As a follow-up to their 1997 collection Political Science Fiction, editors Donald M. Hassler and Clyde Wilcox have brought together twenty-four noted international scholars representing diverse fields of inquiry to assess more recent influential voices and trends in New Boundaries in Political Science Fiction. The terrors and technologies that permeate our daily lives have changed radically in the past decade, highlighting the underlying speculations on our contested future at the core of this genre. Surveying the vast expanse of recent political science fiction, the editors posit that the defining dilemma for these tales rests in whether identity and meaning germinate from linear progressions or from a continuous return to the primitive realities of war, death, and competition for survival.
The collection's first section focuses on issues inherent in fiction of personal identity and the "new man." From neuroscience to blogs to the polemic on gender and race, this section investigates democratization of political elements that lead to genuine new identities. The subsequent section explores works that evoke the old power centers of empires and nation states, where larger-than-life heroic systems represent a nostalgic symbol for triumphant human advancement. The final section presents idiosyncratic essays on individual writers and concludes with a comic treatment of America's current situation in international politics as viewed through a science fiction lens.
The writers discussed range from H. G. Wells, Robert A. Heinlein, Ursula Le Guin, and Isaac Asimov to more radical voices such as Iain M. Banks, William Gibson, Joanna Russ, Philip K. Dick, and China Mieville. Whileemphasizing the literature, the collection also addresses political science fiction found on film and television from the original Star Trek through the newest incarnation of Battlestar Galactica.
In addition to the editors, the contributors are Marleen Barr, Peter R. Bergethon, Roberto de Sousa Causo, Doug Davis, Mark Decker, Fred Erisman, Henry Farrell, Carl Freedman, Lincoln Geraghty, M. Elizabeth Ginway, Woody Goulart, James Heilman, Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, Wesley Y. Joe, Carter Kaplan, Sándor Klapcsik, Paul Christopher Manuel, Thomas Michaud, Wanda Raiford, Sandy Rankin, Bruce Rockwood, Darko Suvin, Dennis Wilson Wise, and Lisa Yaszek.
"Donald M. Hassler and Clyde Wilcox, through the contributions of nearly two dozen international experts, give us a new understanding of the political implications of science fiction. In addition to the acute political studies of influential science-fiction writers from Judith Merril and Philip K. Dick to China Mieville and Iain M. Banks, the authors provide an informed look at Brazilian science fiction, at the ways in which President George W. Bush's warning of global peril are essentially science fiction stories with the plots removed, and at much else."
Iain M. Banks
"Fascinating; a clear insight into current and highly informed thinking on matters as diverse as the political implications of Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek as a kind of Philosophy 101, and sexuality in Brazilian science fiction. That it works as a startling and highly germane overview of recent trends in American thinking about the U.S.'s own role in the world is an unexpected but highly welcome bonus."
Donald M. Hassler is a professor of English at Kent State University. The executive editor of Extrapolation, he has published books on Erasmus Darwin, Isaac Asimov, Hal Clement, and others.
Clyde Wilcox is a professor of government at Georgetown University. His many books include Onward Christian Soldiers? The Religious Right in American Politics and The Politics of Same-Sex Marriage.
Preface: Inside and Out vii
On the Personal "New Man"
Landscapes of Change: Science, Science Fiction, and Advances in Biology Peter R. Bergethon 3
Looking Within: Science Fiction Explores the Future of "Being Human" Bruce L. Rockwood 17
Fractal Fantasies of Transformation: William Blake, Michael Moorcock, and the Utilities of Mythographic Shamanism Carter Kaplan 35
Politicized Dystopia and Biomedical Imaginaries: The Case of "The Machine Stops" Mark Decker 53
Science Fiction and Politics: Cyberpunk Science Fiction as Political Philosophy Thomas Michaud 65
Not Lost in Space: Revising the Politics of Cold War Womanhood in Judith Merril's Science Fiction Lisa Yaszek 78
Race, Robots, and the Law Wanda Raiford 93
On Power and the "Nation"
Of Starship Troopers and Refuseniks: War and Militarism in U.S. Science Fiction, Part 1 (1945-1974: Fordism) Darko Suvin 115
Science Fiction Narratives of Mass Destruction and the Politics of National Security Doug Davis 145
A Truly American Enterprise: Star Trek's Post-9/11 Politics Lincoln Geraghty 157
"But What of Lazarus?": Taking Individuals Seriously in the Star Trek Saga Paul Christopher Manuel 167
Inverted Perspectives on Politics and Morality in Battlestar Galactica Woody Goulart Wesley Y. Joe 179
The Body Politic in Brazilian Science Fiction: Implants and Cyborgs M. Elizabeth Ginway 198
A Brazilian Metafiction: Paulo de Sousa Ramos's Dystopian Novella Roberto de Sousa Causo 212
Stagecoach in Space: The Legacy of Firefly Fred Erisman 223
On Individual Writers and Situations
Outside Context Problems: Liberalism and the Other in the Work of Iain M. Banks Patrick Thaddeus Jackson James Heilman 235
To the Perdido Street Station: The Representation of Revolution in China Mieville's Iron Council Carl Freedman 259
Socialist Surrealism: China Mieville's New Crobuzon Novels Henry Farrell 272
Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Social Critique: Stephen R. Donaldson's Gap into Genre Dennis Wilson Wise 290
Politics, Multiplicity, and Mythical Time in the Oeuvre of Philip K. Dick Sandor Klapcsik 299
The (Not Yet) Utopian Dimension and the Collapse of Cyberpunk in Walter Mosley's Futureland: Nine Stories of an Imminent World Sandy Rankin 315
A Last Situation: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Cultural Critic Leslie Fiedler Marleen S. Barr 339
About the Contributors 353