Endangering Science Fiction Film explores the ways in which science fiction film is a dangerous and endangering genre. The collection argues that science fiction's cinematic power rests in its ability to imagine ‘Other’ worlds that challenge and disturb the lived conditions of the ‘real’ world, as it is presently known to us. From classic films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Solaris to modern blockbusters including World War Z and Gravity, and directors from David Cronenberg to Alfonso Cuarón, contributors comment on the way science fiction film engages with dangerous encounters, liminal experiences, sublime aesthetics, and untethers space and time to question the very nature of human existence. With the analysis of a diverse range of films from Europe, Asia, North and South America, Endangering Science Fiction Film offers a uniquely interdisciplinary view of the evolving and dangerous sentiments and sensibility of this genre.
"At a time when SF cinema has become ‘dangerous’ once more for its cultural relevance and its ontological, epistemological, and aesthetic exploration of grand ideas and problems, it has also become ‘endangered’—primarily by superheroes and the genre of fantasy. Redmond and Marvell's collection is thus a welcome reminder of the power of SF film to provoke us to thought and action in the real world in which we live. Bringing together strong essays from an international mix of media and cultural studies scholars who write on a variety of important topics and films, Endangering Science Fiction Film would also work well in the classroom." —Vivian Sobchack, University of California, Los Angeles
"Between cognition and commodification, revolution and reaction, affect and effect, between the sublime and the ridiculous, SF is perilous and imperilling. It can dislocate any sense of space and time, unsettle any exceptionalism, destabilise any prejudice, or it can hew to privilege and reaffirm power. Either way, as this collection shows, SF is a threat." —Mark Bould, University of the West of England
"Dangerously taboo, progressive, conservative; provocative; Endangering Science Fiction Film, an exciting collection of insightful and rigorously researched essays, shatters our comfortable preconceptions about SF film and the present and future worlds that they explore. A must-read for the SF student and scholar." —Stacey Abbott, University of Roehampton
1. Introduction: Endangering Science Fiction Film Sean Redmond and Leon Marvell Section One: The Philosophy of Science Fiction Endangerment 2. Section Introduction Sean Redmond 3. Kubrick's 2001 and the Dangers of Techno-Dystopia Doug Kellner 4. Eye Tracking the Sublime in Spectacular Moments of Science Fiction Film Sean Redmond 5. Hope in Children of Men and Firefly/Serenity: Nihilism, Waste and the Dialectics of the Sublime Sean Cubitt 6. Biopolitics and the War on Terror in World War Z and Monsters Sherryl Vint Section Two: Dangerous Aesthetics 7. Section Introduction Leon Marvell 8. Narrative, Aesthetics and Cultural Imperatives in Recent Science Fiction Films Deborah Knight and George McKnight 9. Adventures in Perception: Endangering the Spectator in Science Fiction Cinema Barry Keith Grant 10. Sleeping/Waking: Politicizing the Sublime in Science Fiction Film Special Effects Andrew M. Butler 11. Tarkovsky’s Solaris and the (Im)possibility of a Science Fiction Cinema Leon Marvell Section Three: Spectacular Space and the Annihilation of Time 12. Section Introduction Sean Redmond 13. Subversive topologies: space, time and dystopia in the films of Gustavo Mosquera Mariano Paz 14. Escape from the Dialectic of Enlightenment and Disaster? Authenticity, Agency, and Alien Space Alan Woolfolk 15. Science Fiction: What’s Wrong? The Sounds of Danger Versus Hearing Dangerously Darrin Verhagen Section Four: Bodily Extinctions and Bodily Becomings 16. Section Introduction Leon Marvell 17. Robots, Androids, Aliens and Others: the Erotics and Politics of Science Fiction Film Anne Cranny-Francis 18. The Persistence of the Robot J. P. Telotte 19. A Danger to Self and Others: The Cinema of David Cronenberg Scott Wilson
AFI Film Readers, published in cooperation with the American Film Institute, focus on important issues and themes in film and media scholarship.