1st Edition

Architecture and Science-Fiction Film Philip K. Dick and the Spectacle of Home

By David T. Fortin Copyright 2011

    The home is one of our most enduring human paradoxes and is brought to light tellingly in science-fiction (SF) writing and film. However, while similarities and crossovers between architecture and SF have proliferated throughout the past century, the home is often overshadowed by the spectacle of 'otherness'. The study of the familiar (home) within the alien (SF) creates a unique cultural lens through which to reflect on our current architectural condition. SF has always been linked with alienation; however, the conditions of such alienation, and hence notions of home, have evidently changed. There is often a perceived comprehension of the familiar that atrophies the inquisitive and interpretive processes commonly activated when confronting the unfamiliar. Thus, by utilizing the estranging qualities of SF to look at a concept inherently linked to its perceived opposite - the home - a unique critical analysis with particular relevance for contemporary architecture is made possible.

    Contents: Preface; Part 1 Science-Fiction, Architecture and Home: Defining science-fiction: Darko Suvin and the genre; The future and home; Postfuturism and shifting notions of home; Learning from Dick: architectural perspectives on SF. Part 2 Re-Visioning Home in Dick-Inspired Films: Killing home: Blade Runner's strange obsessions and omissions; Relinquishing home: identity through architectural 'otherness'; Resurrecting home: scattered boundaries and domesti-city in Minority Report; Becoming home: identities, insects, and the dirty dwelling dilemma. Part 3 Go Home - I'm Home - Becoming Home: Architecture and grammar in SF; Bibliography; Index.


    Dr David T. Fortin is an Assistant Professor at Montana State University School of Architecture, USA.

    'David Fortin's Architecture and Science-Fiction Film boldly takes us where no commentary has gone before. It deftly draws on architectural theory to illuminate not only the larger tradition of science-fiction film and its efforts at envisioning new ways of living, but also the specific fascination with the home and with habitation that has figured centrally in cinematic adaptations of one of the most important science-fiction writers, Philip K. Dick. The result is a smart and challenging book, one that should become essential reading in science-fiction studies.' J. P. Telotte, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA 'David Fortin offers an uncanny conceptual archaeology of domestic space in this wide-ranging study. The mythic, psychological, economic, and, of course, literary effects of the home - an architectural environment so frequently experienced yet so little understood - are pursued relentlessly throughout Fortin's text. A brutal, effective, and wholly necessary contribution.' Geoff Manaugh, author of BLDGBLOG, USA 'Fortin's book is a valuable addition to the growing corpus of texts that are truly interdisciplinary... In drawing together architecture, film, literature, science and technology studies and philosophy, Fortin has provided a significant resource for scholars of these disciplines and a suitable tribute to one of the most prolific and prescient SF writers of the last century.' Viewfinder ’Fortin manages persuasively to tie modernist/postmodernist architecture with the concerns of sf literature... the text provides valuable reading for sf scholars who are interested in cinema.’ Science Fiction Studies 'Fortin’s book offers an exciting breadth and depth of theory and ideas about representations of home in science fiction (SF) film... the book delivers one gem after another, and has much to offer its readers.' Media International Australia