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The first few chapters focus on the origins of the mad-science mentality in the early 19th century. The age of Darwin and the Industrial Revolution saw the birth of many of the stock figures and themes of horror and science fiction: Frankenstein, Jekyll and Hyde, Dr. Moreau; creation of new life forms, contravention of natural law, science out of control. Then, in the early 20th century, the new medium of film helped make all of these into staples of popular culture. Succeeding chapters deal with types and trends in the mad-science phenomenon, touching on a variety of subjects, such as the classic horror movies of the 1930s, nuclear-age mutation and invasion fantasies, medical horror, the union of man and machine, apocalyptic entertainment, and "Alien Chic."
Movies certainly play a significant role in the whole mad-science phenomenon; Screams, however, is much more than a catalog of the classic horror and sci-fi entries. Skal's insightful, eloquent history gets at the psychological and social roots of our uneasy relationship with science and technology, and our attempts to master the fear of them.
Screams includes abundant notes, many black-and-white illustrations, and an appendix listing dozens of mad scientists from popular culture. Highly recommended. --M.V. Burke
I picked this book up at a used book store and loved it. I've always had a fascination with the archetype of the 'Mad Scientist' and the earliest versions were actually the... Read morePublished on October 13, 2008 by Brother MOLOCH 969
True, Herr Doktor Skal?
Just from its title alone I was delighted to discover
this book. Mad science, scientists and 19th-20th
century Scientism is a remarkably... Read more