Space and Beyond: The Frontier Theme in Science Fiction

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Gary Westfahl
Greenwood Publishing Group, 2000 - 207 pages
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Although the exploration of space has long preoccupied authors and filmmakers, the development of an actual space program, discoveries about the true nature of space, and critical reconsiderations of America's frontier experiences have challenged and complicated conventional portrayals of humans in space. This volume reexamines the themes of space and the frontier in science fiction in light of recent scientific and literary developments. From this new perspective, we discern previously unnoticed commentaries from older authors, while newer writers either remain within a reassuring but obsolete tradition, venture into unexplored new realities, or abandon space to focus on other frontiers.

The intriguing contributions to this volume include a previously unpublished interview with Arthur C. Clarke, the world's greatest living author of science fiction; examinations of space opera by veteran author Jack Williamson and scholar David Pringle; surveys of space in science fiction film, and writer and producer Michael Cassutt's account of his efforts to launch a film based on a Clifford D. Simak novel; and speculations about future developments from noted writers Gregory Benford, Jack Dann, James Gunn, and Howard V. Hendrix.

 

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Contents

Introduction Frontiers Old and New
1
Space vs Time
9
Big Dumb Objects and Cosmic Enigmas The Love Affair between Space Fiction and the Transcendental
11
Flying to the Moon in French and American Science Fiction
25
What Is This Thing Called Space Opera?
35
On the Final Frontier
49
The True Frontier Confronting and Avoiding the Realities of Space in American Science Fiction Films
55
The Art of Technology Contours of Space in the Science Fiction Film
67
Space Opera without the Space The Culture Novels of lain M Banks
115
ReMythologizing Outer Space with C S Lewis and Cordwainer Smith
123
Painwise in Space The Psychology of Isolation in Cordwainer Smith and James P Tiptree Jr
131
Social Science in Space and Time
143
Space Future War and the Frontier in American Nuclear Apocalypse Narrative
151
Men and Women in Separate Spaces
157
Cyberspace The Moral Dimension
163
New Worlds for Old
173

Space for Resistance The Disruption of the American Frontier Myth in 1950s Science Fiction Films
77
Way StationThe Motion Picture A Possibly Premature Progress Report
85
Flight of Passage Space Travel as the Metaphoric Crossing of the Threshold
95
Take Me to Your Leader A New Future for First Contact Stories
101
Space and the Frontier in Leslie F Stones The Fall of Mercury
109
Comments on Space and Time
181
Sir Arthur C Clarke A Telephone Conversation
185
Index
191
About the Contributors
205
Copyright

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About the author (2000)

Gary Westfahl is adjunct professor at the University of La Verne, CA. His previous books include No Cure for the Future (2002), Unearthly Visions (2002), Worlds Enough and Time (2002), Science Fiction, Canonization, Marginalization, and the Academy (2002), Science Fiction, Children's Literature, and Popular Culture (2000), Space and Beyond (2000), and Cosmic Engineers (1996), all available from Greenwood Press.

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