ISSN: 20509790
First published in 2014
3 issues per volume
Volume 2 Issue 3
Cover Date: September 2015
To dock in on the future: Dystopic science fiction scenarios and urban sustainable visions
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Authors:  Gabriella Olshammar 
DOI: 10.1386/jucs.2.3.347_1

science fiction novels,utopia,dystopia,urban planning,City of Darkness,Lagos

In the future worlds of science fiction novels, societal and physical dilemmas are at least as pressing as those we encounter on Earth today. These novels show, by way of far-reaching technology and fantastic creativity, how the human race has overcome extraordinary physical, language and social challenges. Still, no matter how fictitious the portraits of extraterrestrial habitats or space travels, the narratives seem deeply attached to the worst imaginable breaches between affluent and poor. The images of glittering towers that stand side by side with self-made shacks are, in fact, not much different from documented inequalities and distressed living conditions on Earth. This article addresses how a handful of science fiction novels express something of importance about contemporary urban environments. The aim is to spur a consideration of urban sustainable visions, and the discussion delves into two rhetoric questions: what is so tempting about the frequently used settings, with their excessive divides between rich and poor? Further, might such dystopian and frightening fictions possibly be more effective to think about visionary plans for future cities than utopian ones?
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