© 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Nanotechnology talk is moving out of its comfort zone of scientific discourse. As new products go to market and national and international organizations roll out public engagement programs on nanotechnology to discuss environmental and health issues, various sectors of the public are beginning to discuss what all the fuss is about. Nongovernmental organizations have long since reacted; however, now the social sciences have begun to study the cultural phenomenon of nanotechnology, thus extending discourses and opening out nanotechnology to whole new social dimensions. We report here on these social dimensions and their new constructed imaginings, each of which is evident in the ways in which discourses around nanotechnology intersects with the economy, ecology, health, governance, and imagined futures. We conclude that there needs to be more than just an 'environmental, legal, and social implications,' or 'ELSI,' sideshow within nanotechnology. The collective public imaginings of nanotechnology include tangles of science and science fiction, local enterprise, and global transformation, all looking forward toward a sustainable future, while looking back on past debates about science and nature. Nanotechnology is already very much embedded in the social fabric of our life and times.