The introduction outlines the critical paradigm that will be used through the rest of the book. Building on the work of critics from across the world, this paradigm looks at myth as a means of constructing explanatory models of the world, rather than simply as ideology. This function of myth gives rise to the pseudo-sciences upon which science fiction depends, and allows for science fiction traditions that deviate from the Western, Anglo-American norm. It is especially useful for considering science fictions with reference to postcolonial theory; in formerly colonised territories, traditional societies provided explanatory models of the world that were not entirely displaced by the sciences of the coloniser. Ireland is advanced as a tentative example, but the question of the degree to which Ireland was ‘colonised’ is a recurring question throughout the book.
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