Emerging during a Cold War era of nuclear uncertainty, refined in decades of neoliberal turbulence, and used today for modeling climate futures, scenario thinking has now entered the domain of the Anthropocene novel. This article argues for the adoption of scenarios as a formal strategy of two contemporary realist novels engaged in updating the genre to present scales of crisis: Tom McCarthy's Remainder (2005) and Ben Lerner's 10:04 (2014). As these novels process new forms of risk in a time of epochal fracture, they likewise signal a conceptual break in realism's capacity to imagine new configurations for the present based on the shape of things past. Scenarios prioritize plausibility over predictability, emphasizing the importance of storytelling in processing an age of planetary crisis while also showing the limits of statistical methods of world‐building. By attending to the many configurations that could emerge from the volatile state of the present, scenario fiction seeks to preempt unmediated outcomes and insure the novel's critical extension into all possible futures.

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