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

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

by Charles E. Gannon
     
 

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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…  See more details below

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, 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.

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of American Studies
[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.
Symbiosis
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.
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.
American Literature
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?

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780742568716
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
08/11/2005
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
312
File size:
5 MB

Meet the Author

Charles E. Gannon is associate professor of English at St. Bonaventure University.

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