Critical Theory and Science Fiction / Edition 1

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Carl Freedman traces the fundamental and mostly unexamined relationships between the discourses of science fiction and critical theory, arguing that science fiction is (or ought to be) a privileged genre for critical theory. He asserts that it is no accident that the upsurge of academic interest in science fiction since the 1970s coincides with the heyday of literary theory, and that likewise science fiction is one of the most theoretically informed areas of the literary profession. Extended readings of novels by five of the most important modern science fiction authors illustrate the affinity between science fiction and critical theory, in each case concentrating on one major novel that resonates with concerns proper to critical theory.

Freedman’s five readings are: Solaris: Stanislaw Lem and the Structure of Cognition; The Dispossessed: Ursula LeGuin and the Ambiguities of Utopia; The Two of Them: Joanna Russ and the Violence of Gender; Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand: Samuel Delany and the Dialectics of Difference; The Man in the High Castle: Philip K. Dick and the Construction of Realities.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“[An] important volume . . . [Freedman] writes intriguingly about affinities between science fiction and historical fiction and makes useful observations about parallels between science fiction and utopian fiction . . . His concluding speculations about the future of both critical theory and science fiction are judicious and restrained. A valuable addition to the slim collection of groundbreaking critical works on science fiction.”—Choice

“Full of sharp insights . . . an ambitious book . . . fans who . . . ponder about sf’s links with wider bodies of thought and conversation will find it extremely useful.”—Foundation: International Review of Science Fiction

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819563996
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 4/24/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 228
  • Sales rank: 392,481
  • Product dimensions: 5.96 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

CARL FREEDMAN is Associate Professor of English at Louisiana State University, author of many articles and of George Orwell: A Study in Ideology and Literary Form (1988), and recipient of the Science Fiction Research Association’s 1999 Pioneer Award.

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Table of Contents

Critical Theory
Science Fiction
Genre, Theory, and Phases of Canon-Formation
The Critical Dynamic: Science Fiction and Style
The Critical Dynamic: Science Fiction and the Historical Novel
The Critical Dynamic: Science Fiction and Utopia
Science Fiction and the Canon
Solaris: Stanis aw Lem and the Structure of Cognition
The Dispossessed: Ursula Le Guin and the Ambiguities of Utopia
The Two of Them: Joanna Russ and the Violence of Gender
Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand: Samuel Delany and the Dialectics of Difference
The Man in the High Castle: Philip K. Dick and the Construction of Realities

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2000

    Fabulous SF Study

    A fabulous analysis of the science fiction enterprise. A `must read' for all serious sf fans! Includes discussions of Delany, Russ, Dick, LeGuin, Lem, & beyond!

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