Space Sirens, Scientists and Princesses

The Portrayal of Women in Science Fiction Cinema


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About the Book

Women are now central to many science fiction films—but that has not always been the case. Female characters, from their token presence (or absence) in the silent pictures of the early 20th century to their roles as assistants, pulp princesses and sexy robots, and eventually as scientists, soldiers and academics, have often struggled to be seen and heard in a genre traditionally regarded as of men, by men and for men.
Surveying more than 650 films across 120 years, the author charts the highs and lows of women’s visibility in science fiction’s cinematic history through the effects of two world wars, social and cultural upheavals and advances in film technology.

About the Author(s)

Dean Conrad is a writer, producer and teacher who has taught film-, theater- and television-related subjects in schools, colleges and universities in the United Kingdom and the United States. He lives and works in England.

Bibliographic Details

Dean Conrad
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 336
Bibliographic Info: 37 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6927-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3271-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Preface: Invisible Man 1

Introduction: Captive Women 5

I Science Fiction—Silents and the Establishment of Female Roles 15

II Science Fantasy—Sound, Technology and the Service of Male Desires 40

III Science Fact—Peace and the Emergence of Female Professionals 69

IV Intermission—Watershed Years, or, Destination Unknown and an Annus Mirabilis 95

V Golden Era—Blockbusters and the Development of Female Heroes 124

VI Dangerous Times—Identity Crises and a Millennial Mélange 152

VII 21st Century—Computers, Corporations and Consumers 181

Conclusion: Invisible Woman 213

Epilogue 227

Appendix: Female Representation in Science Fiction Cinema—A Selection 231

Chapter Notes 257

Bibliography and Filmography 268

Index 303