This essay examines the impact that scenario planning has had on recent South African fiction. It first investigates how the popular use of scenario planning disseminated certain ideas about the timescale of infrastructural growth. These ideas, I argue, were vital tools in eliciting a consensus for structural adjustment policies among South Africa’s ruling elite. The essay’s second half then turns to Lauren Beukes’s science-fiction novel Zoo City. Beukes’s novel, I show, mimics scenario planning’s approach to capitalist time, but it does so in order to suggest that scenario planning misses the deeper, contradictory modes of temporality that inhere in infrastructure.


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