Science Fiction / Edition 1

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In this new and timely cultural history of science fiction, Roger Luckhurst examines the genre from its origins in the late nineteenth century to its latest manifestations. The book introduces and explicates major works of science fiction literature by placing them in a series of contexts, using the history of science and technology, political and economic history and cultural theory to develop the means for understanding the unique qualities of the genre.

Luckhurst reads science fiction as a literature of modernity. The book examines how the genre provides a constantly modulating record of how human embodiment is transformed by scientific and technological change and how the very sense of self is imaginatively recomposed in popular fictions that range from utopian possibility to Gothic terror. This study charts the overlapping yet distinct histories of British and American science fiction, with commentary on the central authors, magazines, movements and texts from 1880 to the present day. It will be an invaluable guide and resource for all students taking courses on science fiction, technoculture and popular literature, but will equally be fascinating for anyone who has ever enjoyed a science fiction book.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An exciting, argumentative and invaluable overview of the most interesting literature out there. Roger Luckhurst does an excellent job of embedding SF in history."

China MiƩville, author of Perdido Street Station and Iron Council

"This is a well-conceived, impressively researched and eloquently argued study of Anglo-American science fiction. Combining a sweeping command of cultural-historical contexts with incisive close readings of individual texts, Roger Luckhurst illuminates over a century's worth of print and mass-media SF. Whether discussing popular concerns about the pervasive power of "Mechanism" in the nineteenth century or avant-gardist critiques of the media-saturated "Society of the Spectacle" in the 1960s, Luckhurst's consistent emphasis on how SF registers the impact of techno-scientific change gives his study a remarkable coherence. In sum, this is an essential and timely volume"

Rob Latham, University of Iowa

"This is a refreshing and lively survey of a very broad field. It usefully situates science fiction in its relevant cultural context and makes a valuable contribution to the history of the genre."

David Seed, Liverpool University

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Roger Luckhurst, Senior Lecturer at Birkbeck College University of London

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vi
Introduction 1
Part I Emergence, 1880-1945 13
1 Conditions of Emergence 15
2 Britain: The Scientific Romance and the Evolutionary Paradigm 30
3 America: Pulp Fictions and the Engineer Paradigm 50
Part II Elaboration, 1945-1959 77
4 1945: The Technocultural Conjuncture 79
5 From Atomjocks to Cultural Critique: American SF, 1939-1959 92
6 'All that Age, Horribly Dislocated': England After 1945 120
Part III Decade Studies 139
7 The 1960s 141
8 The 1970s 167
9 The 1980s 196
10 The 1990s 220
Notes 245
Selected Bibliography 294
Index 298
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