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Science fiction: Literature of the socio-scientific age

Smith, Maureen Beverley (1978) Science fiction: Literature of the socio-scientific age. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

The object of this study is to examine the historical, ideological and artistic development of science fiction as both literary form and movement of the twentieth century. As a hermeneutic of the science fiction genre needs to distinguish between its legitimation as a literary movement and its commercial identification with the specialist magazines, this thesis discriminates between literary tradition and commercial genre by a diachronic account of the evolution of science fiction, taking note of the historical, social and ideological conditions for its emergence.

An examination of its relationship through mode and form to genres such as menippean satire, romance and utopian fiction seeks to identify science fiction's artistic/aesthetic contribution to the relation between fiction and experience in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and relate the selection of form to the genre's thematic preoccupations with the ideology of science and technology.

The diachronic study merges with a synchronic analysis of the artistic development of contemporary science fiction through an interpretation of representative texts in which the genre's mythological, social and psychological function as a bearer or critique of scientific ideology are examined. The history of science fiction is seen to be pre-eminently a history of its struggles to free itself from constrictions imposed by its mode of production. An investigation of this conflict reveals science fiction as a bearer of positivism, but also increasingly as a' critique of that same ideology. This development provides a basis for an aesthetics of science fiction, which is established in the concluding section of the thesis.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Human Communication
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: repository@murdoch.edu.au. Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Ruthrof, Horst
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/52918
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