Science fiction produced in the 1970s has long been undervalued, dismissed by Bruce Sterling as “confused, self-involved, and stale.” The New Wave was all but over and Cyberpunk had yet to arrive. The decade polarised sf – on the one hand it aspired to be a serious form, addressing issues such as race, Vietnam, feminism, ecology and sexuality, on the other hand it broke box office records with Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Alien and Superman: The Movie. Across the political spectrum, writers perceived a series of invisible enemies: radicals addressed the ideological structures of racism, sexism, homophobia, colonialism, pollution and capitalism and the possibility of new social structures, whereas conservatives feared the gains made by the civil rights movement, feminism, gay liberation, independence movements, ecology and Marxism and the perceived threats to the nuclear family. Sf would never be the same again. Beginning with chapters on the First sf and New Wave authors who published during the 1970s, Solar Flares examines the ways in which the genre confronted a new epoch and its own history, including the rise of fantasy, the sf blockbuster, children’s sf, pseudoscience and postmodernism. It explores significant figures such as Joanna Russ, Samuel R. Delany and Octavia Butler. From Larry Niven’s Ringworld to Thomas M. Disch’s On Wings of Song, from The Andromeda Strain to Flash Gordon and from Doctor Who to Buck Rogers, this book reclaims seventies sf writing, film and television – alongside music and architecture – as a crucial period in the history of science fiction.
Andrew M. Butler is Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at Canterbury Christchurch University. He is the author and editor of many books including (as co-editor) 'The Routledge Companion to Science Fiction' (Routledge, 2009) and 'Fifty Key Figures in Science Fiction' (Routledge, 2009).
1. The Ends of First Sf: Pioneers as Veterans
2. After the New Wave: After Science Fiction?
3. Beyond Apollo: Space Fictions after the Moon Landing
4. Big Dumb Objects: Science Fiction as Self-Parody
5. The Rise of Fantasy: Swords and Planets
6. Home of the Extraterrestrial Brothers: Race and African American Science Fiction
7. Alien Invaders: Vietnam and the Counterculture
8. This Septic Isle: Post-Imperial Melancholy
9. Foul Contagion Spread: Ecology and Environmentalism
10. Female Counter-Literature: Feninism
11. Strange Bedfollows: Gay Liberation
12. Saving the Family: Children's Fiction
13. Eating the Audience: Blockbusters
14. Chariots of the Gods: Rseudoscience and Parental Fears
15. Towers of Babel: The Architecture of Sf
16. Ruptures: Metafiction and Postmodernism
October 16, 2012
Liverpool Science Fiction Texts and Studies 43