Saving Utopia

  • Stefano Teatini

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Saving Utopia is a science fiction novel exploring the themes of diversity and communication, cooperation, and democracy. The novel is accompanied by a critical commentary which analyses issues connected to the building of a fictional world, new ways of interpreting the show-don’t-tell principle, and the possibility of writing utopian fiction today. Saving Utopia has a structure inspired by Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey, and it blends the rigor of science fiction with a fantasy flavour. It is set on planet Earth twenty millennia from now, it features the typical races of fantasy depicted as natural evolutions of humankind, and it has technology take on the role of magic. Its main plot revolves around the personal and sentimental growth of a couple of post-adolescent protagonists, as well as around the fight against a fascist regime that threatens destroying their social system and reverting its march towards democracy. Taking inspiration from comics, Saving Utopia experiments with the use of nonverbal language to elicit empathy and involvement in the reader. For this reason, text is brought as near as possible to picture: the images provided are immediate, thanks to a preference for parataxis and for a simple vocabulary. Saving Utopia is an attempt to recuperate the idea of utopia without incurring in a dystopia or losing action. I hope to show that a modern utopia should have a concrete character and include conflict despite its optimistic tone, focusing on perfectibility rather than on perfection. I also argue that it should prefer small actions to heroic deeds. Together, Saving Utopia and its companion commentary add up to a well established research on the possibilities of the show-don’t-tell technique, and even more to the exploration of a new aesthetic trend that, after years of pessimistic science fiction, seems to be introducing a preference for an optimistic approach
Date of Award2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorMatthew Francis (Supervisor) & Jowhor Ile (Supervisor)

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