The Science Fiction Reboot

Canon, Innovation and Fandom in Refashioned Franchises


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About the Book

This analysis examines several recent reimagined science fiction franchises (Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, V, and Star Wars) in order to capture how “reboots” work from a fan perspective. Previous encounters with these stories make the reboot experience distinct for fan-viewers, who bring with them a set of expectations and knowledge, often tied to franchise canon that cannot be separated from the new film or television series. Even when elements of the original versions are maintained, memories of them influence the narrative encounter. This book considers reimagined texts from several levels, including the medium, the characters, and the world building, to break down and then explore the reboot experience.

About the Author(s)

Heather Urbanski is currently an assistant professor of English at Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts.

Bibliographic Details

Heather Urbanski

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 240
Bibliographic Info: appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6509-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0164-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction: The Reboot Experience 5

Part I : Narrative Theory
1. How Stories Work 13

Part II : Text
Introduction 29
2. Red Shirts and Blue Lightsabers: Description as Visual Signs 33
3. Puppets and Suits versus Digital Effects: Medium and Technology 44
4. Power of the Score: Music and Sound 55

Part III : Story
Introduction 65
5. Cheering in the Theater: Sequence and Chronology 69
6. “A certain point of view”: Focalization 82

Part IV : Fabula
Introduction 95
7. “Our destinies have changed”: Events and Process 100
8. Alien Terrorists in New York: Setting and Place 115
9. Family Relations and Tensions: Actors and Characters 126
10. Medical Student to FBI Agent: Actors and Functions 145

Part V : Narrative Worlds of Science Fiction
Introduction 159
11. World Building: Alternative Narratologies for Science Fiction 164
12. The Franchise World: The Role of Narrative Context and Canon 178
13. The “Real” World: Traces of the Cultural Context 189

Afterword: The Fandom Experience 201
Appendix: For Further Reading 207
Chapter Notes 211
Works Cited 221
Index 227