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Utopia, Dystopia, Revolution: Speculative Fiction for Social Change

The most memorable works of speculative fiction often deal with visions of utopia and dystopia. Their authors have often been active in and impacted by revolutionary movements, like Zamyatin, Orwell, LeGuin, and Butler.

How can a story of utopia allow us to imagine a better future, without falling into the flatness of perfection? And how do dystopias bring into relief dangers and oppressions of the present moment, without being mere allegory? What about stories of the future that blend elements of both?

This course is for both writers and admirers of speculative fiction. We will start by looking at some of the foundational works of utopia and dystopia, as well as more recent novels in the genre. As the course progresses, everyone will receive support for writing a utopian or dystopian short story of their own. While writing is encouraged, it is not a requirement. Anyone who wants to take part in critical, thoughtful discussion of the works we read—including those of their classmates—is welcome to attend.


Peter Gelderloos is the author of over a dozen nonfiction books and numerous essays related to history and the theory and practice of social transformation and worldbuilding in our world, including Worshiping Power: An Anarchist View of Early State Formation and The Solutions Are Already Here: Strategies for Ecological Revolution from Below; the travel memoir To Get to the Other Side; short stories, most recently in the Subversions III anthology; and under the pen name Alan Lea, the recent speculative fiction novella, Hermetica, with more speculative fiction short stories and novels in the works.


Details: Utopia, Dystopia, Revolution: Speculative Fiction for Social Change takes place every Tuesday in July: July 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30 from 6:30-8:30 in person at Literary Cleveland's offices, 13002 Larchmere Blvd in Cleveland. 

Prerequisites: Any emerging level fiction/nonfiction/poetry writing course.

Genre: Fiction

Level: Intermediate/Advanced

Format: Generative writing workshop  

Location: This class takes place in-person at Literary Cleveland's offices, 13002 Larchmere Blvd in Cleveland. 

Size: Limited to 12 participants (including scholarships).

Scholarships: Two scholarship spots are available for this class for writers in Northeast Ohio. Apply by April 15.

Cancellations & Refunds: Cancel at least 48 hours in advance of the first class meeting to receive a full refund. Email

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