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neutropia is neutral utopia, a form of speculative fiction not bounded by up nor down values. On Failure and Revolution in Utopian Fiction and Science Fiction of the 1960s and 1970s

Darren Jorgensen

Ursula Le Guin’s The Dispossessed (1974) was a bestselling novel of its time, and remains a classic work of contemporary utopian fiction. De-spite its successes, utopian scholar Tom Moylan describes it as a “flawed” example of his own model of a critical utopian form particular to the 1970s.1 He considers Joanna Russ’s The Female Man (1975), Samuel Delany’s Triton (1976) and Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time (1979) to be more adequately critical, as they call into question the stasis of a “passively perfect society” with an “engaged, open, critical utopia.”2 This kind of self-reflexivity toward the closures of the utopian imagination was necessitated in the 1970s by the totalitarian tendencies of the twentieth century, as Nazi Germany, Stalin’s Soviet Union, Mao’s China and corporate America pro-claimed their utopian credentials but with little of the happiness and liberty that was supposed to accompany utopia’s realisation.3 The experimental, open-ended play of Piercy, Russ and Delany responds to this historical situation by dialogically interrogating the narrative conventions of closure, to push generic boundaries and negate the utopian claims of historical states.

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