In the final volume of the Poetics of Social Forms, Jameson has again (as if we were not convinced previously) demonstrated that there is apparently nothing he has not read and, more importantly, nothing he could not fail to illumine. AF is more than the application of the critical functions previously developed to a particular genre, as certain reviewers (friendly as they may be) would have us believe. AF is itself a certain poetics, just as the genre it treats constitutes a certain poetics.
In speaking of Friedman, I take one key insight from AF (while doing some neglect to the critical method developed therein): that utopianism is not the goal of SF (science fiction) narrative but is a function of it. Is this not precisely what is revealed at the end of Friedman’s Coldfire triology? In the human encounter with the fae–with the unconscious power of life, of production, of immanence–Friedman posits the encounter with nihilism and presents a startling alternative to Zarathustra in Tarrant: the redeemed Messiah, the tragic Christ who brings God to man but in so doing debars himself from ever seeing His face. When the patriarch of the Church unites humanity under the sign of the Go(o)d–thus foreclosing the possibility of magic–he does so precisely by giving birth to the modern man–the divided psyche (Freud), the sovereign separated from nature (Comte or any number of others), the Ulysses bound to the mast (Adorno): Erna becomes the Earth from which the colonists had left.
And here the narrative ends. Utopia is signified by the absence of any détente or dénouement but in the smile “at the dawn of a new world”.
This new world is not a project (Heidegger) or a program (Saint-Simon, Fourier, etc). Friedman indicates nothing other than possibility itself–but a possibility marked by the burden of guilt (sacrifice), responsibility (the withdrawal of God), and freedom.