Utopian Dreams, Apocalyptic Nightmares traces the history of utopian representations of the Americas, first on the part of the colonizers, who idealized the New World as an earthly paradise, and later by Latin American modernizing elites, who imagined Western industrialization, cosmopolitanism and consumption as a utopian dream for their independent societies. Carlos Fuentes, Homero Aridjis, Carmen Boullosa, and Alejandro Morales utilize the literary genre of dystopian science fiction to elaborate on how globalization has resulted in the alienation of indigenous peoples and the deterioration of the ecology. This book concludes that Mexican and Chicano perspectives on the past and the future of their societies constitute a key site for the analysis of the problems of underdevelopment, social injustice, and ecological decay that plague today's world. Whereas utopian discourse was once used to justify colonization, Mexican and Chicano writers now deploy dystopian rhetoric to interrogate projects of modernization, contributing to the current debate on the global expansion of capitalism. The narratives coincide in expressing confidence in the ability of Latin American and U.S. Latino popular sectors to claim a decisive role in the implementation of enhanced measures to guarantee an ecologically sound, ethnically diverse, and just society for the future of the Americas.