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A Companion


Edited By Jack Fennell

What is Sci-Fi?

Science fiction is a non-realist genre that foregrounds a sense of material plausibility, insisting that despite seeming outlandish, it is consonant with history and the laws of nature. By turns subtle and bombastic, sci-fi revels in discovery and revelation, whether through human ingenuity or world-altering paradigm shifts. The same impulse informs both the idealism of Star Trek and the existential terror of Frankenstein.

Each chapter of this book examines a specific trope or theme through a different critical lens – including eco-criticism, feminism and historicism – while also providing a historical overview of the genre, from its disputed origins to the pulp era, the New Wave, and the exponential growth of Afrofuturism and Indigenous Futurisms. Revered masters such as Isaac Asimov, Octavia Butler and Iain M. Banks are considered alongside newer talents, including Rebecca Roanhorse and N. K. Jemisin. Other chapters provide overviews of different media, from television (Doctor Who, Westworld) to comics/manga (2000AD, Métal Hurlant), video games (Deus Ex: Human Revolution) and theatre (Alistair McDowall’s X).

Sci-Fi: A Companion not only provides an accessible introduction to sci-fi for general readers and researchers alike, but also illuminates new approaches to a familiar genre.

CONTENTS: Jack Fennell: Introduction: The Fetish of Origin – José Manuel Correoso-Rodenas: Science Fiction and the Gothic (1770–1912) – Juan L. Pérez-de-Luque: H. P. Lovecraft’s ‘The Shadow Over Innsmouth’ (1936) – Weird Fiction – Val Nolan: Starships and Space Opera (1928–present) – Tom Dillon: New Worlds and Jerry Cornelius (1964–1976) – The New Wave – Sara Martín: Iain M. Banks’s Culture Series (1987–2012) – Aliens – Nathan Emmerich: Isaac Asimov’s Robot Series (1939–1985) and Ted Chiang’s The Lifecycle of Software Objects (2010) – Robots –Matteo Barbagallo: Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s Westworld (2016–present) – Virtual Life – Lars Schmeink: Square Enix’s Deus Ex: Human Revolution (2011) – Posthumanism – Marta María Gutiérrez Rodríguez: Joreid McFate’s The Demon Plague (2004) – Time Travel – Jack Fennell: Alternate Histories – Simon Bacon: Alex Garland’s Ex Machina (2014) – Science Fiction Vampires – Isiah Lavender III: Jordan Peele’s Get Out (2017) and Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther (2018) – Afrofuturism – Amy H. Sturgis: Indigenous Futurisms – Christopher B. Menadue: George Miller’s Mad Max (1979–2015) and Ryan Griffen’s Cleverman (2016–2017) – Australian Science Fiction – Raffaella Baccolini: Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (2017–present) – Women’s Dystopian Science Fiction –Alec Charles: The Thirteenth Doctor, Doctor Who (2017–present) – Gender Roles and Sexism – Thomas Connolly: Disability in Science Fiction – Andrew Milner: Science Fiction and Climate Change – Mark Bould: Science Fiction and the Anthropocene – Chris Pak: Animals in Science Fiction – Jeremy Brett: Science Fiction Archives – Dan Byrne-Smith: Science Fiction Comics – Mariano Martín Rodríguez: Science Fiction Metafiction – Ian Farnell: Alistair McDowall’s X (2016) – Science Fiction Theatre