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Future WarsThe Anticipations and the Fears$
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David Seed

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781846317552

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846317224

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date: 21 November 2017

Prophesying Neocolonial Wars in 1950s American Science Fiction

Prophesying Neocolonial Wars in 1950s American Science Fiction

Chapter:
(p.130) 7. Prophesying Neocolonial Wars in 1950s American Science Fiction
Source:
Future Wars
Author(s):

Rob Latham

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781846317552.003.0008

This chapter explores 1950s American science fiction written in response to US neocolonialism. It considers two short stories: William Tenn' ‘The Liberation of Earth’ and Robert Sheckley' ‘Citizen in Space’. While the two stories seem quite disparate in tone and content, they are actually complementary in their treatment of the forms of foreign and domestic power that were coming to characterize the postwar American empire. In both tales, political authority is a shadowy reality, exercised from a distance by colonial agents and faceless bureaucrats. The two tales demonstrate that the expansionist agenda of US neo-colonialism had ramifications beyond the proliferation of foreign entanglements: life on the ‘home front’ was also transformed by apparatuses of surveillance that spread anxiety and mistrust throughout the population.

Keywords:   United States, neo-colonialism, science fiction, short stories, William Tenn, Robert Sheckley

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