The monstrous homogenization of the world has now almost destroyed the map, any map, by making every place on it exactly like every other place, and leaving no blanks. No unknown lands. A hamburger joint and a coffee shop in every block repeated forever. No others; nothing unfamiliar. As in the Mandelbrot fractal set, the enormously large and the infinitesimally small are exactly the same; and the same leads always to the same again: there is no other; there is no escape, because there is nowhere else. […]
The literature of imagination, even when tragic, is reassuring, not necessarily in the sense of offering nostalgic comfort, but because it offers a world large enough to contain alternatives, and therefore offers hope.
The fractal world of endless repetition is appallingly fragile. There is no illusion, even, of safety in it; an entirely human construct, it can be entirely destroyed at any moment by human agency. It is the world of the neutron bomb, the terrorist, and the next plague. It is Man studying Man alone. It is the reality trap. Is it any wonder that people want to look somewhere else? But there is no somewhere else, except in what is not human, and in our imagination.
Excerpt from The Critics, the Monsters, and the Fantasists by Ursula K. Le Guin