Futures dreaming outside and on the margins of the western world

I. Milojevic, S. Inayatullah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, we challenge the hegemony of western science fiction, arguing that western science fiction is particular even as it claims universality. Its view remains based on ideas of the future as forward time. In contrast, in non-western science fiction the future is seen outside linear terms: as cyclical or spiral, or in terms of ancestors. In addition, western science fiction has focused on the good society as created by technological progress, while non-western science fiction and futures thinking has focused on the fantastic, on the spiritual, on the realization of eupsychia-the perfect self. However, most theorists assert that the non-west has no science fiction, ignoring Asian and Chinese science fiction history, and western science fiction continues to 'other' the non-west as well as those on the margins of the west (African-American woman, for example). Nonetheless, while most western science fiction remains trapped in binary opposites-alien/non-alien; masculine/feminine; insider/ outsider-writers from the west's margins are creating texts that contradict tradition and modernity, seeking new ways to transcend difference. Given that the imagination of the future creates the reality of tomorrow, creating new science fictions is not just an issue of textual critique but of opening up possibilities for all our futures. Science fiction has always been nearly all white, just as until recently, it's been nearly all male (Butler as quoted in Ref. [1]). Science fiction has long treated people who might or might not exist-extra- terrestrials. Unfortunately, however, many of the same science fiction writers who started us thinking about the possibility of extra- terrestrial life did nothing to make us think about here-at home variation-women, blacks, Indians, Asians, Hispanics, etc [1]. Is all science fiction western? Is there non-western science fiction? If so, what is its nature? Does it follow the form and content of western science fiction, or is it rendered different by its own local civilizational historical processes and considerations? Has western science fiction moulded the development of the science fiction of the 'other', including feminist science fiction, in such a way that anything coming from outside the west is a mere imitation of the real thing? Perhaps non-western science fiction is a contradiction in terms. Or is there authentic non-western fiction which offers alternative visions of the future, of the 'other'?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-507
Number of pages15
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


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