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Shockwaves of Possibility

Shockwaves of Possibility explores the deep utopianism of one of the most significant modern cultural practices: science fiction. The author contends that utopianism is not simply a motif in SF, but rather is fundamental to its narrative dynamics. Drawing upon a rich array of theory and criticism in SF and utopian studies, the book opens with a global periodizing history that shows the inseparability of SF from developments in other cultural fields. It goes on to examine literature, film, television, comics, and animation in order to demonstrate SF's unique effectiveness for grappling with the upheavals brought about by globalization. Shockwaves of Possibility proves SF's vitality in the brave new world of the twenty-first century, as it illuminates the contours of the present and educates our desire for a radically other future.
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Table of Contents

Contents: The Modernisms of Science Fiction: Toward a Periodizing History - If Everything Means Something Else: Technology, Allegory, and Events in Roadside Picnic and Stalker - After the End of the World: Pseudo-Apocalypse and Universal History in Paradise and The Windup Girl - Recognizing the Patterns - Part Two: Possible Worlds - The Beat Cops of History: Or, The Paranoid Style in American Intellectual Politics - Popular Dystopias in an Era of Global War - Alan Moore, "Secondary Literacy", and the Modernism of the Graphic Novel - Ken MacLeod's Permanent Revolution: Utopian Possible Worlds, History, and the Augenblick in the "Fall Revolution" - Alternate Histories, Periodization, and the Geopolitical Aesthetics of Ken MacLeod and Iain M. Banks - Learning to Live in History: Alternate Historicities and the 1990s in The Years of Rice and Salt - "An Unfinished Project that was Also a Missed Opportunity": Utopia and Alternate History in Hayao Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro.

About the Author

Phillip E. Wegner is the Marston-Milbauer Eminent Scholar at the University of Florida. He is the author of Imaginary Communities: Utopia, the Nation, and the Spatial Histories of Modernity; Life Between Two Deaths, 1989-2001: U.S. Culture in the Long Nineties; and Periodizing Jameson: Dialectics, the University, and the Desire for Narrative.


"[...] this is an important study that will shape our conversations about science fiction and form for years to come, one that irrefutably demonstrates the critical importance of this genre to the literature of social justice." (American Literary History, ALH Online Review Series XIII) Read the full review here

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