This essay argues that science fiction (SF) is now the genre hosting the strongest form of realism, and that this is not at odds with the claim that SF is a preserve for the utopian impulse. Using Octavia Butler's Parable novels, this essay shows that, because today's mainstream of realist discourse is already shot through with unacknowledged utopian language, SF is an "epistemologically self-conscious" mode of representation because it avows its utopian effects. Though heavily stylized, Butler's Parable novels are best read as efforts to construct the real history of the 1992 Los Angeles Civil Unrest.


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