The introductory chapter establishes relationships between archaeology as a trope within SF film and television and as a cultural site from which to investigate the medium’s critical engagement with post 9/11 geopolitics. Arguing that the imagination of the future is indelibly overrun by the past, scholars like Fredric Jameson, Gary Wolfe and Carl Freeman contend that SF is a historicist genre that exposes its master fantasy of progress to the kinds of real and symbolic assaults on Western global power represented by 9/11. The introduction contends that SF film and television offer resistant readings of the ways mediatized weapons of retaliation on the West circulate within popular culture as potent images of threat and fear that have leant Western governments extraordinary powers of surveillance and control over its citizens and the world in the name of freedom and security. The introduction historicises the cinematic and televisual response to 9/11 and its aftermath by looking back to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), a film that speaks obliquely to the terrible events of the year it imagines, in which the cinematics of terror have been naturalized within the SF cinematic imagination.
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