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Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction (Early Classics of Science Fiction) Paperback – May 30, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


“In Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction, John Rieder has produced a commendably readable and intellectually robust contribution to the emerging field of ‘postcolonial’ studies in science fiction. Rieder employs interdisciplinary theory to best advantage and with minimal jargonizing.”—Keith Williams, The Wellsian

"Probably no single volume, and certainly none as succinct as this, could possibly develop all the arguments implicit here."—Carl Freedman, Extrapolation

“These early scientific romances [The Time Machine, The Island of Dr Moreau, The War of the Worlds and The First Men in the Moon] have been analyzed time and again, from virtually every critical angle, but Rieder shows how a colonial reading provides fresh and valuable insight into them.”—Paul Kincaid, Foundation

“All in all, Haywood Ferreira has produced a noteworthy text that will be of interest to students and scholars of Latin American literature. One need not be a science fiction devotee to appreciate the research and enthusiasm that went into the writing of this book.”—Jeanie Murphy, Hispania


“This takes science fiction criticism in a new direction by invoking sophisticated theories of colonialism, race, literature, and genre. Rieder's book will become one of the commonly cited authorities in the field.” (John Huntington, professor of English, University of Illinois at Chicago)

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Product Details

  • Series: Early Classics of Science Fiction
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Wesleyan (May 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0819568740
  • ISBN-13: 978-0819568748
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #248,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Henry Berry on June 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
Cyrano de Bergerac's mid-17th century satire The Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon and the Sun is greatly admired by science fiction scholars because it "suggests the disturbance of ethnocentricism, the achievement of a perspective from which one's own culture is only one of a number of possible cultures...[by] how it mocks, parodies, criticizes, and denaturalizes the cultural norms of de Bergerac's] French contemporaries." Whereas the satire displaced French culture as the norm governing the consideration of all possible cultures, Galileo's scientific findings displacing the Earth as the center of the universe suggested that other planets supporting other types of life existed. Increased commerce between Europe and Asia, interest in foreign goods, and exploration of the Americas, Africa, and other parts of the globe contributed to curiosity and imagination about other geographies and forms of life.

"The double-edged effect of the exotic--as a means of gratifying familiar appetites and as a challenge to one's sense of the proper or the natural--pervades early science fiction"; whose prototypes can be seen in fanciful works by Washington Irving and Samuel Butler.

The field of science fiction--as any aficionado knows--has become greatly elaborated by fleshing out seemingly every implication and nuance inhering in its origins and first literary examples. Over time, the field developed characteristic techniques and categories. For instance, the sleeping Rip Van Winkle of Washington Irving's early 1800's tale awakening into a strange new world became time travel machines placing science-fiction characters in different historical periods and space ships and other craft carrying them to unknown lands.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Book Dude on April 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book provides a comprehensive analysis of early SF that will be of interest both for those interested in SF and those interested in literary theory. Whether discussing Wells, Haggard, or a more obscure author, Rieder's lively critiques are bound to draw readers to these early and exciting SF texts. In addition to its cogent theoretical insight, Rieder's adventurous and enthusiastic readings will likely inspire you to read several of the novels discussed.
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