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Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions Paperback – April 17, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-1844675388 ISBN-10: 1844675386

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 431 pages
  • Publisher: Verso (April 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844675386
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844675388
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #374,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Archaeologies of the Future is certainly among the most stunning studies of science fiction ever produced ... a vast treasure trove of a book, crammed with brilliant apercus ... Jameson is one of the world’s most eminent cultural theorists, but he is also a peerless literary critic in the classical sense of the term.”—Terry Eagleton, London Review of Books

“Jameson’s skill in connecting diverse materials and theories, the suggestiveness of many of his insights and his passionate conviction make this an exciting book.”—Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

Fredric Jameson is Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature at Duke University. The author of numerous books, he has over the last three decades developed a richly nuanced vision of Western culture’s relation to political economy. He was a recipient of the 2008 Holberg International Memorial Prize. He is the author of many books, including Postmodernism, Or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, The Cultural Turn, A Singular Modernity, The Modernist Papers, Archaeologies of the Future, Brecht and Method, Ideologies of Theory, Valences of the Dialectic, The Hegel Variations and Representing Capital.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Alan Wingo on May 1, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A non-apologetist review of the science fiction genre through the eyes of America's leading postmodernist thinker. You will need to bring your knowledge of the Western Canon and contemporary philosophy with you in order to fully appreciate this text. Its division into books I and II enables regular science fiction readers to access straight forward reviews in Book II.

Expect to learn from this book and don't expect him to enshrine SF into the Western Canon but rather to provide you with an understanding of the zeitgeist of the history of the genre and ourselves. Authors reviewed range from Dick to Robinson, Brunner to Le Guin. With a focus on utopianism and dystopia the subjects covered are sex and society, aliens and psychoanalyst, and the motifs and mechanics of this writing field.

Jameson also remarks on the differences between hard science fiction and fantasy. He clearly traces the link between the utopian members of the Western Canon and the rise of science fiction's paraliterature, and the societal needs for these works and their roots in the human collective conscienceness. He also notes the limits of critical literature and the "drift" of high literature into the domain of science fiction in recent years as a result of our postmodern condition and the limits of critical literature to deal with the disassociative nature of the contemporary experience.

The reader will be left with an understanding of the genre, our times, and our historical basis. He or she will also be perplexed as to how science fiction was replaced by fantasy as the popular literature of our times at the same moment it matured as a literary entity.
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful By TREAT on January 5, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book provides a thorough exploration of the concept of utopia throughout history and builds the foundation for the postmodern era's vision of the ideal community.
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5 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Autonomeus on December 17, 2013
Format: Paperback
"Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it."

Frederic Jameson is well-known as a marxist literary theorist. He is published by Verso Books, which is dedicated to disseminating marxist writings. Given that position, I hold Jameson to Marx's stance in his 11th Thesis on Feuerbach, quoted above. I found virtually nothing in this book that I can use as a tool or as inspiration to change the world. It may be considered an impressive work of literary critique by specialists, but for those of us outside the field who look to Jameson as a source of marxist theory rather than just literary theory, ARCHAEOLOGIES OF THE FUTURE is not worth reading.

I read most of it while sitting in a coffee shop in central Berlin on Karl-Liebknecht-Straße, near Alexanderplatz and what was once the center of East Berlin in the DDR (East Germany). From where I sat I looked directly out across the street at the Marx-Engels Forum, statues of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. I kept at it, plowing through Jameson's atrocious prose, hoping for a turn for the better that never came. (I have a Ph.D. and have no problem with dense academic writing, but Jameson is practically unreadable.)

His political judgement is dubious -- why is full employment progressive, but a guaranteed basic income is reactionary? Is he not familiar with the extensive literature and activism for a basic income in Europe, for instance the excellent book Basic Income: The Material Conditions of Freedom?
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