DescriptionIn this new and timely cultural history of science fiction, Roger Luckhurst examines the genre from its origins in the late nineteenth century to its latest manifestations. The book introduces and explicates major works of science fiction literature by placing them in a series of contexts, using the history of science and technology, political and economic history, and cultural theory to develop the means for understanding the unique qualities of the genre.
Luckhurst reads science fiction as a literature of modernity. His astute analysis examines how the genre provides a constantly modulating record of how human embodiment is transformed by scientific and technological change and how the very sense of self is imaginatively recomposed in popular fictions that range from utopian possibility to Gothic terror. This highly readable study charts the overlapping yet distinct histories of British and American science fiction, with commentary on the central authors, magazines, movements and texts from 1880 to the present day. It will be an invaluable guide and resource for all students taking courses on science fiction, technoculture and popular literature, but will equally be fascinating for anyone who has ever enjoyed a science fiction book.
PART I. EMERGENCE, 1880-1945.
1. Conditions of Emergence.
2. Britain: The Scientific Romance and the Evolutionary Paradigm.
3. America: Pulp Fictions and the Engineer Paradigm.
PART II. ELABORATION, 1945-1959.
4. 1945: The Technocultural Conjuncture.
5. From Atomjocks to Cultural Critique: American SF, 1939-1959.
6. ‘All that Age, Horribly Dislocated’: England After 1945.
PART III. DECADE STUDIES.
7. The 1960s.
8. The 1970s.
9. The 1980s.
10. The 1990s.
China Miéville, author of Perdido Street Station and Iron Council
"This is a well-conceived, impressively researched and eloquently argued study of Anglo-American science fiction. Combining a sweeping command of cultural-historical contexts with incisive close readings of individual texts, Roger Luckhurst illuminates over a century's worth of print and mass-media SF. Whether discussing popular concerns about the pervasive power of "Mechanism" in the nineteenth century or avant-gardist critiques of the media-saturated "Society of the Spectacle" in the 1960s, Luckhurst's consistent emphasis on how SF registers the impact of techno-scientific change gives his study a remarkable coherence. In sum, this is an essential and timely volume"
Rob Latham, University of Iowa
"This is a refreshing and lively survey of a very broad field. It usefully situates science fiction in its relevant cultural context and makes a valuable contribution to the history of the genre."
David Seed, Liverpool University
- This is the first volume to cover science fiction right up to the present day and includes a substantial last chapter on the rejuvenation of science fiction in the 1990s.
- Written specifically for students and non-specialists, in an accessible style throughout.
- Has an extraordinarily broad and comprehensive coverage, giving equal weight to both American and English SF, whereas other studies have been weighted to one or to the other.
- Employs an interdisciplinary approach, mixing literature with the history of science, political and economic history and cultural theory. There is a real thirst for such material amongst students and lecturers in this area.
- Science Fiction is not only a popular undergraduate course, but fans of SF are renowned for buying this type of study too.