The Utopian/Dystopian American Dream: Immigration and Labor in Latina/o Science Fiction

A Future with a Past

Although Sleep Dealer’s critical dystopia gestures toward the hope for a better future after blowing up the dam, there is still the uncertainty about the future. Memo decides to stay where he is “on the edge of everything,” and where he feels he must now make a difference with the material conditions he has in front of him. Memo envisions a “future with a past,” that gestures toward a future-history that he will create with the lessons that he has learned from his past and present. He is shown planting seeds into the land and watering the plants, just as his father had taught him. Similar to Lydia and Pedro, Memo absorbs the knowledge of his past from his father, and juxtaposes it to the experiences of his present, in hopes of creating and growing something better in the future for the next generation. This intergenerational connection depicts the continuity of histories that get repeated and can sometimes signify a dystopia for those on the margins, but may also bring about transformation and hope for a better future. On the other hand, Memo states that he must connect and fight. In this final remark, Memo’s idea of connection has changed; he is no longer concerned with integrating into a technological network. Instead, Memo is interested in connecting with others in a new way. Memo is now the one in control of his own life, and he hopes to lead by example in a world-building project that encourages people to connect back with the earth and other human beings for a more sustainable and freer life. Moylan explains that, “the critical dystopias do not go easily toward that better world. Rather, they linger in the terrors of the present even as they exemplify what is needed to transform it” (199). Thus, Memo’s two-way connection through the network and now the physical land puts him in a position to rearticulate his social realities so that he can have a chance to create the future that he wants for himself. Unfortunately, this ending signifies an extremely individualistic representation of hope and the future. Muñoz explains that in order to think about futurity, concepts of “we” ad “collectivity” must be included. He states, “This ‘we’ does not speak to a merely identification logic but instead to a logic of futurity. The ‘we’ speaks to a ‘we’ that is ‘not yet conscious,’ the future society that is being invoked and addressed at the same moment” (20). Therefore, the uncertainty of the future not just for Memo’s life, but his community overall, may be the ‘we’ that is not yet conscious. However, there is hope that by blowing up the dam, a consciousness has been awakened in the protagonists about their future, and more important, about the need for the ‘we’ and the collective to be materialized.

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