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Replications: A Robotic History of the Science Fiction Film Hardcover – October 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 222 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press (October 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252021770
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252021770
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,202,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A new addition to the study of film history as collective unconscious. Telotte puts our cultural obsession with artificial humans on the stand... Offers complex insights into many robotic gems." -- Hotwired --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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J. P. Telotte is one of the foremost authorities on the science fiction film in academia today, having also broader survey of the history of the SF film, entitled simply SCIENCE FICTION FILM, and of higher technology in world cinema, entitled simply A DISTANT TECHNOLOGY: SCIENCE FICTION FILM AND THE MACHINE AGE. The value of this volume consists in its focus on what Telotte correctly identifies as the most dominant motif in the SF film, the artificial person, whether conceived as robot, android, cyborg, replicant, or reanimated being.

The book's greatest strength is that it manages to hit all the highpoints in the history of cinema. One might have wished for some films to receive more or even some discussion, but there can be no quibbling that the films actually discussed represent the most important films of the genre. I also liked that he included a chapter on serials, the only place where you can find robots onscreen (with minor exceptions) between METROPOLIS in 1927 and Gort in THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL in 1951. Apart from a needlessly convoluted dissection of FORBIDDEN PLANET, most of his analyses are interesting and insightful. This is likely to stand as one of the standard works on artificial people in film for some time to come.

The book is not without flaws. It at times falls prey to some of the weaknesses of academic writing. For instance, I mentioned above the rather poor discussion of FORBIDDEN PLANET, with a rather beside-the-point belaboring of "doubles" within the film. The writing on doubling mainly serves to present a rather strained point that fails to illuminate anything in the film, but merely serves to articulate an insight that feels rather manufactured. Luckily this is an exception in the book.
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