How can the speculative imagination help us build a better world?
At a world-historical moment of global upheaval, speculative writing is enjoying a renaissance. This collection of poetry, stories, and essays engages speculation as both a ubiquitous feature of financial capitalism and a radical tool of collective imagination. By rejecting dominant ideas about what is possible, speculation empowers us to plot new paths to a more just world.
Creative works range over violence and healing, memory and erasure, and alternative worlds, while essays span the meaning of land and community in the African diaspora, Octavia Butler’s speculative fiction, and the ethics of the far future. Taken together, these works suggest that speculation is ultimately about our relationships with each other—as one contributor puts it, “what they have been, what they are, and most important, what they could be.”
The Origin of Cow Therapy
The stones are endlessly weeping in the dark. Or is it
the bird-chatter of rain. O darling, are you writing
another poem about trees? No, not trees but ghosts
that live on trees and their legend of never-let-gos.
Unleashing Nightmares: Octavia Butler’s Heart of Darkness
In his new book, philosopher William MacAskill implies that humanity’s long-term survival matters more than preventing short-term suffering and death. His arguments are shaky.