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Escape Velocity
American Science Fiction Film, 1950–1982
Bradley Schauer

Wesleyan Film

2017 • 288 pp. 25 illus. 6 x 9"
Film, TV, Visual Culture / Film & Video History & Criticism / Literary Criticism - Science Fiction

$26.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-7659-0
$80.00 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-7658-3

$17.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7660-6

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

(Hardcover is un-jacketed.
Cover illustration is for paperback edition only)

A cultural and economic history of science fiction cinema, from B-movies to blockbusters

Today, movie theaters are packed with audiences of all ages marveling to exciting science fiction blockbusters, many of which are also critically acclaimed. However, when the science fiction film genre first emerged in the 1950s, it was represented largely by exploitation horror films—lurid, culturally disreputable, and appealing to a niche audience of children and sci-fi buffs. How did the genre evolve from B-movie to blockbuster? Escape Velocity charts the historical trajectory of American science fiction cinema, explaining how the genre transitioned from eerie low-budget horror like It Came from Outer Space to art films like Slaughterhouse-Five, and finally to the extraordinary popularity of hits like E.T. Bradley Schauer draws on primary sources such as internal studio documents, promotional materials, and film reviews to explain the process of cultural, aesthetic, and economic legitimation that occurred between the 1950s and 1980s, as pulp science fiction tropes were adapted to suit the tastes of mainstream audiences. Considering the inescapable dominance of today’s effects-driven blockbusters, Escape Velocity not only charts the history of science fiction film, but also gives an account of the origins of contemporary Hollywood.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“Expertly, Bradley Schauer chronicles science fiction's move from pulpy, nerdy sub-genre to the mainstream, even perhaps the absolute center, of Hollywood cinema today. Through rigorous research, Schauer insightfully revises standard conceptions of genre and productively revises how we do film history.”—Dana Polan, New York University

“More than just another genre study, this history reveals the special effects of an entire media industry, showing how the producers, audiences, and technologies of SF film laid an analog groundwork for our contemporary world of transmedia blockbusters.”—Bob Rehak, Swarthmore College

From the Book:

Important Dates:

April 2, 1968: 2001: A Space Odyssey premieres in theaters
July 20, 1969: moon landing
May 25, 1977: Star Wars released in theaters

BRADLEY SCHAUER is assistant professor in the School of Theatre, Film & Television at the University of Arizona. His articles have appeared in Film History, The Velvet Light Trap, and The Quarterly Review of Film and Video.

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 12:28:53 -0500