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TOC: ‘Gothic Science Fiction 1980-2010’ Edited by Sara Wasson and Emily Alder

New this month is an intriguing-sounding book of essays: Gothic Science Fiction 1980-2010 edited by Sara Wasson and Emily Alder and published by Liverpool University Press.

This timely book explores what might be termed “Gothic” science fiction of the last three decades, 1980-2010. Identifying texts by this category may at first appear contradictory, as the Gothic’s connotations of the irrational and supernatural seems to conflict with science fiction’s rational foundations. However, this collection demonstrates that the two categories have rich intersections. Applying such a category to texts of this period permits fresh examination of their engagement with the dramatic socio-economic changes accompanying these years: changes in communication technology, medical science, globalization, and global politics have transformed the way we live, and Gothic science fiction identifies narrative modes appropriate to this modern world. The Gothic mode images readily in science fiction that explores power, anxiety, resistance and capital.

The essays in this collection reflect the current willingness among researchers to explore interpretations across genre, form, and discipline, as well as revealing a buoyant field of research in contemporary Gothic and science fiction studies. The collection ranges across narrative media – in the form of literature, film, graphic novels, trading card games – and across genre – in the form of horror, science fiction, Gothic, New Weird and more. The essays explore questions of genre, medical science, gender, biopower, capitalism, with Gothic science fiction texts understood as uniquely inflected for their time and place.


Part I: Redefining Genres

  • Chapter 1. “In the Zone: Topologies of Genre Weirdness” by Roger Luckhurst
  • Chapter 2: “Zombie Death Drive: Between Gothic and Science Fiction” by Fred Botting

Part II: Biopower & Capital

  • Chapter 3: “‘Death is Irrelevant’: Gothic Science Fiction and the Biopolitics of Empire” by Aris Mousoutzanis
  • Chapter 4: “‘A Butcher’s Shop where the Meat Still Moved’: Gothic Doubles, Organ Harvesting and Human Cloning” by Sara Wasson
  • Chapter 5: “Guillermo del Toro’s Cronos, or the Pleasures of Impurity” by Laurence Davies
  • Chapter 6: “Infected with Life: Neo-Supernaturalism and the Gothic Zombie” by Gwyneth Peaty
  • Chapter 7: “Ruined Skin: Gothic Genetics and Human Identity in Stephen Donaldson’s Gap Cycle” by Emily Alder

Part III: Gender and Genre

  • Chapter 8: “The Superheated, Superdense Prose of David Conway: Gender and Subjectivity Beyond The Starry Wisdom” by Mark P. Williams
  • Chapter 9: “Spatialized Ontologies: Toni Morrison’s Science Fiction Traces in Gothic Spaces” by Jerrilyn McGregory

Part IV: Strange Cities, Strange Temporalities

  • Chapter 10: “The Gothic Punk Milieu in Popular Narrative Fictions” by Nickianne Moody
  • Chapter 11: “Gothic Science Fiction in the Steampunk Graphic Novel: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” by Laura Hilton

[via Adam Roberts]

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.
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