"I Want to Believe" declares the slogan beneath a UFO on the poster behind Fox Mulder's desk in the television series, The X-Files. This expression of the character's desire for faith in an alien world beyond our own underlines his mission throughout the series to find evidence that "the truth is out there," the show's motto. It is Mulder's desire ("I want to believe"), stopping short of belief even, that sustains him on his quest for truth. I begin with this example as a conceit for seeking realism in the late twentieth to early twenty-first century. For the persistence of the desire for "the truth" in the face of obstacles to it shadows the no less incongruous desire for realist fictions in our contemporary theoretical climate.