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, Rumors of War and Infernal Machines offers a fascinating exploration of how fictional speculations on emergent or imaginary military technologies profoundly influence the political agendas and actions of modern superpower states. Gannon convincingly demonstrates that military fiction anticipated and even ...
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, Rumors of War and Infernal Machines offers a fascinating exploration of how fictional speculations on emergent or imaginary military technologies profoundly influence the political agendas and actions of modern superpower states. 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 research and development agendas, and often gave rise_and shape_to the nation's strategic development of technologies as diverse as automation, atomic weaponry, aerospace vehicles, and the Strategic Defense Initiative ('Star Wars'). His book reveals a striking relationship between the increasing political influence of speculative military fiction and the parallel rise of superpower states and their technocentric ideologies. With its detailed political, historical, and literary analysis of U.S. and British fascination with hi-tech warfare, this lively and revealing study will appeal to students, literary and cultural scholars, military and history enthusiasts, and general readers.
[H]ighly convincing....[A]n interesting read, offering numerous insights into the cultural influence of science fiction....[T]his book is a timely study – especially since war is top of the agenda in current American politics – showing how America is open to both the progressive nature of speculative texts and the dangerous imagining of deadly new technologies. We have only to look at the war in Iraq to see how dangerous our technological imagination can be.
The combination of textual analysis with historical as well as political facts offers readers a multidimensional approach, as it enables them to assess the primary texts examined from a literary as well as socio-cultural perspective. This makes the book a useful source of reference to anyone interested in transatlantic superpower politics in relation to science fiction, technothrillers and apocalypse narratives....Gannon's well-documented endnotes and epigraphs at the start of every chapter make this book a valuable resource for the general reader, scholar, undergraduate and postgraduate student who wishes to explore the point where technology, politics and future-war literature intersect.
The Year's Work In English Studies
The book investigates an exchange between future-war fiction and political entities in Victorian and Edwardian Britain and in the USA through and beyond the Cold War....Gannon skilfully deploys a range of discursive materials to discuss and analyse fictional anticipations of a technologically enabled 'Great War....He then addresses America's rise to superpower status accompanied by literary imagining of nuclear destruction, death rays, cyborg soldiers, and starship troopers.
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.
Emerging from both military history and literary criticism, this volume traces a remarkable genealogy of speculative fiction's "truth effects" in Britain and the United States...Gannon sees a powerful relationship between speculative military fiction and the rise of "technocentric" ideologies of the modern war state.
Analog Science Fiction & 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.
Science Fiction Studies
In , Gannon offers a thorough study of what future-war writers anticipated.
Journal Of Technology Studies
A fascinating and disturbing subject....The theme, examined in rich detail, is...that fiction plays its part in shaping and colonizing the military imagination—perhaps even seeping into the process of procurement or research and development....Is star wars fiction conducive to star wars fact?
Chapter 1 Introduction: Assessing Rumors?of War and Infernal Machines
Chapter 2 Armageddon by Gaslight: Victorian Visions of Apocalypse
Chapter 3 Opportunistic Anticipations and Accidental Insights: William Le Queux's Exploitation of Edwardian Invasion Anxieties
Chapter 4 Promoters of the Probable, Prophets of the Possible: Technological Innovation and Edwardian Near-Future War Fiction
Chapter 5 H.G. Wells: The Far-Future War Prophet of Edwardian England
Chapter 6 Hard Numbers, Hard Cases, Hard Decisions: Politics and Future-War Fiction in America
Chapter 7 An Imperfect Future Tense(d): Anticipations of Atomic Annihilation in Post-War American Science Fiction
Chapter 8 Nuclear Fiction and Silo Psychosis: Narratives of Life in the Shadow of a Mushroom Cloud
Chapter 9 Radio Waves, Death Rays, and Transgressive (Sub)Texts: Future-War Fiction in the Wide Black Yonder
Chapter 10 Making Man-Machines of Mass Destruction: Future-War Authors as Seers in an Age of Cyborg Soldiers
Chapter 11 Cultural Casualties as Collateral Damage: The Fragment-ing/-ation Effects of Future-War Fantasies vs. Fictions
Chapter 12 Afterword: On Conducting a Literary Reconnaissance in Force, and in Earnest