According to conventional academic wisdom, the Western utopian tradition began in 1516 with the publication of Thomas More’s Utopia. Since that point, utopian writings in the West have followed a curiously sensible path. Despite occasional flights of fancy, literary explorations of alternate worlds have generally stayed within the realm of the possible. The descriptions of the good life in the rational, egalitarian societies anticipated by More, Wells and Marx as well as the dystopian visions of persistent human irrationality and imminent self-destruction predicted by Swift, Huxley and Orwell always ‘displayed a certain sobriety, a certain wish to walk in step with current realities’.1 Utopian writers have foreseen the kinds of technological wonders, totalitarian systems and ecological disasters that had not yet occurred but appeared likely to occur soon, given the conduct of contemporary societies and elites.