies the reconstitution of nature, as well as society. It’s also inextricable from a critique of capitalism insofar as the latter has become, in Jason W. Moore’s expression, a world-ecology. The essay focuses on geoengineering and on the representation of geoengineering in speculative fiction, especially Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future (2020). Such fiction speculates on the social and ecological possibilities opened up by reengineering aspects of the Earth system; it emphasises technological intervention, though in a manner that acknowledges ecological limits. Planetary utopianism responds to the climate crisis by turning the challenge of survival into an opportunity to reinvent human civilisation. The essay also engages with Holly Buck’s After Geoengineering (2019) and N.K. Jemisin’s ‘The Broken Earth’ trilogy (2015–2017) as examples of planetary utopianism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1343-1363
Number of pages21
JournalTextual Practice
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Literature and Literary Theory


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