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Ultimate Island: On the Nature of British Science Fiction (Contributions to the Study of Science Fiction & Fantasy) [Hardcover]

Nicholas Ruddick

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Book Description

30 Jan 1993 Contributions to the Study of Science Fiction & Fantasy (Book 55)
This study confronts current influential theories that science fiction is either an American phenomenon or an international one. The study rejects the idea that British science fiction is distinguishable only by its pessimistic outlook - while also rejecting the idea that other designations, such as "scientific romance" or "speculative fiction", better fit the British product. Instead, the study traces the evolution of British science fiction, showing how H.G. Wells synthesised various strains in English literature, and how later writers, conscious of this Wellsian tradition, built upon Wells's literary achievement. An introduction defines what might reasonably be placed under the heading "British science fiction", and why. Chapter 1 examines previous critical ideas about the nature of British science fiction, revealing that most of them are based on untested assumptions. Chapter 2 explores the significance of the dominant motif of the island in British SF - a motif that suggests that British SF and mainstream English literature have been long and fruitfully intertwined. Chapters 3 and 4 deal respectively with British disaster fiction before and after World War II. They focus on why British science fiction has so frequently seemed obsessed with catastrophe. Chapter 5, a polemical conclusion, deals with the future of British science fiction based on its current predicament. "Ultimate Island" forms a theoretical counterpart to the author's "British Science Fiction: A Chronology 1478-1990", which defines the historical scope of the field.

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More About the Author

Nicholas Ruddick was born in 1952 in Salford, near Manchester, England and moved to Canada in 1974. Since 1982 he has taught at the University of Regina, where he is currently Professor and Head of English. He's known both as a science fiction critic and as an editor of scholarly editions of novels written near the turn of the twentieth century. He's married to the Swedish-Canadian novelist Britt Holmstrom.

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Review

?Highly recommended for schools with SF collections or popular literature collections; a basic complement to Stableford's book. Advanced undergraduate; graduate; faculty.?-Choice

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First Sentence
British science fiction may be a veiled concept, but that does not mean that it has been one totally neglected in the critical literature. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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