1st Edition

Unlocking the Future The Urban Imagination in Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction

By Luo Xiaoming Copyright 2023

    The book highlights the urban imagination in contemporary Chinese science fiction, in order to assess the capacity of Chinese society to conceive of the future.

    The author argues that ‘the future’ is a set of directional and normative ideas that forms the basis of the entire social mobilization mechanism in China, while the capacity to imagine the future is likely to be produced in response to the present challenges. By discussing the urban space, the reconstruction of time, the infrastructure, and concepts of the 'urban-rural' and civilization in contemporary Chinese science fiction, she demonstrates how contemporary Chinese sci-fi may offer potential solutions to ways of ‘unlocking’ the future. In addition, she also points out the limitations of Chinese society’s imaginative vision of the future.

    The book will be of interest to scholars and postgraduate students of modern Chinese literature, science fiction studies, urban studies, or cultural studies.

    1 The Divided City: Imagining the Urban in Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction  2 Time as Variation: "China Speed" and Synchronic Illusions  3 ‘Urban Malaise’ and the New Infrastructures of City Life  4 When the Future Gazes at Urban–Rural Relations in China  5 Alternative ‘Civilizations’  6 Unlocking the Future: Characterizing "Hope" in Contemporary Chinese Society


    Luo Xiaoming is an associate professor working in the Program in Cultural Studies of Shanghai University. Her research interests are urban culture, social space in everyday life, and contemporary Chinese science fiction. She is also the chief editor of the online journal Refeng Xueshu (2017–2021).