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Irish Science Fiction$
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Jack Fennell

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781781381199

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781381199.001.0001

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States of Emergency: Irish SF during World War II

States of Emergency: Irish SF during World War II

(p.104) 4. States of Emergency: Irish SF during World War II
Irish Science Fiction

Jack Fennell


This chapter examines how the Irish Free State developed a paranoid popular culture with an antagonistic relationship to the modern world. Modern things from jazz music to quantum physics were seen as part of a phalanx of threatening forces trying to infiltrate and corrupt the country, and this paranoia is dramatized in short science fiction stories from the time. When Ireland adopted a position of neutrality during World War Two, this paranoia was literalised as a state of ‘Emergency’ was declared and Ireland essentially cut itself off from the rest of the world. For the Irish, World War Two was a conflict between subjectivity and objectivity, and this chapter looks at how this conflict was played out in the work of George Bernard Shaw, Lord Dunsany, James Creed Meredith and others.

Keywords:   Irish Free State, World War Two, paranoia, popular culture, science fiction, George Bernard Shaw, Lord Dunsany, James Creed Meredith

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