Published online by Cambridge University Press: 12 August 2021
Chapter 7 directs critical attention to contemporary narratives that are coalescing in popular technology discourses that imagine climate crisis as an occasion to expand on structures of capitalism. This narrative template – whose leitmotif is making rather than saving nature – turns away from what Ramachandra Guha termed “varieties of environmentalism” in celebrating technological acts of inventing, designing, and rebuilding biophysical worlds. It begins by addressing the parallel emergence of a high-tech planet and a planet in peril as divergent stories of global capitalism. It then examines two visions of remaking the planet: geoengineering and terraforming. These overlapping engineering arenas draw an expressly environmental portrait of innovation that imbues the tech industry with quasi-magical capacities that can be leveraged either to improve on or to transcend the Anthropocene. Offering a counterpoint to this techno-utopia, the chapter concludes with an analysis of Karen Tei Yamashita’s novel Through the Arc of the Rainforest (1990), which satirizes the colonial logic of world-building fantasies while making the planet a charismatic character with a story of its own.