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Solar FlaresScience Fiction in the 1970s$
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Andrew M. Butler

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781846318344

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846317798

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date: 22 November 2017

Big Dumb Objects: Science Fiction as Self-Parody

Big Dumb Objects: Science Fiction as Self-Parody

Chapter:
(p.51) 4 Big Dumb Objects: Science Fiction as Self-Parody
Source:
Solar Flares
Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/UPO9781846317798.005

During the nineteenth century, science fiction writers were preoccupied with themes related to European imperialism. Some of these writers tackled the political underpinnings of imperialism, in part by imagining a colossal novum, a recurrent trope known as the Big Dumb Object. This is evident in the novels written by Arthur C. Clarke, Larry Niven, Frederik Pohl, Philip José Farmer, Bob Shaw, Douglas Adams, Christopher Priest and Terry Pratchett. In their works, science fiction teeters on the edge of self-parody, giving rise to science fiction that is partly about science fiction. This chapter examines science fiction that deals with precursors to the Gernsback-Campbell continuum, focusing on Mary Shelley (Brian Aldiss and a number of films), Jules Verne (Michael Moorcock) and H. G. Wells (Aldiss, film adaptations and sequels or rewritings by Christopher Priest, Manley Wade Wellman and Wade Wellman, K. W. Jeter and George H. Smith).

Keywords:   Big Dumb Object, science fiction, self-parody, Gernsback-Campbell continuum, Mary Shelley, Brian Aldiss, films, sequels, H. G. Wells, novels

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