Emily Alder and Sara Wasson, eds, Gothic Science Fiction. 1980-2010. Liverpool University Press, forthcoming October 2011. To be reviewed by Neil McRobert, University of Stirling.
This timely book explores what might be termed “Gothic” science fiction of the last three decades, 1980-2010. Identifying texts by this category may at first appear contradictory, as the Gothic’s connotations of the irrational and supernatural seems to conflict with science fiction’s rational foundations. However, this collection demonstrates that the two categories have rich intersections. Applying such a category to texts of this period permits fresh examination of their engagement with the dramatic socio-economic changes accompanying these years: changes in communication technology, medical science, globalization, and global politics have transformed the way we live, and Gothic science fiction identifies narrative modes appropriate to this modern world. The Gothic mode images readily in science fiction that explores power, anxiety, resistance and capital. The essays in this collection reflect the current willingness among researchers to explore interpretations across genre, form, and discipline, as well as revealing a buoyant field of research in contemporary Gothic and science fiction studies. This collection ranges across narrative media – in the form of literature, film, graphic novels, trading card games – and across genre – in the form of horror, science fiction, Gothic, New Weird and more. The essays explore questions of genre, medical science, gender, biopower, capitalism, with Gothic science fiction texts understood as uniquely inflected for their time and place.