Narratives or stories describe or model individual or national origins, struggles, and goals. For literature of the future, three stories or models of time dominate, but not exclusively—they are identifiable, but they may combine, resemble, or turn into each other.
Overall narrative descriptions:
one appeal of Apocalyptic narrative is that it's one story for all of Creation.
Evolutionary narrative: many stories going on at once
Alternative narrative: ditto
Genesis-Revelation, creation-apocalypse narrative:
World / order of human unity with divine is created, lost > restored, redeemed
Garden of Eden, tree of life > fall, exile, human history > Christ's return > Heaven with tree of life (unity, immortality restored)
Parable of the Sower: patriarchal family, community garden in Robledos > journey north through tests, trials [romance narrative] > Acorn community, w/ trees from original garden & journey
American history: Founding as divine-human union (Pilgrims as religious freedom & commitment; Founders as "godly men") > party politics, Native American dispossession, African American slavery, increasing materialism, secularism, modernization >
Evolutionary narrative: (open-ended narrative, no essential beginning, middle, or end)
world / order progressively emerges > changes to which humans (etc.) adapt > earlier order is not necessarily restored, but past always transitions into future (genetic recombination)
potential for heroic progress, but just as much potential for regress; especially in longer visions of time or broader visions of planetary wealth and suffering, no definite direction to natural or human history
progress and regress may happen at once or as part of exchange
science fiction rises contemporaneously with theory of evolution
Apocalyptic concerns humans, evolution concerns nature?
Parable of the Sower:
Where do two narratives merge, overlap?
cycles of evolution may resemble creation-apocalypse
(class discussion: apocalypse as event > series of apocalypses)
Both apocalypse and evolution feature character-divisions of winners and losers, predators and prey, saints and sinners.
Despite historical failure of millennium, Revelation may be right but the will of God continually eludes human comprehension.
Apocalyptic narrative of radical change may be a human-scale comprehension of the long-term evolutionary narrative in cosmic or geologic time.
> alternative futures
conceivable that apocalypse and evolution are alternative perceptions of same reality
alternative future may contain both apocalypse and evolution and then some, but distancing effect makes all the choices seem to matter less?
Final image: future as book not yet opened