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Newly Published: Edwin Forrest

New on our bookshelf:

Edwin Forrest: A Biography and Performance History
Arthur W. Bloom

Edwin Forrest was the foremost American actor of the nineteenth century. His advocacy of American, and specifically Jacksonian, themes made him popular in New York’s Bowery Theatre. His rivalry with the English tragedian William Charles Macready led to the Astor Place Riot, and his divorce from Catharine Sinclair Forrest was one of the greatest social scandals of the period. This full-length biography examines Forrest’s personal life while acknowledging the impossibility of separating it from his public image. Included is a historical chronology of every known performance the actor gave.

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Newly Published: The Pokémon Go Phenomenon

New on our bookshelf:

The Pokémon Go Phenomenon: Essays on Public Play in Contested Spaces
Edited by Jamie Henthorn, Andrew Kulak, Kristopher Purzycki and Stephanie Vie

Pokémon Go is not just play—the game has had an impact on public spaces, social circles and technology, suggesting new ways of experiencing our world. This collection of new essays explores what Pokémon Go can tell us about how and why we play.

Covering a range of topics from mobile hardware and classroom applications to social conflict and urban planning, the contributors approach Pokémon Go from both practical and theoretical angles, anticipating the impact play will have on our digitally augmented world.

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Newly Published: Seeing the Beat Generation

New on our bookshelf:

Seeing the Beat Generation: Entering the Literature through Film
Raj Chandarlapaty

Beat generation writers dismantled mainstream America. They wrote under the influence of psychedelic drugs; they crossed and navigated multicultural boundaries and questioned the American dream; and they explored homosexuality, feminism and hyper-masculinity, redefining America’s marital and familial codes. Teaching such a history can be daunting, but film adaptations of Beat literature have proven to engage students. This book looks closely at the film adaptations of works by such authors as Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Gary Snyder, Carolyn Cassady, Amiri Baraka and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, as they relate to American history and literary studies.

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Newly Published: The Ages of The Flash

New on our bookshelf:

The Ages of The Flash: Essays on the Fastest Man Alive
Edited by Joseph J. Darowski

While many American superheroes have multiple powers and complex gadgets, the Flash is simply fast. This simplicity makes his character easily comprehendible for all audiences, whether they are avid comic fans or newcomers to the genre, and in turn he has become one of the most iconic figures in the comic-book industry. This collection of new essays serves as a stepping-stone to an even greater understanding of the Flash, examining various iterations of his character—including those of Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, Wally West and Bart Allen—and what they reveal about the era in which they were written.

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Newly Published: The Golden Age of Disaster Cinema

New on our bookshelf:

The Golden Age of Disaster Cinema: A Guide to the Films, 1950–1979
Nik Havert

From the 1950s through the 1970s, disaster movies were a wildly popular genre. Audiences thrilled at the spectacle of these films, many of which were considered glamorous for their time. Derided by critics, they became box office hits and cult classics, inspiring filmmakers around the globe. Some of them launched the careers of producers, directors and actors who would go on to create some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters.

With more than 40 interviews with actors, actresses, producers, stuntmen, special effects artists and others, this book covers the Golden Age of sinking ships, burning buildings, massive earthquakes, viral pandemics and outbreaks of animal madness.

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Newly Published: Peanuts and American Culture

New on our bookshelf:

Peanuts and American Culture: Essays on Charles M. Schulz’s Iconic Comic Strip
Peter W.Y. Lee

Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz insisted good ol’ Charlie Brown and his friends were neither “great art” nor “significant.” Yet Schulz’s acclaimed daily comic strip—syndicated in thousands of newspapers over five decades—brilliantly mirrored tensions in American society during the second half of the 20th century.

Focusing on the strip’s Cold War roots, this collection of new essays explores existentialism, the reshaping of the nuclear family, the Civil Rights Movement, 1960s counterculture, feminism, psychiatry and fear of the bomb. Chapters focus on the development of Lucy, Peppermint Patty, Schroeder, Franklin, Shermy, Snoopy and the other characters that became American icons.

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Newly Published: Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s 50-Year Quest

New on our bookshelf:

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s 50-Year Quest: Music to Change the World
Robert McParland

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, with their distinct vocal harmonies, blending of rock, jazz, folk, and blues, and political and social activism, have remained one of the most enduring musical acts of the 1960s. This book examines their songs and themes, which continue to resonate with contemporary listeners, and argues that Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young reflect part of the broader story of American culture. This appreciative volume contextualizes their work within the political climate of the late 1960s, and makes the case that the values and concerns expressed in their music thread through the American experience today.

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Jessica Jones, Scarred Superhero Wins Koppelman Award at PCA

Jessica Jones, Scarred Superhero: Essays on Gender, Trauma and Addiction in the Netflix Series received the 2018 Susan Koppelman Award, the Popular Culture Association announced. Presented annually, the Koppelman Award honors the best anthology, multi-authored, or edited book in feminist studies in popular and American culture. Congratulations to editors Tim Rayborn and Abigail Keyes, and to all contributors!

Two other McFarland books were also honored at the annual meeting of the Popular Culture Association. Craig Martin Gibbs’ Field Recordings of Black Singers and Musicians: An Annotated Discography of Artists from West Africa, the Caribbean and the Eastern and Southern United States, 1901-1943 was selected as the second runner-up for the Ray and Pat Browne Award for the best reference/primary source work in popular and American culture. When Women Wrote Hollywood: Essays on Female Screenwriters in the Early Film Industry, edited by Roseanne Welch, was selected as the runner-up for the Susan Koppelman Award.

 

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Newly Published: Hitchcock and Humor

New on our bookshelf:

Hitchcock and Humor: Modes of Comedy in Twelve Defining Films
Wes D. Gehring

Woody Allen’s Manhattan Murder Mystery has been described as “a kind of Rear Window for retirees.” As this quote suggests, an analysis of Alfred Hitchcock’s methodical use of comedy in his films is past due.

One of Turner Classic Movies’ on-screen scholars for their summer 2017 online Hitchcock class, the author grew tired of misleading throwaway references to the director’s “comic relief.” This book examines what should be obvious: Hitchcock systematically incorporated assorted types of comedy—black humor, parody, farce/screwball comedy and romantic comedy—in his films to entertain his audience with “comic” thrillers.

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Newly Published: Tom Petty

New on our bookshelf:

Tom Petty: Essays on the Life and Work
Edited by Crystal D. Sands

Rock and Roll hall-of-famer Tom Petty had a musical career that spanned four decades with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and also notably included the co-founding of supergroup The Traveling Wilburys. As a songwriter and rock star, Petty was among the most successful of his time.
His work appealed across socioeconomic boundaries to a diverse group of fans, and this collection of new essays explores this phenomenon. Other topics include Petty’s writing process, his political stances and the psychology behind his music.

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Newly Published: Astor Pictures

New on our bookshelf:

Astor Pictures: A Filmography and History of the Reissue King, 1933–1965
Michael R. Pitts

Founded by Robert M. Savini in 1933, Astor Pictures Corporation distributed hundreds of films in its 32 years of operation. The company distributed over 150 first run features in addition to the numerous re-releases for which it became famous. Astor had great success in the fields of horror and western movies and was a pioneer in African-American film productions. While under Savini’s management, Astor and its subsidiaries were highly successful, but after his death in 1956 the company was sold, leading to eventual bankruptcy and closure. This volume provides the first in-depth look at Astor Pictures Corporation with thorough coverage of its releases, including diverse titles like La Dolce Vitaand Frankenstein’s Daughter.

 

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Newly Published: George Stevens

New on our bookshelf:

George Stevens: The Films of a Hollywood Giant
Neil Sinyard

“George Stevens could do anything,” said veteran Hollywood producer Pandro S. Berman, “break your heart or make you laugh.”

Winner of two Best Director Oscars—for A Place in the Sun (1951) and Giant (1956)—Stevens excelled in a range of genres, gave luster to some of Hollywood’s brightest stars and was revered by his peers. Yet his work has been largely neglected by critics and scholars.

This career retrospective highlights Stevens’ achievements, particularly in his sweeping “American Dream” trilogy (A Place in the SunShane (1953) and Giant). His recurrent themes and characteristic style reveal a progressive attitude towards women’s experiences and highlight the continued relevance of his films today.

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Newly Published: The Sacred in Fantastic Fandom

New on our bookshelf:

The Sacred in Fantastic Fandom: Essays on the Intersection of Religion and Pop Culture
Edited by Carole M. Cusack, John W. Morehead and Venetia Laura Delano Robertson

To the casual observer, similarities between fan communities and religious believers are difficult to find. Religion is traditional, institutional, and serious; whereas fandom is contemporary, individualistic, and fun. Can the robes of nuns and priests be compared to cosplay outfits of Jedi Knights and anime characters? Can travelling to fan conventions be understood as pilgrimages to the shrines of saints?

These new essays investigate fan activities connected to books, film, and online games, such as Harry Potter-themed weddings, using The Hobbit as a sacred text, and taking on heroic roles in World of Warcraft. Young Muslim women cosplayers are brought into conversation with Chaos magicians who use pop culture tropes and characters. A range of canonical texts, such as Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Sherlock—are examined in terms of the pleasure and enchantment of repeated viewing. Popular culture is revealed to be a fertile source of religious and spiritual creativity in the contemporary world.

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Newly Published: Robots That Kill

New on our bookshelf:

Robots That Kill: Deadly Machines and Their Precursors in Myth, Folklore, Literature, Popular Culture and Reality
Judith A. Markowitz

This book describes real-world killer robots using a blend of perspectives. Overviews of technologies, such as autonomy and artificial intelligence, demonstrate how science enables these robots to be effective killers. Incisive analyses of social controversies swirling around the design and use of killer robots reveal that science, alone, will not govern their future. Among those disputes is whether fully-autonomous, robotic weapons should be banned. Examinations of killers from the golem to Frankenstein’s monster reveal that artificially-created beings like them are precursors of real 21st century killer robots. This book laces the death and destruction caused by all these killers with science and humor. The seamless combination of these elements produces a deeper and richer understanding of the robots around us.

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Newly Published: Too Funny for Words

New on our bookshelf:

Too Funny for Words: A Contrarian History of American Screen Comedy from Silent Slapstick to Screwball
David Kalat

American silent film comedies were dominated by sight gags, stunts and comic violence. With the advent of sound, comedies in the 1930s were a riot of runaway heiresses and fast-talking screwballs. It was more than a technological pivot—the first feature-length sound film, The Jazz Singer (1927), changed Hollywood.

Lost in the discussion of that transition is the overlap between the two genres. Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd kept slapstick alive well into the sound era. Screwball directors like Leo McCarey, Frank Capra and Ernst Lubitsch got their starts in silent comedy.

From Chaplin’s tramp to the witty repartee of His Girl Friday (1940), this book chronicles the rise of silent comedy and its evolution into screwball—two flavors of the same genre—through the works of Mack Sennett, Roscoe Arbuckle, Harry Langdon and others.

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Newly Published: Decoding Dylan

New on our bookshelf:

Decoding Dylan: Making Sense of the Songs That Changed Modern Culture
Jim Curtis

Taking readers behind Bob Dylan’s familiar image as the enigmatic rebel of the 1960s, this book reveals a different view—that of a careful craftsman and student of the art of songwriting. Drawing on revelations from Dylan’s memoir Chronicles and a variety of other sources, the author arrives at a radically new interpretation of his body of work, which revolutionized American music and won him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016. Dylan’s songs are viewed as collages, ingeniously combining themes and images from American popular culture and European high culture.

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New in Softcover: Horror Films of the 1990s

Now available in softcover:

Horror Films of the 1990s
John Kenneth Muir

This filmography covers more than 300 horror films released from 1990 through 1999. The horror genre’s trends and clichés are connected to social and cultural phenomena, such as Y2K fears and the Los Angeles riots. Popular films were about serial killers, aliens, conspiracies, and sinister “interlopers,” new monsters who shambled their way into havoc.

Each of the films is discussed at length with detailed credits and critical commentary. There are six appendices: 1990s clichés and conventions, 1990s hall of fame, memorable ad lines, movie references in Scream, 1990s horrors vs. The X-Files, and the decade’s ten best. Fully indexed, 224 photographs.

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New in Softcover: The Great Monster Magazines

Now available in softcover:

The Great Monster Magazines: A Critical Study of the Black and White Publications of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s
Robert Michael “Bobb” Cotter

This is a critical overview of monster magazines from the 1950s through the 1970s. “Monster magazine” is a blanket term to describe both magazines that focus primarily on popular horror movies and magazines that contain stories featuring monsters, both of which are illustrated in comic book style and printed in black and white.

The book describes the rise and fall of these magazines, examining the contributions of Marvel Comics and several other well-known companies, as well as evaluating the effect of the Comics Code Authority on both present and future efforts in the field. It identifies several sub-genres, including monster movies, zombies, vampires, sword-and-sorcery, and pulp-style fiction. The work includes several indexes and technical credits.

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Newly Published: Primal Roots of Horror Cinema

New on our bookshelf:

Primal Roots of Horror Cinema: Evolutionary Psychology and Narratives of Fear
Carrol L. Fry

Why is horror in film and literature so popular? Why do viewers and readers enjoy feeling fearful? Experts in the fields of sociobiology and evolutionary psychology posit that behaviors from our ancestors that favored survival and adaptation still influence our actions, decisions and thoughts today.

The author, with input from a new generation of Darwinists, explores six primal narratives that recur in the horror genre. They are territoriality, tribalism, fear of genetic assimilation, mating rituals, fear of the predator, and distrust or fear of the Other.

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Newly Published: Alert America!

New on our bookshelf:

Alert America!: The Atomic Bomb and “The Show That May Save Your Life”
Michael Scheibach

To address the threat of an atomic-armed Soviet Union during the early days of the Cold War, President Harry Truman approved the Alert America exhibit as the most effective way to convey the destructive power of the atomic bomb and to encourage participation in civil defense. Following its debut in the nation’s capital in January 1952, Alert America, promoted as “The Show That May Save Your Life,” traveled in three separate convoys to more than eighty cities considered most likely to be bombed, and garnered unprecedented support from elected and civic officials, the media, the military, private industry, and myriad organizations. This is the first book to examine the scope and impact of Alert America, which has been largely overlooked by historians. Also included are resource materials providing insights into the government’s overriding objective of preparing men, women and children to survive an atomic war.

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Newly Published: The Psychology of Moviegoing

New on our bookshelf:

The Psychology of Moviegoing: Choosing, Viewing and Being Influenced by Films
Ashton D. Trice and Hunter W. Greer

How do we choose what movies to go see? How do we process the sounds and images of those films? How do they influence our behaviors, attitudes and beliefs after we leave the theater? Using psychology theory, this book answers these questions while considering the effects of relatively permanent personality variables, our changeable moods and the people we are with in such scenarios. It also points out areas of the study in which further work is necessary and where new concepts, such as awe and aesthetic pleasure, may further understanding.

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Newly Published: The Jean Harlow Films

New on our bookshelf:

The Jean Harlow Films
James L. Neibaur

One of the powerful icons of 1930s Hollywood film, Jean Harlow died a tragically early death in 1937 at age 26. During her brief career, she delivered memorable performances in such MGM classics as Red Dust (1932), Bombshell (1933), Dinner at Eight (1933) and Libeled Lady (1936), among others.

Taking a film-by-film look at Harlow’s work and her own impressions of her costars and directors, this retrospective traces her growth as an actress—from tentative supporting player to top star at a prestigious studio—and how her often tumultuous life informed her performances.

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Newly Published: The Harry Potter Generation

New on our bookshelf:

The Harry Potter Generation: Essays on Growing Up with the Series
Emily Lauer and Balaka Basu

The generation of readers most heavily impacted by J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series—those who grew up alongside “the boy who lived”—have come of age. They are poised to become teachers, parents, critics and writers, and many of their views and choices will be influenced by the literary revolution in which they were immersed. This collection of new essays explores the many different ways in which Harry Potter has shaped this generation’s views on everything from politics to identity to pedagogical spaces online. It seeks to determine how the books have affected fans’ understanding of their place in the world and their capacity to create it anew.

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Newly Published: Tommy Thompson

New on our bookshelf:

Tommy Thompson: New-Timey String Band Musician
Lewis M. Stern

Tommy Thompson arrived in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in 1963, smitten by folk and traditional Appalachian music. In 1972, he teamed with Bill Hicks and Jim Watson to form the nontraditional string band the Red Clay Ramblers. Mike Craver joined in 1973, and Jack Herrick in 1976.  Over time, musicians including Clay Buckner, Bland Simpson and Chris Frank joined Tommy, who played with the band until 1994.

Drawing on interviews and correspondence, and the personal papers of Thompson, the author depicts a life that revolved around music and creativity. Appendices cover Thompson’s banjos, his discography and notes on his collaborative lyric writing.

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Newly Published: Text & Presentation, 2018

New on our bookshelf:

Text & Presentation, 2018
Edited by Jay Malarcher

The 15th in a series drawn from scholarship presented at the annual Comparative Drama Conference at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, this collection provides insights into texts and practices currently at the forefront of theatrical discussion. The volume includes various essays on the intersections of script and performance, and features an exclusive interview with keynote speaker, playwright Simon Stephens.

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Newly Published: Cowboy Courage

New on our bookshelf:

Cowboy Courage: Westerns and the Portrayal of Bravery
William Hampes

Film and television Westerns are most often associated with physical bravery. However, many—especially those produced during the “Golden Age” of Westerns from the late 1940s through the early 1960s—also demonstrate moral bravery (the willingness to do the right thing even when met with others’ disapproval) and psychological bravery (the ability to overcome one’s fear and inner conflict to bring out the best in oneself and others).

Through a close examination of Westerns displaying all three types of bravery, the author shows us how courage can lead to, and even enrich, other virtues like redemption, authenticity, love, friendship, allegiance to one’s community, justice, temperance, and growing up and growing old successfully.

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Newly Published: Takashi Shimura

New on our bookshelf:

Takashi Shimura: Chameleon of Japanese Cinema
Scott Allen Nollen

Considered one of the finest performers in world cinema, Japanese actor Takashi Shimura (1905–1982) appeared in more than 300 stage, film and television roles during his five-decade career. He is best known for his frequent collaborations with Akira Kurosawa, including major roles in the landmark classics Rashômon (1950), Ikiru (1952) and Seven Samurai (1954), and for his memorable characterizations in Ishirô Honda’s Godzilla (1954) and several Kaijû sequels. This is the first complete English-language account of Shimura’s work. In addition to historical and critical coverage of Shimura’s life and career, it includes an extensive filmography.

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Newly Published: Trigger

New on our bookshelf:

Trigger: The Lives and Legend of Roy Rogers’ Palomino, 2d ed.
Leo Pando

Roy Rogers’ golden palomino, Trigger, was the perhaps the most famous horse in film—more popular than the man himself among certain fans. In its expanded second edition, this detailed look at the animals and men who created the legend of “the smartest horse in the movies” examines the life story of the original Trigger—and his doubles, particularly Little Trigger, the extraordinary trick horse.

Movies in which Trigger appeared without Rogers are discussed. More than 200 photographs (90 new to this edition) and 30,000 words of additional material are included, covering unresolved aspects of Trigger’s story, controversies surrounding the sale of the Roy Roger’s Museum collection and the fate of his legacy.

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Newly Published: The Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture, 2017–2018

New on our bookshelf:

The Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture, 2017–2018
Edited by William M. Simons

Widely acknowledged as the preeminent gathering of baseball scholars, the annual Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture has made significant contributions to baseball research. This collection of 15 new essays selected from the 2017 and the 2018 symposia examines topics whose importance extend beyond the ballpark. Presented in six parts, the essays explore baseball’s cultural and social history and analyze the tools that encourage a more sophisticated understanding of baseball as a game and enterprise.

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Newly Published: The Many Lives of The Evil Dead

New on our bookshelf:

The Many Lives of The Evil Dead: Essays on the Cult Film Franchise
Edited by Ron Riekki and Jeffrey A. Sartain

One of the top-grossing independent films of all time, The Evil Dead (1981) sparked a worldwide cult following, resulting in sequels, remakes, musicals, comic books, conventions, video games and a television series.

Examining the legacy of one of the all-time great horror films, this collection of new essays covers the franchise from a range of perspectives. Topics include The Evil Dead as punk rock cinema, the Deadites’ (demon-possessed undead) place in the American zombie tradition, the powers and limitations of Deadites, evil as affect, and the films’ satire of neoliberal individualism.

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Newly Published: “Twice the Thrills! Twice the Chills!”

New on our bookshelf:

“Twice the Thrills! Twice the Chills!”: Horror and Science Fiction Double Features, 1955–1974
Bryan Senn

In the mid-1950s, to combat declining theater attendance, film distributors began releasing pre-packaged genre double-bills—including many horror and science fiction double features. Though many of these films were low-budget and low-end, others, such as Invasion of the Body SnatchersHorror of Dracula and The Fly, became bona fide classics. Beginning with Universal-International’s 1955 pairing of Revenge of the Creature and Cult of the Cobra, 147 officially sanctioned horror and sci-fi double-bills were released over a 20-year period. This book presents these double features year-by-year, and includes production details, historical notes, and critical commentary for each film.

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Booklist Starred Review: Hammer Complete

Hammer Complete: The Films, the Personnel, the Company
Howard Maxford

“This superb encyclopedia is likely the definitive work on Britain’s most celebrated genre-film producer…skilfully compact prose shares space with tons of illustrations, including rare foreign-market posters…a voluminous index ensures that you won’t get lost navigating this giant tome…this is such an appealing book that it’s practically guaranteed to find its way into readers’ hands. A major achievement that can only strengthen its subject’s reputation.”—Booklist (starred review)

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Newly Published: The Nosferatu Story

New on our bookshelf:

The Nosferatu Story: The Seminal Horror Film, Its Predecessors and Its Enduring Legacy
Rolf Giesen

Director F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror, made in 1921, right after the devastating Spanish Flu pandemic, has become the ultimate cult classic among horror film buffs around the world. For years there was much speculation about the production background, the filmmakers, and their star, the German actor Max Schreck. This book tells the complete story drawing on rare sources. This book tells the complete story, drawing on rare sources. The trail leads to a group of occultists with a plan to establish a leading film company that would produce a momentous series of horror movies. Along the way, the author touches upon other classic German fantasy silents, such as The GolemThe Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Metropolis.

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Newly Published: Nuts About Squirrels

New on our bookshelf:

Nuts About Squirrels: The Rodents That Conquered Popular Culture
Don H. Corrigan

Squirrels have made numerous appearances in mass media over the years, from Beatrix Potter’s Nutkin and Timmy Tiptoes, to Rocky the flying squirrel of The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, and to Conker and Squirrel Girl of video game fame. This book examines how squirrel legends from centuries ago have found new life through contemporary popular culture, with a focus on the various portrayals of these wily creatures in books, newspapers, television, movies, public relations, advertising and video games.

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Newly Published: The Kelvin Timeline of Star Trek

New on our bookshelf:

The Kelvin Timeline of Star Trek: Essays on J.J. Abrams’ Final Frontier
Edited by Matthew Wilhelm Kapell and Ace G. Pilkington

In an era of reboots, restarts and retreads, J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek trilogy—featuring new, prequel adventures of Kirk, Spock and the rest of the original series characters, aboard the USS Enterprise—has brought the franchise to a new generation and perfected a process that is increasingly central to entertainment media: reinvigorating the beloved classic.

This collection of new essays offers the first in-depth analysis of the new trilogy and the vision of the next generation of Star Trek film-makers. Issues of gender, race, politics, economics, technology and morality—always key themes of the franchise—are explored in the 21st century context of “The Kelvin Timeline.”

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Newly Published: Harry Potter and the Cedarville Censors

New on our bookshelf:

Harry Potter and the Cedarville Censors: Inside the Precedent-Setting Defeat of an Arkansas Book Ban
Brian Meadors

In 2002, the Cedarville School Board in Crawford County, Arkansas, ordered the removal of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books from library shelves, holding that “witchcraft or sorcery [should not] be available for study.” The Board picked some formidable adversaries. School librarian Estella Roberts, standing on policy, had the books reviewed—and unanimously approved—by a committee of teachers and administrators that included a child and a parent. Not satisfied with the Board’s half-measure permitting access to the books with parental approval, 4th-grader Dakota Counts and her father Bill Counts sued the school district in Federal court, drawing on the precedent Pico v. Island Trees to reaffirm that Constitutional rights apply to school libraries. Written by the lawyer who prosecuted the case, this book details the origins of the book ban and the civil procedures and legal arguments that restored the First Amendment in Cedarville.

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Newly Published: Cantor William Sharlin

New on our bookshelf:

Cantor William Sharlin: Musical Revolutionary of Reform Judaism
Jonathan L. Friedmann

William Sharlin (1920–2012) was a cantor, synagogue composer, teacher and musicologist. Raised in an Orthodox household, he turned toward Universalism and the liberal Reform movement. A member of the first graduating class of the first cantorial school in America, he was a founding member of the American Conference of Cantors and is recognized as the first to play a guitar in the synagogue. Sharlin developed the Department of Sacred Music at HUC in Los Angeles, where he taught for 40 years, trained women to be cantors before they were allowed in the seminary, and spent nearly four decades at Leo Baeck Temple.

Drawing on interviews conducted with Sharlin late in life, the author chronicles the career of one of the most inventive and creative figures in the history of the cantorate.

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Newly Published: The Culture and Art of Death in 19th Century America

New on our bookshelf:

The Culture and Art of Death in 19th Century America
D. Tulla Lightfoot

Nineteenth-century Victorian-era mourning rituals—long and elaborate public funerals, the wearing of lavishly somber mourning clothes, and families posing for portraits with deceased loved ones—are often depicted as bizarre or scary. But behind many such customs were rational or spiritual meanings.
This book offers an in-depth explanation at how death affected American society and the creative ways in which people responded to it. The author discusses such topics as mediums as performance artists and postmortem painters and photographers, and draws a connection between death and the emergence of three-dimensional media.

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Newly Published: Italian Gothic Horror Films, 1980–1989

New on our bookshelf:

Italian Gothic Horror Films, 1980–1989
Roberto Curti

The Italian Gothic horror genre underwent many changes in the 1980s, with masters such as Mario Bava and Riccardo Freda dying or retiring and young filmmakers such as Lamberto Bava (MacabroDemons) and Michele Soavi (The Church) surfacing.

Horror films proved commercially successful in the first half of the decade thanks to Dario Argento (both as director and producer) and Lucio Fulci, but the rise of made-for-TV products has resulted in the gradual disappearance of genre products from the big screen.

This book examines all the Italian Gothic films of the 1980s. It includes previously unpublished trivia and production data taken from official archive papers, original scripts and interviews with filmmakers, actors and scriptwriters. The entries include a complete cast and crew list, plot summary, production history and analysis. Two appendices list direct-to-video releases and made-for-TV films.

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Newly Published: Perspectives on Digital Comics

New on our bookshelf:

Perspectives on Digital Comics: Theoretical, Critical and Pedagogical Essays
Edited by Jeffrey SJ Kirchoff and Mike P. Cook

This collection of new essays explores various ways of reading, interpreting and using digital comics. Contributors discuss comics made specifically for web consumption, and also digital reproductions of print-comics. Written for those who may not be familiar with digital comics or digital comic scholarship, the essays cover perspectives on reading, criticism and analysis of specific titles, the global reach of digital comics, and how they can be used in educational settings.

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Two New Books Reviewed in March Issue of Choice

Electric Airplanes and Drones: A History
“Certainly one of the most comprehensive histories of electric aviation and drones to date…engaging…extensive…thorough…a highly readable scholarly history relevant to aviation enthusiasts, students, or researchers…highly recommended.”

Field Recordings of Black Singers and Musicians: An Annotated Discography of Artists from West Africa, the Caribbean and the Eastern and Southern United States, 1901–1943
“This is an important reference source…highly recommended.”

 

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Newly Published: “I’m Just a Comic Book Boy”

New on our bookshelf:

“I’m Just a Comic Book Boy”: Essays on the Intersection of Comics and Punk
Edited by Christopher B. Field, Keegan Lannon, Michael David MacBride and Christopher C. Douglas

Comics and the punk movement are inextricably linked—each has a foundational do-it-yourself ethos and a nonconformist spirit defiant of authority. This collection of new essays provides for the first time a thorough analysis of the intersections between comics and punk. The contributors expand the discussion beyond the familiar U.S. and UK scenes to include the influence punk has had on comics produced in other countries, such as Spain and Turkey.

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New in Softcover: A Sci-Fi Swarm and Horror Horde

Now available in softcover:

A Sci-Fi Swarm and Horror Horde: Interviews with 62 Filmmakers
Tom Weaver

In this jam-packed jamboree of conversations, more than 60 movie veterans describe their experiences on the sets of some of the world’s most beloved sci-fi and horror movies and television series. Including groundbreaking oldies (Flash Gordon, One Million B.C.); 1950s and 1960s milestones (The War of the Worlds, Psycho, House of Usher); classic schlock (Queen of Outer Space, Attack of the Crab Monsters); and cult TV favorites (Lost in Space, Land of the Giants), the discussions offer a frank and fascinating behind-the-scenes look.

Among the interviewees: Roger Corman, Pamela Duncan, Richard and Alex Gordon, Tony “Dr. Lao” Randall, Troy Donahue, Sid Melton, Fess Parker, Nan Peterson, Alan Young, John “Bud” Cardos, and dozens more.

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Newly Published: American International Pictures

New on our bookshelf:

American International Pictures: A Comprehensive Filmography
Rob Craig

American International Pictures was in many ways the “missing link” between big-budget Hollywood studios, “poverty-row” B-movie factories and low-rent exploitation movie distributors. AIP first targeted teen audiences with science fiction, horror and fantasy, but soon grew to encompass many genres and demographics—at times, it was indistinguishable from many of the “major” studios.
From Abby to Zontar, this filmography lists more than 800 feature films, television series and TV specials by AIP and its partners and subsidiaries. Special attention is given to American International Television (the TV arm of AIP) and an appendix lists the complete AITV catalog. The author also discusses films produced by founders James H. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff after they left the company.

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New in Softcover: Show Business Homicides

Now available in softcover:

Show Business Homicides: An Encyclopedia, 1908–2009
David K. Frasier

A companion volume to the author’s Suicide in the Entertainment Industry: An Encyclopedia of 840 Twentieth Century Cases (2002), this reference work chronicles 298 cases of what can be broadly defined as “celebrity” homicides from the early twentieth century onward. Cases are drawn from the realms of film, theatre, music, dance and other entertainment fields. In each instance, the person was either the actual or suspected perpetrator or the victim of a murder.

Included are entries on such well-known personalities as film comedian Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, actress Sharon Tate, music producer Phil Spector, rap artist Notorious B.I.G., and superstar Michael Jackson. Each entry covers the crime, its legal disposition, and the subject’s personal and professional background, comprehensively documented with notes and a separate bibliography.

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New in Softcover: Laird Cregar

Now available in softcover:

Laird Cregar: A Hollywood Tragedy
Gregory William Mank

In 1944, Laird Cregar played Jack the Ripper in The Lodger, giving one of the most haunting performances in Hollywood history. It was the climax of a strange celebrity that saw the young American actor—who stood 6’ 3” and weighed more than 300 pounds—earn distinction as a portrayer of psychopaths and villains. Determined to break free of this typecasting, he desperately desired to become “a beautiful man,” embarking on an extreme diet that killed him at 31. This first biography of Cregar tells the heartbreaking story of the brilliant but doomed actor. Appendices cover his film, theatre, and radio work. Many never before published photographs are included.  The limited hardcover edition is available here.

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New in Softcover: Country Boy

Now available in softcover:

Country Boy: A Biography of Albert Lee
Derek Watts

Best known for his unique musical style and blindingly fast hybrid picking technique, English guitarist Albert Lee is often referred to within the music industry as the “guitar player’s guitar player,” renowned for his work across several genres of music and for the respect that he has garnered from other industry giants.

This comprehensive biography tells the entire story of Lee’s long career and personal experiences, beginning with his upbringing in south London and his early experimentations with skiffle music (the British equivalent of American rockabilly). It covers Lee’s career in Chris Farlowe’s Thunderbirds and the British rock and country group Heads, Hands, and Feet, his move to the United States in the 1970s and his subsequent work with Eric Clapton, the Crickets, Emmylou Harris and the Hot Band, the Everly Brothers, and, more recently, with Bill Wyman and with Hogan’s Heroes. Lee’s career is set against the background of changes in popular music and shows how he, as a British artist with nomadic Romany roots, has influenced traditionally “American” musical genres. The work includes 66 photographs, many from Lee’s personal collection, two appendices, and an extensive bibliography.

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Newly Published: Superman and the Bible

New on our bookshelf:

Superman and the Bible: How the Idea of Superheroes Affects the Reading of Scripture
Nicholaus Pumphrey

In 1938, Superman debuted, jumping off the pages of Action Comics #1. In the cultural context of the Great Depression and World War II, the U.S. would see the rise of the superhero not only in comic books but in radio programs, animated cartoons and television shows. Superman forever changed one’s concept of the hero and became permanently engrained in both American and worldwide culture.

This study explores the Man of Steel’s narrative as a fresh perspective on readings of the Bible—his character is reflected in such figures as Moses, Samson and Jesus. The author argues that if we read the Bible it can be said we are reading about Superman.

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New in Softcover: Abbott and Costello on the Home Front

Now available in softcover:

Abbott and Costello on the Home Front: A Critical Study of the Wartime Films
Scott Allen Nollen

As two of the most popular entertainers of the mid-century film industry, comic greats Bud Abbott and Lou Costello offered an essential balm to the American public following the sorrows of the Great Depression and during the trauma of World War II. This is the first book to focus in detail on the immensely popular wartime films of Abbott and Costello, discussing the production, content, and reception of 18 films within the context of wartime events on the home front and abroad. The films covered include the service comedies Buck Privates, In the Navy, and Keep ’Em Flying; more mainstream comic relief films such as Pardon My Sarong and Who Done It?; and post-war experiments such as Little Giant and The Time of Their Lives. More than 120 stills and lobby cards from the author’s personal collection illustrate the text, including many showing outtakes or deleted scenes.

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Newly Published: The Horror Comic Never Dies

New on our bookshelf:

The Horror Comic Never Dies: A Grisly History
Michael Walton

Horror comics were among the first comic books published—ghastly tales that soon developed an avid young readership, along with a bad reputation. Parent groups, psychologists, even the United States government joined in a crusade to wipe out the horror comics industry—and they almost succeeded. Yet the genre survived and flourished, from the 1950s to today.

This history covers the tribulations endured by horror comics creators and the broader impact on the comics industry. The genre’s ultimate success helped launch the careers of many of the biggest names in comics. Their stories and the stories of other key players are included, along with a few surprises.

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Newly Published: The Art of American Screen Acting, 1960 to Today

New on our bookshelf:

The Art of American Screen Acting, 1960 to Today
Dan Callahan

Modern screen acting in English is dominated by two key figures: Method acting guru Lee Strasberg—who taught the “the art of experiencing” over “the art of representing”—and English theater titan Laurence Olivier, who once said of the Method’s immersive approach, “try acting, it’s so much easier.”

This book explores in detail the work of such method actors as Al Pacino, Ellen Burstyn, Jack Nicholson and Jane Fonda, and charts the shift away from the more internally focused Strasberg-based acting of the 1970s, and towards the more “external” way of working, exemplified by the career of Meryl Streep in the 1980s.

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Newly Published: Snakes in American Culture

New on our bookshelf:

Snakes in American Culture: A Hisstory
Jesse C. Donahue and Conor Shaw-Draves

The literature on snakes is manifold but overwhelmingly centered on the natural sciences. Little has been published about them in the fields of popular culture or the history of medicine.

Focusing primarily on American culture and history from the 1800s, this study draws on a wide range of sources—including newspaper archives, medical journals, and archives from the Smithsonian Institute—to examine the complex relationship between snakes and humans.

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Newly Published: Elder Horror

New on our bookshelf:

Elder Horror: Essays on Film’s Frightening Images of Aging
Edited by Cynthia J. Miller and A. Bowdoin Van Riper

As baby boomers gray, cinematic depictions of aging and the aged are on the rise. In the horror genre, fears of growing old take on fantastic proportions. Elderly characters are portrayed as either eccentric harbingers of doom—the crone who stops at nothing to restore her youth, the ancient ancestor who haunts the living—or as frail victims.

This collection of new essays explores how various filmic portrayals of aging, as an inescapable horror destined to overtake us all, reflect our complex attitudes toward growing old, along with its social, psychological and economic consequences.

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Newly Published: The Body, the Dance and the Text

New on our bookshelf:

The Body, the Dance and the Text: Essays on Performance and the Margins of History
Edited by Brynn Wein Shiovitz

This collection of new essays explores the many ways in which writing relates to corporeality and how the two work together to create, resist or mark the body of the “Other.” Contributors draw on varied backgrounds to examine different movement practices. They focus on movement as a meaning-making process, including the choreographic act of writing. The challenges faced by marginalized bodies are discussed, along with the ability of a body to question, contest and re-write historical narratives.

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Newly Published: Neil “Soapy” Castles

New on our bookshelf:

Neil “Soapy” Castles: Memoir of a Life in NASCAR and the Movies
Henry Neil “Soapy” Castles with Perry Allen Wood

Henry Neil “Soapy” Castles grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, and became involved in its pioneering auto racing scene at an early age. Graduating from soapbox derby cars to midgets and sprints and finally to stock cars, he sometimes crashed, sometimes won, saw friends die horribly, and became a champion.

Eventually he left the racetrack for Hollywood where he became a stuntman working alongside such stars as Rory Calhoun, Elvis Presley, Kenny Rogers, Richard Pryor and Andy Griffith. In the 1990s, groundwater contamination at Castle’s truck repair business from an Exxon oil storage facility cost him an eye and most of his lungs. His decade-long class action lawsuit won him millions in compensation. Now in his mid-eighties, Castles is still going strong, procuring vehicles for movie and television projects.

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Biographies and Memoirs Catalog and Sale

McFarland’s biographies and memoirs cover the fascinating life stories of both iconic personalities and quiet heroes.  On sale now, browse hundreds of titles from history, sports, movies, music, science & technology, literature, military history, transportation and more. When you order direct from our website using the coupon code BIOGRAPHY, print editions of all biographies, autobiographies and memoirs are 20% off now through February 15.

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Newly Published: Film Appreciation through Genres

New on our bookshelf:

Film Appreciation through Genres
Michael Patrick Gillespie

Our love of films often leads us to discuss them in enthusiastic, if not necessarily sophisticated, conversations. Many moviegoers want a better understanding so that they might better articulate their experiences. This midpoint between theorizing and plot summary is not difficult to achieve.

Since their introduction just before the turn of the 20th century, the vast majority of narrative films have followed the same structure—now known as Classic Hollywood Cinema. This book examines what “classic” means, particularly in Westerns, gangster films, film noir, horror, science fiction, slapstick comedy and screwball comedy/romance. The reader is introduced to concepts of film theory, which leads to a better and deeper appreciation of the movies. A 20-page comprehensive industry glossary of film terms is included for easy reference.

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Newly Published: The Paranormal Surrounds Us

New on our bookshelf:

The Paranormal Surrounds Us: Psychic Phenomena in Literature, Culture and Psychoanalysis
Richard Reichbart

Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Joyce, E.M. Forster and Ingmar Bergman all made the paranormal essential to their depiction of humanity. Freud recognized telepathy as an everyday phenomenon. Observations on parapsychological aspects of psychoanalysis also include the findings of the Mesmerists, Jung, Ferenczi and Eisenbud.

Many academicians attribute such psychic discoveries to “poetic license” rather than to accurate understanding of our parapsychological capacities. The author—a practicing psychoanalyst and parapsychologist, and a lawyer familiar with Navajo culture—argues for a fresh appraisal of psi phenomena and their integration into psychoanalytic theory and clinical work, literary studies and anthropology.

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Newly Published: Tony Scott

New on our bookshelf:

Tony Scott: A Filmmaker on Fire
Larry Taylor

Tony Scott got his start as a film director when he joined his brother at the lucrative commercial directing company Ridley Scott Associates. After directing Top Gun—his second film, which changed not only the trajectory of his own life but of the entire action-movie industry—Scott’s career would be a roller coaster of blockbuster hits, personal films and confounding failures.

With extensive research and original interviews with actors, cinematographers and writers, this book documents Tony Scott’s larger-than-life persona from his early days to his untimely death, which left a hole in genre filmmaking yet to be filled.

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Newly Published: America Goes Hawaiian

New on our bookshelf:

America Goes Hawaiian: The Influence of Pacific Island Culture on the Mainland
Geoff Alexander

How did Hawaiian and Polynesian culture come to dramatically alter American music, fashion and decor, as well as ideas about race, in less than a century? It began with mainland hula and musical performances in the late 19th century, rose dramatically as millions shipped to Hawaii during the Pacific War, then made big leap with the advent of low-cost air travel.

By the end of the 1950s, mainlanders were hosting tiki parties, listening to exotic music, lazing on rattan furniture in Hawaiian shirts and, of course, surfing. The author describes how this cultural conquest came about and the people and events that led to it.

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Newly Published: Gene Kiniski

New on our bookshelf:

Gene Kiniski: Canadian Wrestling Legend
Steven Verrier

Gene Kiniski (1928–2010) was internationally known to a generation of wrestling fans and to Canadians everywhere as “Canada’s Greatest Athlete.” Older fans and wrestling historians remember him best for his accomplishments in the ring, his run-’em-over approach to the game, his growly demeanor, and his razor wit he could unleash at will. Drawing on recollections from fellow wrestlers, promoters, and friends, this first biography of Kiniski gives a full account of the life of a champion pro wrestler who won over fans throughout the U.S., Canada, and Japan in a career spanning more than three decades.

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Newly Published: Thrills Untapped

New on our bookshelf:

Thrills Untapped: Neglected Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Films, 1928–1936
Michael R. Pitts

Giving deserved attention to nearly 150 neglected films, this book covers early sound era features, serials and documentaries with genre elements of horror, science fiction and fantasy, from major and minor studios and independents.

Full credits, synopses, critical analyses and contemporary reviews are provided for The Blue LightThe Cat CreepsCollege ScandalCosmic VoyageThe Dragon Murder CaseThe Haunted BarnLost GodsMurder in the Red BarnThe New GulliverReturn of the TerrorSeven Footprints to SatanS.O.S. IcebergWhile the Patient SleptThe White Hell of Pitz Palu and many others.

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Newly Published: In Theaters Everywhere

New on our bookshelf:

In Theaters Everywhere: A History of the Hollywood Wide Release, 1913–2017
Brian Hannan

Conflicts among Hollywood studios and exhibitors have been going on for years. At their heart are questions about how films should be released—where, when and at what speed. Both sides of this disagreement are losers, with exhibitors using the law via various Consent Decrees and studios retaliating by tightly controlling output.

In the Silent Era, movies were not released nearly as widely as they are now. This book tells the story of how the few became the many. It explores the contraction of the release cycle, the maximization of the marketing dollar, and the democratization of consumer access. It also offers a comprehensive list of wide releases and rebuts much of what previous scholars have found.

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Newly Published: Hammer Complete

New on our bookshelf:

Hammer Complete: The Films, the Personnel, the Company
Howard Maxford

Think you know everything there is to know about Hammer Films, the fabled “Studio that Dripped Blood?” The lowdown on all the imperishable classics of horror, like The Curse of FrankensteinHorror of Dracula and The Devil Rides Out? What about the company’s less blood-curdling back catalog? What about the musicals, comedies and travelogues, the fantasies and historical epics—not to mention the pirate adventures? This lavishly illustrated encyclopedia covers every Hammer film and television production in thorough detail, including budgets, shooting schedules, publicity and more, along with all the actors, supporting players, writers, directors, producers, composers and technicians. Packed with quotes, behind-the-scenes anecdotes, credit lists and production specifics, this all-inclusive reference work is the last word on this cherished cinematic institution.

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Newly Published: The Hal Roach Comedy Shorts of Thelma Todd, ZaSu Pitts and Patsy Kelly

New on our bookshelf:

The Hal Roach Comedy Shorts of Thelma Todd, ZaSu Pitts and Patsy Kelly
James L. Neibaur

Hoping to follow his Laurel and Hardy success with a female comedy team, producer Hal Roach paired Thelma Todd with ZaSu Pitts in a 1931 series of two-reel shorts. Pitts left the studio for other pursuits, was replaced by Patsy Kelly and the series continued to be successful. Todd died under mysterious circumstances in 1935 and Kelly tried to carry on, first with Pert Kelton, then with Lyda Roberti. When Roberti died in 1938, the series ended.

This book takes the first film-by-film look at each of the comedies these women made, how they responded to different directors and how production adapted to changes along the way. Credits, production information, period reviews, and critical assessments are included.

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Newly Published: Holy Horror

New on our bookshelf:

Holy Horror: The Bible and Fear in Movies
Steve A. Wiggins

What, exactly, makes us afraid? Is it monsters, gore, the unknown? Perhaps it’s a biblical sense of malice, lurking unnoticed in the corners of horror films. Holy Writ attempts to ward off aliens, ghosts, witches, psychopaths and demons, yet it often becomes a source of evil itself.

Looking first at Psycho (1960) and continuing through 2010, this book analyzes the starring and supporting roles of the Good Book in horror films, monster movies and thrillers to discover why it incites such fear. In a culture with high biblical awareness and low biblical literacy, horrific portrayals can greatly influence an audience’s canonical beliefs.

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Newly Published: The British Comic Book Invasion

New on our bookshelf:

The British Comic Book Invasion: Alan Moore, Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison and the Evolution of the American Style
Jochen Ecke

What makes a successful comics creator? How can storytelling stay exciting and innovative? How can genres be kept vital?

Writers and artists in the highly competitive U.S. comics mainstream have always had to explore these questions but they were especially pressing in the 1980s. As comics readers grew older they started calling for more sophisticated stories. They were also no longer just following the adventures of popular characters—writers and artists with distinctive styles were in demand. DC Comics and Marvel went looking for such mavericks and found them in the United Kingdom. Creators like Alan Moore (WatchmenSaga of the Swamp Thing), Grant Morrison (The InvisiblesFlex Mentallo) and Garth Ennis (Preacher) migrated from the anarchical British comics industry to the U.S. mainstream and shook up the status quo yet came to rely on the genius of the American system.

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Newly Published: Gene Hackman

New on our bookshelf:

Gene Hackman: The Life and Work
Peter Shelley

Gene Hackman (b. 1930) has been described as the best actor of his generation. During almost half a century as an American film, television and stage actor, film producer and author, he was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning the Best Actor for The French Connection (1971) and the Best Supporting Actor for Unforgiven (1992), as well as three Golden Globes and two BAFTAs. This study examines his film work in detail, with a filmography/videography included.

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Newly Published: Immersive Theater and Activism

New on our bookshelf:

Immersive Theater and Activism: Scripts and Strategies for Directors and Playwrights
Nandita Dinesh

Immersive theater calls upon audience members to become participants, actors and “others.” It traditionally offers binary roles—that of oppressor or that of victim—and thereby stands the risk of simplifying complex social situations.

Challenging such binaries, this book articulates theatrical “grey zones” when addressing juvenile detention, wartime interventions and immigration processes. It presents scripts and strategies for directors and playwrights who want to create theatrical environments that are immersive and pedagogical; aesthetically evocative and politically provocative; simple and complex.

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Newly Published: The Making of Tombstone

New on our bookshelf:

The Making of Tombstone: Behind the Scenes of the Classic Modern Western
John Farkis

The day-by-day inside story of the making of Tombstone (1993) as told to the author by those who were there—actors, extras, crew members, Buckaroos, historians and everyone in between. Historical context that inspired Kevin Jarre’s screenplay is included. Production designers, cameramen, costume designers, composers, illustrators, screenwriter, journalists, set dressers, prop masters, medics, stuntmen and many others share their recollections—many never-before-told—of filming this epic Western.

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Holiday 2018 Sale—Get 25% Off All Books!

The holidays are a special time at McFarland—in addition to publishing scholarship, many of us also participate in the tree harvest, as Ashe County produces more Christmas trees than any other county in the United States. If you live in the Southeast, you may have a little bit of McFarland in your living room right now! This season, please consider putting some McFarland under the tree for the readers in your life. To make your holiday shopping easier, we’re offering 25% off of ALL books through the end of the year! On our website, use coupon code HOLIDAY18, or call us at 800-253-2187. For inspiration, browse our new catalog of of gift ideas for readers. Happy holidays from your friends at McFarland!

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Newly Published: A Wanderer by Trade

New on our bookshelf:

A Wanderer by Trade: Gender in the Songs of Bob Dylan
Patrick Webster

Many of Bob Dylan’s most well-known works date from the 1960s, and can be seen as critical indicators of the changes in American society then and since. This book explores the unthreading of ideas about masculinity, femininity, sexuality, and identity through the lens of some of Dylan’s most popular love songs. The author revealingly employs specific aspects of cultural theory to explore the appeal of Bob Dylan’s music both now and during the time it was written.

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Newly Published: I Wanna Wrock!

New on our bookshelf:

I Wanna Wrock! The World of Harry Potter–Inspired “Wizard Rock” and Its Fandom
Paul A. Thomas

“Wizard rock”—music based on the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling—is an idiosyncratic subgenre, with band names like Harry and the Potters, Draco and the Malfoys and The Whomping Willows. Drawing on input from insiders and fans, and interviews with more than a dozen wizard rockers, this book explores the history and aesthetics of the movement. An appendix lists dozens of popular bands, members and discographies: a must-have for fandom scholars and wizard rock devotees alike.

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Newly Published: Ballet Matters

New on our bookshelf today:

Ballet Matters: A Cultural Memoir of Dance Dreams and Empowering Realities
Jennifer Fisher

Part memoir, part dance history and ethnography, this critical study explores ballet’s power to inspire and to embody ideas about politics, race, women’s agency, and spiritual experience.

The author knows that dance relates to life in powerful individual and communal ways, reflecting culture and embodying new ideas. Although ballet can appear (and sometimes is) elite and exclusionary, it also has revolutionary potential.

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Newly Published: Theatre of the Ridiculous

New on our bookshelf:

Theatre of the Ridiculous: A Critical History
Kelly I. Aliano

Theatre of the Ridiculous is a significant movement that highlighted the radical possibilities inherent in camp. Much of contemporary theatre owes this form a great debt but little has been written about its history or aesthetic markers. This book offers a comprehensive overview of the important practitioners, along with critical commentary of their work.

Beginning with Ridiculous’ most recognizable name, Charles Ludlam, the author traces the development of this campy, queer genre, from the B movies of Maria Montez to the Pop Art scene of Andy Warhol to the founding of the Play-House of the Ridiculous and the dawn of Ludlam’s career and finally to the contemporary theatre scene.

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Newly Published: Movie Magick

New on our bookshelf today:

Movie Magick: The Occult in Film
David Huckvale

“Magick” as defined by Aleister Crowley is “the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.” This book explores expressions of movie magick in classic occult films like Hammer’s adaptation of Dennis Wheatley’s The Devil Rides Out and modern occult revival movies. These films are inspired by the aesthetics of fin de siècle decadence, the symbolist writings of Villiers de l’Isle Adam, Wagnerian music drama, the Faust legend, the pseudo-science of theosophy, 1960s occult psychedelia, occult conspiracy theories and obscure aspects of animation.

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Newly Published: Vying for the Iron Throne

New on our bookshelf today:

Vying for the Iron Throne: Essays on Power, Gender, Death and Performance in HBO’s Game of Thrones
Edited by Lindsey Mantoan and Sara Brady

Game of Thrones has changed the landscape of television during an era hailed as the Golden Age of TV. An adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy A Song of Fire and Ice, the HBO series has taken on a life of its own with original plotlines that advance past those of Martin’s books.

The death of protagonist Ned Stark at the end of Season One launched a killing spree in television—major characters now die on popular shows weekly. While many shows kill off characters for pure shock value, death on Game of Thrones produces seismic shifts in power dynamics—and resurrected bodies that continue to fight. This collection of new essays explores how power, death, gender, and performance intertwine in the series.

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Newly Published: The Manson Family on Film and Television

New on our bookshelf today:

The Manson Family on Film and Television
Ian Cooper

For half a century the Manson Family has captured the public imagination—the lurid, inexplicable violence in a glamorous Hollywood setting, the bizarre and lengthy trials, and Charles Manson’s strange charisma and willingness to embrace the role of evil icon.

For years, the story has been documented, dramatized and lampooned in dozens of films and television programs. This comprehensive study examines the various on-screen portrayals, from factual accounts based on prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi’s true crime classic Helter Skelter to prime-time TV dramas to a claymation spoof and even hardcore porn.

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Newly Published: The Rolling Stones in Concert, 1962–1982

New on our bookshelf today:

The Rolling Stones in Concert, 1962–1982: A Show-by-Show History
Ian M. Rusten

This day-by-day chronicle of every live concert by the Rolling Stones from 1962 through 1982 traces their development from a band playing small clubs around London to the global phenomenon we know today. Comprehensive coverage of the shows includes set lists, venues, concert reviews, anecdotes and notable events in the lives of the band members.

A list of the Stones’ radio recordings— some of which were performed before live audiences—and television performances is included, along with never-before-published posters, programs, tickets, handbills and photographs.

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Halloween Sale: Horror Books

We realize that the stores have had their trees and Christmas decorations out for sale for weeks now.  At McFarland though, no one wants to leapfrog past our favorite holiday, Halloween!  McFarland has scheduled a sale for our books about horror – whether on film, television, literature, games, comics, culture or anything else.  When you order direct from our website using the coupon code HORROR25, print editions of all horror books are 25% off Friday, October 26 through Halloween, October 31.  Be prepared to be up late with the lights on…

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Newly Published: “Bare Knees” Flapper

New on our bookshelf today:

“Bare Knees” Flapper: The Life and Films of Virginia Lee Corbin
Tim Lussier

One of the most popular Hollywood child stars of the late 1910s, Virginia Lee Corbin was well known to fans worldwide. With her mother as her manager, Corbin retained her popularity as she grew older. She performed in vaudeville for a couple of years before continuing her film career. Corbin fit well into the flapper mold of the Jazz Age and appeared in many films throughout the 1920s. As she matured, her mother found it ever more difficult to control her. Corbin led a difficult life. After her mother’s suicide attempt, she found that all the money she had earned was gone. Her marriage (at age 18) failed and she was eventually separated from her children. The flapper struggled to remain relevant in the sound era and was trying to make a comeback when she died at 31 in 1942.

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Newly Published: Diabolical Possession and the Case Behind The Exorcist

New on our bookshelf today:

Diabolical Possession and the Case Behind The Exorcist: An Overview of Scientific Research with Interviews with Witnesses and Experts
Sergio A. Rueda

Reexamining the purported 1949 exorcism of a 13-year old boy in Mount Ranier, Maryland—the most famous and widely documented case in history—the author explores the subject of demonic possession in the light of science. Eyewitness accounts, unpublished photos and never before published documents from the archives of the Rhine Research Foundation provide fresh perspective on the events that inspired the novel, and later the film, The Exorcist.

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Newly Published: The Romanian Cinema of Nationalism

New on our bookshelf today:

The Romanian Cinema of Nationalism: Historical Films as Propaganda and Spectacle
Onoriu Colăcel

Prior to the collapse of communism, Romanian historical movies were political, encouraging nationalistic feelings and devotion to the state. Vlad the Impaler and other such iconic figures emerged as heroes rather than loathsome bloodsuckers, celebrating a shared sense of belonging. The past decade has, however, presented Romanian films in which ordinary people are the stars—heroes, go-getters, swindlers and sore losers. The author explores a wide selection, old and new, of films set in the Romanian past.

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Newly Published: Christopher Nolan

New on our bookshelf today:

Christopher Nolan: A Critical Study of the Films
Darren Mooney

Christopher Nolan is one of the defining directors of the 21st century. Few of his contemporaries can compete in terms of critical and commercial success, let alone cultural impact. His films have a rare ability to transcend audience expectations, appealing to both casual moviegoers and dyed-in-the-wool cineastes.

Nolan’s work ranges from gritty crime thrillers (Memento, Insomnia) to spectacular blockbusters (the Dark Knight trilogy, Inception). They have taken audiences from the depths of space (Interstellar) to the harsh realities of war (Dunkirk). They have pushed the boundaries of possibility in modern movie making. This critical history covers his complete filmography, tracing his career from film student to indie darling to Oscar-nominated auteur.

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Newly Published: The Hopefuls

New on our bookshelf today:

The Hopefuls: Chasing a Rock ’n’ Roll Dream in the Minnesota Music Scene
Paul V. Allen

Songwriters, performers and producers Erik Appelwick, Eric Fawcett, John Hermanson and Darren Jackson were important players in an early 2000s musical collective. This collective included genres such as folk, power pop, R & B, electro-funk and indie rock. Well-known bands Storyhill, Spymob, Alva Star, Kid Dakota, Vicious Vicious, Tapes ’n Tapes, Olympic Hopefuls and others were part of this movement.

These four men worked for their rock n’ roll dreams, producing well-crafted albums and exciting live performances along the way. Their shared biography draws from dozens of new interviews and hundreds of articles to document their intersecting musical journeys—from playing air guitar to KISS records to rocking gyms in high school cover bands to touring the world with some of pop music’s biggest names. Equal parts celebration and cautionary tale, this book discusses both the rewards and difficulties of life as an independent musician.

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Newly Published: Jean Gabin

New on our bookshelf today:

Jean Gabin: The Actor Who Was France
Joseph Harriss

Jean Gabin was more than just a star of iconic movies still screened in film festivals around the world. To many, he was France itself. During his 45-year career, he acted in 95 French films, including Le Quai des BrumesLa Grande IllusionTouchez Pas au Grisbi and French Cancan.

From his start as a reluctant song and dance man at the Moulin Rouge and Folies Bergère, Gabin became a first-magnitude actor under such directors as Julien Duvivier, Marcel Carné and Jean Renoir. This revealing biography traces his involvement in the réalisme poétique and film noir movements of the 1930s and 1940s, his unhappy Hollywood years, his role in the World War II liberation of France, his tumultuous affairs with Michèle Morgan and Marlene Dietrich and his real-life role as a Normandy gentleman farmer.

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Newly Published: Edmond O’Brien

New on our bookshelf today:

Edmond O’Brien: Everyman of Film Noir
Derek Sculthorpe

One of the most versatile actors of his generation, Edmond O’Brien made an impact in a series of iconic noir films. From a man reporting his own murder in D.O.A. (1949) to the conflicted title character in The Bigamist (1953), he portrayed the confusion of the Everyman in the postwar world.

His memorable roles spanned genres from Shakespeare to westerns and comedies—he also turned his hand to directing. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as the harassed press agent Oscar Muldoon in Joseph Mankiewicz’s bitter Cinderella fable The Barefoot Contessa (1954). This first in-depth study of O’Brien charts his life and career from the Broadway stage to Hollywood in its heyday and the rise of television, revealing a devoted family man dedicated to his craft.

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Newly Published: Post-Apocalyptic Patriarchy

New on our bookshelf today:

Post-Apocalyptic Patriarchy: American Television and Gendered Visions of Survival
Carlen Lavigne

Twenty-first century American television series such as RevolutionFalling SkiesThe Last Ship and The Walking Dead have depicted a variety of doomsday scenarios—nuclear cataclysm, rogue artificial intelligence, pandemic, alien invasion or zombie uprising. These scenarios speak to longstanding societal anxieties and contemporary calamities like 9/11 or the avian flu epidemic. Questions about post-apocalyptic television abound: whose voices are represented? What tomorrows are they most afraid of? What does this tell us about the world we live in today? The author analyzes these speculative futures in terms of gender, race and sexuality, revealing the fears and ambitions of a patriarchy in flux, as exemplified by the “return” to a mythical American frontier where the white male hero fights for survival, protects his family and crafts a new world order based on the old.

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Newly Published: Encyclopedia of Unaired Television Pilots, 1945–2018

New on our bookshelf today:

Encyclopedia of Unaired Television Pilots, 1945–2018
Vincent Terrace

Covering the years 1945–2018, this alphabetical listing provides details about 2,923 unaired television series pilots, including those that never went into production, and those that became series but with a different cast, such as The Green HornetThe Middle and Superman.

Rarities include proposed shows starring Bela Lugosi, Doris Day, Humphrey Bogart, Barbara Stanwyck, Orson Welles, Claudette Colbert and Mae West, along with such casting curiosities as Mona Freeman, not Gale Storm, as Margie in My Little Margie, and John Larkin as Perry Mason long before Raymond Burr played the role.

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Newly Published: The Music of Charlie Chaplin

New on our bookshelf today:

The Music of Charlie Chaplin
Jim Lochner

Charlie Chaplin the actor is universally synonymous with his beloved Tramp character. Chaplin the director is considered one of the great auteurs and innovators of cinema history. Less well known is Chaplin the composer, whose instrumental theme for Modern Times (1936) later became the popular standard “Smile,” a Billboard hit for Nat “King” Cole in 1954.

Chaplin was prolific yet could not read or write music. It took a rotating cast of talented musicians to translate his unorthodox humming, off-key singing, and amateur piano and violin playing into the singular orchestral vision he heard in his head.

Drawing on numerous transcriptions from 60 years of original scores, this comprehensive study reveals the untold story of Chaplin the composer and the string of famous (and not-so-famous) musicians he employed, giving fresh insight into his films and shedding new light on the man behind the icon.

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Newly Published: The Bite, the Breast and the Blood

New on our bookshelf today:

The Bite, the Breast and the Blood: Why Modern Vampire Stories Suck Us In
Amy Williams Wilson

Central to every vampire story is the undead’s need for human blood, but equally compelling is the human ingestion of vampire blood, which often creates a bond. This blood connection suggests two primal, natural desires: breastfeeding and communion with God through a blood covenant.

This analysis of vampire stories explores the benefits of the bonding experiences of breastfeeding and Christian and vampire narratives, arguing that modern readers and viewers are drawn to this genre because of our innate fascination with the relationship between human and maker.

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Newly Published: Shapers of American Childhood

New on our bookshelf today:

Shapers of American Childhood: Essays on Visionaries from L. Frank Baum to Dr. Spock to J.K. Rowling
Edited by Kathy Merlock Jackson and Mark I. West

The experience of growing up in the U.S. is shaped by many forces. Relationships with parents and teachers are deeply personal and definitive. Social and economic contexts are broader and harder to quantify.

Key individuals in public life have also had a marked impact on American childhood. These 18 new essays examine the influence of pivotal figures in the culture of 20th and 21st century childhood and child-rearing, from Benjamin Spock and Walt Disney to Ruth Handler, Barbie’s inventor, and Ernest Thompson Seton, founder of the Boy Scouts of America.

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Four New Titles Reviewed in October Issue of Choice

Freedom Narratives of African American Women: A Study of 19th Century Writings
“Compelling…crucially contributing to feminist recovery work and scholarship in African American studies, Freedom Narratives of African American Women is required reading for those interested in 19th-century America…essential.”

The Postmodern Joy of Role-Playing Games: Agency, Ritual and Meaning in the Medium
“Groundbreaking study…this volume is required reading for RPG and gaming scholars…essential.”

The American Soldier, 1866–1916: The Enlisted Man and the Transformation of the United States Army
“This is a rewarding study of enlisted men in the post–Civil War era…recommended.”

Organized Crime in the United States, 1865–1941
“Challenges widely accepted views…an interesting historical analysis…recommended.”

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Newly Published: The Films of Budd Boetticher

New on our bookshelf today:

The Films of Budd Boetticher
Robert Nott

Budd Boetticher (1916–2001) was a bullfighter, a pleasant madman and a talented journeyman filmmaker who could—with the right material and drive—create a minor Western film classic as easily as he could kill a bull. Yet pain and passion naturally mixed in both endeavors. Drawing on studio archives and featuring insightful interviews with Boetticher and those who worked with him, this retrospective looks at each of his 33 films in detail, covering his cinematic career from his days as an assistant’s assistant on the set of Hal Roach comedies to his last documentary some 45 years later.

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Newly Published: Video Gaming in Science Fiction

New on our bookshelf today:

Video Gaming in Science Fiction: A Critical Study
Jason Barr

As video gaming and gaming culture became more mainstream in the 1970s, science fiction authors began to incorporate aspects of each into their work. This study examines how media-fueled paranoia about video gaming—first emerging almost fifty years ago—still resonates in modern science fiction. The author reveals how negative stereotypes of gamers and gaming have endured in depictions of modern gamers in the media and how honest portrayals are still wanting, even in the “forward thinking” world of science fiction.

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Newly Published: Pirates in History and Popular Culture

New on our bookshelf today:

Pirates in History and Popular Culture
Edited by Antonio Sanna

This collection of new essays covers the myriad portrayals of the figure of the pirate in historical records, literary narratives, films, television series, opera, anime and games. Contributors explore the nuances of both real and fictional pirates, giving attention to renowned works such as Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, the Pirates of the Caribbean saga, and the anime One Piece, as well as less well known works such as pirate romances, William Clarke Russell’s The Frozen Pirate, Lionel Lindsay’s artworks, Steven Speilberg’s The Adventures of Tintin, and Pastafarian texts.