1st Edition

American Science Fiction and the Cold War Literature and Film

By David Seed Copyright 1999

    American Science Fiction--in both literature and film--has played a key role in the portrayal of the fears inherent in the Cold War. The end of this era heralds the need for a reassessment of the literary output of the forty-year period since 1945. Working through a series of key texts, American Science Fiction and the Cold War investigates the political inflections put on American narratives in the post-war decades by Cold War cultural circumstances. Nuclear holocaust, Russian invasion, and the perceived rise of totalitarianism in American society are key elements in the author's exploration of science fiction narratives that include Fahrenheit 451, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and Dr. Strangelove.

    Introduction; Chapter I Postwar Jeremiads: Philip Wylie and Leo Szilard; Chapter II Variations on a Patriotic Theme: Robert A. Heinlein; Chapter III History and Apocalypse in Poul Anderson; Chapter IV Views from the Hearth; Chapter V Cultures of Surveillance; Chapter VI Take-Over Bids: Frederik Pohl and Cyril Kornbluth; Chapter VII The Russians Have Come; Chapter VIII Embodying the Arms Race: Bernard Wolfe’s Limbo; Chapter IX The Cold War Computerised; Chapter X Conspiracy Narratives; Chapter XI Absurdist Visions: Dr. Strangelove in Context; Chapter XII The Signs of War: Walter M. Miller and Russel Hoban; Chapter XIII In the Aftermath; Chapter XIV The Star Wars Debate;


    David Seed