An Anthropology of Science Fiction
Southern Illinois University Press, 9780809313754, 272pp.
Publication Date: December 19, 1987
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How and when does there come to be an anthropology of the alien? This set of essays, written for the eighth J. Lloyd Eaton Conference on Fantasy and Science Fiction, is concerned with the significance of that question. Anthropology] is the science that must designate the alien if it is to redefine a place for itself in the universe, according to the Introduction.The idea of the alien is not new. In the Renaissance, Montaigne's purpose in describing an alien encounter was excorporationmankind was the savage because the artificial devices of nature controlled him. Shakespeare's version of the alien encounter was incorporation; his character of Caliban is brought to the artificial, political world of man and incorporated into the body politic The essays in this volume . . . show, in their general orientation, that the tribe ofShakespeare still, in literary studies at least, outnumbers that of Montaigne. These essays show the interrelation of the excorporating possibilities to the internal soundings of the alien encounter within the human mind and form.This book is divided into three parts: Searchings: The Quest for the Alien includes The Aliens in Our Mind, by Larry Niven; Effing the Ineffable, by Gregory Benford; Border Patrols, by Michael Beehler; Alien Aliens, by Pascal Ducommun; and Metamorphoses of the Dragon, by George E. Slusser. Sightings: The Aliens among Us includes Discriminating among Friends, by John Huntington; Sex, Superman, Sociobiology, by Joseph D. Miller; Cowboys and Telepaths, by Eric S. Rabkin; Robots, by Noel Perrin; Aliens in the Supermarket, by George R. Guffey; and Aliens R U.S., by Zoe Sofia. Soundings: Man as the Alien includes H. G. Wells Familiar Aliens, by John R. Reed; Inspiration and Possession, by Clayton Koelb; Cybernauts in Cyberspace, by David Porush; The Human Alien, by Leighton Brett Cooke; From Astarte to Barbie, by Frank McConnell; and An Indication of Monsters; by Colin Greenland.
About the Author
George E. Slusser is Curator of the Eaton Collection and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Riverside.Eric S. Rabkin is Professor of English at the University of Michigan. He is author of The Fantastic in Literature."
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