by Edited By Rob Latham
The excitement of possible futures found in science fiction has long fired the human imagination, but the genre's acceptance by academe is relatively recent. No longer marginalized and fighting for respectability, science-fictional works are now studied alongside more traditional art forms. Tracing the capacious genre's birth, evolution, and impact across nations, time periods, subgenres, and media, The Oxford Handbook of Science Fiction offers an in-depth, comprehensive assessment of this robust area of scholarly inquiry and considers the future directions that will dictate the terms of the scholarly discourse.
The Handbook begins with a focus on questions of genre, covering topics such as critical history, keywords, narrative, the fantastic, and fandom. A subsequent section on media engages with film, television, comics, architecture, music, video games, and more. The genre's role in the convergence of art and everyday life animates a third section, which addresses topics such as UFOs, the Atomic Era, the Space Race between the US and USSR, organized religion, automation, the military, sexuality, steampunk, and retrofuturism. The final section on worldviews features perspectives on SF's relationship to the gothic, evolution, colonialism, feminism, afrofuturism, utopianism, and posthumanism. Along the way, the Handbook's forty-four original essays cover novels by the likes of Mary Shelley, Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, Philip K. Dick, and Octavia Butler; horror-tinged pulp magazines like Weird Tales; B-movies and classic films that include 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Star Wars; mind-bending TV shows like The Twilight Zone and Dr. Who; and popular video games such as Eve Online.
Showing how science fiction's unique history and subcultural identity have been constructed in ongoing dialogue with popular discourses of science and technology, The Oxford Handbook of Science Fiction acknowledges the full range of texts and modalities that make science fiction today less a genre than a way of being in the world.