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Salvaging Utopia: Lessons for (and from) the Left in Rivers Solomon’s An Unkindness of Ghosts (2017), The Deep (2019), and Sorrowland (2021)

Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton, Park Avenue, Winchester SO23 8DL, UK
Humanities 2021, 10(4), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10040109
Received: 8 June 2021 / Revised: 23 September 2021 / Accepted: 27 September 2021 / Published: 8 October 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Post-Utopia in Speculative Fiction: The End of the Future?)
In response to this special issue’s question of whether mainstream science fiction has become stuck in presentism and apocalypticism, this article examines how utopia is expressed and salvaged in the work of Rivers Solomon. Using three of Solomon’s novels and the theoretical lenses of black utopia studies and salvage-Marxism, I suggest that scholars and activists should approach this question from a different perspective. While Solomon’s novels may seem dystopian from the perspective of liberalism or whiteness, they can also clearly be placed within the long, if marginalized, history of leftist and black utopian thought. Likewise, where the ‘traditional’ utopia (a concept I interrogate) is often imagined as grounded in hope and futurity, black utopia and salvage-Marxism reject these concepts as counterproductive to the actual work of social justice and utopia-building. Despite their presentism and apocalypticism, then, I argue Solomon’s novels are very much utopian: they simply locate their utopian desire in radical kinship and salvage, rather than universalism or futurity. View Full-Text
Keywords: salvage; salvage-Marxism; salvagepunk; black utopia; utopia and dystopia; science fiction; desire; Afrofuturism; universalism; radical kinship salvage; salvage-Marxism; salvagepunk; black utopia; utopia and dystopia; science fiction; desire; Afrofuturism; universalism; radical kinship
MDPI and ACS Style

de Bruin-Molé, M. Salvaging Utopia: Lessons for (and from) the Left in Rivers Solomon’s An Unkindness of Ghosts (2017), The Deep (2019), and Sorrowland (2021). Humanities 2021, 10, 109. https://doi.org/10.3390/h10040109

AMA Style

de Bruin-Molé M. Salvaging Utopia: Lessons for (and from) the Left in Rivers Solomon’s An Unkindness of Ghosts (2017), The Deep (2019), and Sorrowland (2021). Humanities. 2021; 10(4):109. https://doi.org/10.3390/h10040109

Chicago/Turabian Style

de Bruin-Molé, Megen. 2021. "Salvaging Utopia: Lessons for (and from) the Left in Rivers Solomon’s An Unkindness of Ghosts (2017), The Deep (2019), and Sorrowland (2021)" Humanities 10, no. 4: 109. https://doi.org/10.3390/h10040109

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