CHAPTER
11
Writing Feminist Futures

On July 4, 1976, "the Viking probe"--a man-made vessel--will send back pictures to earth to let man see if life is on Mars. For what reason? Man has not mastered his existence here on earth. He cannot live in harmony with his natural environment yet. . . . Man is the only creation that is out of order with the Universal Order of Things. ( Kenny Gambles, 1976, sleeve note to Dexter Wansel album Life on Mars)

I believe we must cope courageously and practically, as women have always done, with the here and now, our feet on this ground where we now live. But nothing less than the most radical imagination will carry us beyond this place, beyond the mere struggle for survival, to that lucid recognition of our possibilities which will keep us impatient, and unresigned to mere survival. ( Rich, 1980, p. 29)


MALE UTOPIA, FEMALE DYSTOPIA: THE ORIGINS OF FEMINIST FABULATION AND SPECULATIVE FICTION

There is a long tradition of writing about imagined and ideal societies, going back at least to Plato's Republic written in the fourth century B.C. Such literature is often called utopian, after one such ideal alternative society named Utopia by its author Thomas More (Utopia, the Best of Republics Sited in the New Island of Utopia, 1516). Plato's Republic was a rare instance among the texts of this genre to grant women equality. His imag-

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