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A Companion to Science Fiction

David Seed (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4051-1218-5
632 pages
September 2005, Wiley-Blackwell
A Companion to Science Fiction (1405112182) cover image

Description

A Companion to Science Fiction assembles essays by an international range of scholars which discuss the contexts, themes and methods used by science fiction writers.

  • This Companion conveys the scale and variety of science fiction.
  • Shows how science fiction has been used as a means of debating cultural issues.
  • Essays by an international range of scholars discuss the contexts, themes and methods used by science fiction writers.
  • Addresses general topics, such as the history and origins of the genre, its engagement with science and gender, and national variations of science fiction around the English-speaking world.
  • Maps out connections between science fiction, television, the cinema, virtual reality technology, and other aspects of the culture.
  • Includes a section focusing on major figures, such as H.G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke, and Ursula Le Guin.
  • Offers close readings of particular novels, from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
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Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors ix

Introduction: Approaching Science Fiction 1

PART I Surveying the Field 9

1 Hard Reading: The Challenges of Science Fiction 11
Tom Shippey

2 The Origins of Science Fiction 27
George Slusser

3 Science Fiction/Criticism 43
Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, Jr.

4 Science Fiction Magazines: The Crucibles of Change 60
Mike Ashley

PART II Topics and Debates 77

5 Utopia 79
Phillip E. Wegner

6 Science Fiction and Religion 95
Stephen R.L. Clark

7 “Monsters of the Imagination”: Gothic, Science, Fiction 111
Fred Botting

8 Science Fiction and Ecology 127
Brian Stableford

9 Feminist Fabulation 142
Marleen S. Barr

10 Time and Identity in Feminist Science Fiction 156
Jenny Wolmark

11 Science Fiction and the Cold War 171
M. Keith Booker

PART III Genres and Movements 185

12 Hard Science Fiction 187
Gary Westfahl

13 The New Wave 202
Rob Latham

14 Cyberpunk 217
Mark Bould

15 Science Fiction and Postmodernism 232
Veronica Hollinger

16 The Renewal of “Hard” Science Fiction 248
Donald M. Hassler

PART IV Science Fiction Film 259

17 American Science Fiction Film: An Overview 261
Vivian Sobchack

18 Figurations of the Cyborg in Contemporary Science Fiction Novels and Films 275
Christine Cornea

19 British Television Science Fiction 289
Peter Wright

PART V The International Scene 307

20 Canadian Science Fiction 309
Douglas Barbour

21 Japanese and Asian Science Fiction 323
Takayuki Tatsumi

22 Australian Science Fiction 337
Van Ikin and Sean McMullen

PART VI Key Writers 351

23 The Grandeur of H.G. Wells 353
Robert Crossley

24 Isaac Asimov 364
John Clute

25 John Wyndham: The Facts of Life Sextet 375
David Ketterer

26 Philip K. Dick 389
Christopher Palmer

27 Samuel Delaney: A Biographical and Critical Overview 398
Carl Freedman

28 Ursula K. Le Guin 408
Warren G. Rochelle

29 Gwyneth Jones and the Anxieties of Science Fiction 420
Andy Sawyer

30 Arthur C. Clarke 431
Edward James

31 Greg Egan 441
Russell Blackford

PART VII Readings 453

32 Mary Shelley: Frankenstein: Or, the Modern Prometheus 455
Susan E. Lederer and Richard M. Ratzan

33 Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Herland 466
Jill Rudd

34 Aldous Huxley: Brave New World 477
David Seed

35 Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451 489
Brian Baker

36 Joanna Russ: The Female Man 500
Jeanne Cortiel

37 J.G. Ballard: Crash 512
Roger Luckhurst

38 Margaret Atwood: The Handmaid’s Tale 522
Faye Hammill

39 William Gibson: Neuromancer 534
Andrew M. Butler

40 Kim Stanley Robinson: Mars Trilogy 544
Carol Franko

41 Iain M. Banks: Excession 556
Farah Mendlesohn

Index 567

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Author Information

David Seed is Professor in the School of English at Liverpool University. He has published books on Joseph Heller, Thomas Pynchon, science fiction and the Cold War, and cultural representations of brainwashing. He edits the Science Fiction series of Liverpool University Press and serves as a consulting editor for the journal Science Fiction Studies.
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The Wiley Advantage


  • This Companion conveys the scale and variety of science fiction.
  • Shows how science fiction has been used as a means of debating cultural issues.
  • Essays by an international range of scholars discuss the contexts, themes and methods used by science fiction writers.
  • Addresses general topics, such as the history and origins of the genre, its engagement with science and gender, and national variations of science fiction around the English-speaking world.
  • Maps out connections between science fiction, television, the cinema, virtual reality technology, and other aspects of the culture.
  • Includes a section focusing on major figures, such as H.G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke, and Ursula Le Guin.
  • Offers close readings of particular novels, from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
See More

Reviews

“The volume as a whole successfully acquaints diligent readers with an array of substantive avenues of critical inquiry into science fiction … Highly recommended." Choice

“[This] Companion provides unusual depth and detail … The main strengths here are the distinguished roster of contributors, who have plenty of thought-provoking ideas … Anyone seeking an immersion course in the history and criticism of [science fiction] today will find that their time is well repaid.”
Science Fiction Studies

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