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American Science Fiction TV
Star Trek, Stargate, and Beyond
Jan Johnson-Smith

2005 • 304 pp. 10 illus. 5 1/2 x 8 1/2"
Film, TV, Visual Culture / Literary Criticism - Spanish & Portuguese / Popular Culture

$24.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-6738-3

No sales outside US & Canada

Science fiction TV and the American psyche.

From “The Next Generation” and “The X-Files” to “Farscape” and “Enterprise,” science fiction television shows have millions of devoted fans. American Science Fiction TV is the first full-length study of this popular genre. Writing with the clarity of a scholar and the enthusiasm of a fan, Jan Johnson-Smith shows how science fiction television has displaced the Western in the American cultural imagination. As advances in special effects have made science fiction television technically feasible on a more lavish scale than ever before, visual style has become as important as narrative—sometimes even more important—in expressing the meaning of the genre. The main part of the book uses case studies of several key science fiction series, including “Space: Above and Beyond,” “StarGate SG-1,” and “Babylon 5,” to exemplify particular narrative patterns and visual styles. The case studies explore themes such as politics, ideology, race and ethnicity, gender difference, militarism, and the use of science fiction narratives as allegories of present-day social and political concerns. American Science Fiction TV opens an important new area of genre studies and will be of interest to scholars and fans alike.

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Reviews / Endorsements

“An original and significant study. American Science Fiction TV is the first thoroughgoing analysis of the genre. Johnson-Smith writes with both the authority of a scholar and the passion of a genre fan. The book is to be welcomed as an important contribution to TV studies.” —James Chapman, author of Licence to Thrill: A Cultural History of the James Bond Films


CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title (2005) Commendation

JAN JOHNSON-SMITH is Senior Lecturer in Film and Television Theory at Bournemouth University’s Media School in the U.K.

Fri, 2 Mar 2018 13:20:52 -0500