Last week, I presented a paper at the Once and Future Fantasies Conference in Glasgow as part of a panel titled: Changing the Genre for a Better Tomorrow: Manifesting Progressive Science
Fiction in Germany

Andreas Eschbach’s novel, Eines Menschen Flügel (2020) weaves together elements of SF and fantasy, creating a minutely designed future world on which humans have been genetically altered to have wings. The novel appears to be targeted at a YA readership, and yet it contains a series of messages and philosophical reflections on the role of science and ‘progress’ as well as the posthuman condition that make it a rewarding read for adult readers as well. The ‘avian’ society is based on mutual help, everyone shares what they have and contributes towards the common good. Writing at a time when social divisions, identity politics, fears of terrorism, right-wing populism, and environmental disasters have created a seemingly all-pervasive dystopian mood in Germany, the bestselling author offers a (precarious) concrete utopia. My paper explored whether a ‘progressive fantastic’ can escape its niche of worthy but commercially unsuccessful productions and enter the mainstream.