Published online by Cambridge University Press: 13 April 2021
Critically examining the eugenic and utopian underpinnings of central narrative frameworks in climate change discourse, this chapter argues that our imagination of the future requires different forms of engagement with the past. I interrogate the rhetoric of collapse and look at two primary climate narratives, “the lifeboat” and “the collective,” which engage both eugenic ideologies and utopian imaginaries. Through a reading of Ursula K. Le Guin and Octavia Butler, the chapter examines how disability theory can disrupt narratives of survival and offer possibilities for thinking through the defamiliarization of place, bodies, and identities under climate disruption. In the final section, I turn to Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad (2016) and Terry Bisson’s Fire on the Mountain (1988). I argue that Whitehead’s and Bisson’s speculative histories are revolutionary acts of memory, reimagining history in ways that shift the trajectories of shared futures.