Rumors of War and Infernal Machines: Technomilitary Agenda-Setting in American and British Speculative Fiction

Overview

This provocative and unique work reveals the remarkably influential role of futuristic literature on contemporary political power in America. Tracing this phenomenon from its roots in Victorian Britain, Gannon convincingly demonstrates that military fiction anticipated and even influenced the evolution of the tank, the development of the airplane, and also the bitter political battles within Britain's War Office and the Admiralty. In the United States, future-fictions and Cold-War thrillers were an officially ...

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Rumors of War and Infernal Machines: Technomilitary Agenda-setting in American and British Speculative Fiction

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Overview

This provocative and unique work reveals the remarkably influential role of futuristic literature on contemporary political power in America. Tracing this phenomenon from its roots in Victorian Britain, Gannon convincingly demonstrates that military fiction anticipated and even influenced the evolution of the tank, the development of the airplane, and also the bitter political battles within Britain's War Office and the Admiralty. In the United States, future-fictions and Cold-War thrillers were an officially acknowledged factor in the Pentagon's R&D agendas, and often gave rise_and shape_to the strategic development of technologies as diverse as automation, atomic weaponry, aerospace vehicles, and Star Wars. With its detailed political, historical, and literary analysis of the American and European fascination with hi-tech warfare, this lively, informative, and revealing study will appeal to students, general readers, literary and cultural scholars, and military and history enthusiasts.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
Gannon breaks new ground in a superior cultural study, investigating the influence military science fiction has exerted over military policy makers….The well-researched military backgrounds prove the author's thesis that science fiction has indeed influenced the conclusions of military think tanks. An essential acquisition for collections of science fiction and military history. Highly recommended.
Analog Science Fiction and Fact
If you are of a mind to tive less credence to the humanities of war than to the sciences, set that aside long enough to read Rumors of War. I think you'll be glad you did.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742540347
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/15/2005
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 5.92 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction : assessing rumors - of war and infernal machines 1
1 Armageddon by gaslight : Victorian visions of apocalypse 8
2 Opportunistic anticipations and accidental insights : William Le Queux's exploitation of Edwardian invasion anxieties 32
3 Promoters of the probable, prophets of the possible : technological innovation and Edwardian near-future war fiction 62
4 H. G. Wells : the far-future war prophet of Edwardian England 91
5 Hard numbers, hard cases, hard decisions : politics and future-war fiction in America 112
6 An imperfect future tense (d) : anticipations of atomic annihilation in post-war American science fiction 128
7 Nuclear fiction and silo psychosis : narratives of life in the shadow of a mushroom cloud 146
8 Radio waves, death rays, and transgressive (sub)texts : future-war fiction in the wide black yonder 173
9 Making man-machines of mass destruction : future-war authors as seers in an age of cyborg soldiers 208
10 Cultural casualties as collateral damage : the fragment-ing/-ation effects of future-war fantasies vs. fictions 239
Afterword : on conducting a literary reconnaissance in force - and in earnest 256
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