Science Fiction America

Essays on SF Cinema

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About the Book

From the inception of the science fiction film, writers, directors, producers, and actors have understood that the genre lends itself to a level of social commentary not available in other formats. Viewers find it easier to accept explorations of such issues as domestic violence, war, xenophobia, faith, identity, racism, and other difficult topics when the protagonists exist in future times or other worlds that are only vaguely similar to our own.
The 22 original essays in this collection examine how the issues in particular science fiction films—from 1930’s High Treason to 1999’s The Iron Giant—reflect and comment on the prevailing issues of their time. The 16 writers (including such noted contributors as Ted Okuda, Gary Don Rhodes, Bryan Senn, John Soister and Ken Weiss) provide insight on how the genre’s wistful daydreaming, forthcoming wonders, and nightmarish scenarios are often grounded in the grimmer realities of the human condition. Films covered include It Came from Outer Space, Godzilla, The 27th Day, Alien and Starship Troopers, plus television’s The Adventures of Superman, the Flash Gordon serials, and vintage space cartoons by Fleischer.

About the Author(s)

David J. Hogan has written reviews and features for Filmfax, Outré, Moviegoer, Photon, Cinefantastique and other film magazines. He lives in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by David J. Hogan
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 288
Bibliographic Info: 79 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2011 [2006]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6612-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0866-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi

Introduction: Science Fiction and the Actual      1

1. High Treason: Great Expectations      7

2. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931): Science, Society, and Sexuality      17

3. Cartoons and Technocracy: Disney’s The Mad Doctor and Fleischer’s Dancing on the Moon      24

4. Flash Gordon Conquers the Great Depression and World War Too! The Flash Gordon Serial Trilogy      40

5. Atomic City, Atomic World      57

6. Where Do Little Green Men Come From? A Speculative Look at the Origins of a Pop Culture Icon      69

7. In Them We Trust? Fear, Faith, and It Came from Outer Space      94

8. Secret Identity, Fragile Identity: TV’s Superman in “Superman on Earth,” “The Stolen Costume,” “The Face and the Voice,” and “Panic in the Sky”      104

9. The Atomic Kid: Radioactivity Finds Andy Hardy      120

10. Godzilla vs. the Military-Industrial Complex      130

11. Cosmic Frames and Cover-ups: Invasion of the Saucer Men and the UFO Conspiracy of Silence      138

12. The Cold War in Orbit: Two Films of Aliens, Arsenals, and Interventions      151

13. Scenes from a Marriage: The Sexual Politics of I Married a Monster from Outer Space      166

14. Two Faces of Voyeurism: Nude on the Moon and “X”. The Man with the X-Ray Eyes      176

15. The Satan Bug: Some Nightmares Are Quite Inescapable      188

16. “Conclusion of All Our Yesterdays”: The Jungian Text of The Omega Man      196

17. The Sport of Violence: Death Race 2000 and Rollerball      207

18. Logan’s Run to Relevance      217

19. Entropy in B-flat; or, Disordered Thoughts on The Black Hole      225

20. Pets or Meat: Alien, Aliens, and the Indifference of the Gods      233

21. The Brave New World of Starship Troopers      246

22. The Iron Giant: A Gun with a Soul      256

Contributors      269

Index      271

Book Reviews & Awards

“every bit as entertaining as they are instructive and observant”—FilmFax; “insightful”—Bookgasm; “a superior collection”—Monsters from the Vault; “well written and well referenced…recommended…worth a read”—Odyssey.