Any intellect which confines itself to mere structuralism is bound to rest trapped in its own webs. (Salman Rushdie, Grimus , 1975, G, 91)
Back then I was partial to sciencefiction novels. (Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath Her Feet , 1999, GBF, 205)
Scenarios borrowed from sciencefiction fantasy appear in several of Rushdie’s novels. Haroun and the Sea of Stories features a journey to a magical moon on an automaton bird, The Satanic Verses alludes to the genre self
the ‘film’s ability to provide an apparently credible account of the operation and personnel of law’. 2
Sciencefiction cinema is quite different in this respect. Sciencefiction is based on worlds, though still following (most of) the natural rules of our universe, which are dramatically altered compared to what we know. As Marco Benatar describes, ‘sciencefiction is replete with scenarios set in the future extrapolating from contemporary knowledge and experience’. 3 He usefully adds ‘not only in the realms of science and technology but also in respect of
, ultimately, the victory of the last two visions. To that extent, it is fairly in line with the majority of contemporary sciencefiction movies in which characters preaching for the right of the strongest species to subdue the less powerful are usually presented in a negative fashion.
This trait of sciencefiction movies might seem surprising for anyone familiar with the (international) legal organization of modern societies, which is mainly speciesist and anthropocentric. 2 It is speciesist in that the right to have rights is usually granted to the individual, first and
sanctions on trade unions, resulting in strikes. These
strikes caused blackouts in what was the coldest winter in sixteen years, the so-called
‘Winter of Discontent’. This crisis strengthened the Thatcher-led Conservative
Party in the year that they won the general election and began to point to the alternative of
a market-led economy.
This chapter focuses on the content of some of the sciencefiction series
produced in the last decade of the ‘consensus’ era, situated in their cultural
and political context. An analysis of
About 25 minutes into the sciencefiction film, Hollow Man (Paul Verhoeven, 2000), there is a striking
scene that marks the literal disappearance of the central character, Dr.
Sebastian Caine (Kevin Bacon), an ambitious young scientist working on an
invisibility serum. Keen to try out his chemical creation, Sebastian
persuades his team of fellow scientists to ignore normal protocols so that
Women of more ordinary physique were to occupy a new space, first of all on the stage, and sometimes on the big screen, since many plays mounted by the Splendid Company were to become films. Female humour and laughter cannot be considered without another powerful element: the motivation of often transgressive laughter. This chapter examines a few examples of Coline Serreau's humour in her comedies in order to assess whether or not she offers an alternative to the traditional male comedy, before considering in more detail and from a more general perspective the devices she uses to create humour. The golden age of French comedy was cut short by the First World War. Although the comedy was by and large a minor genre in the cinema of the Occupation, other forms of light film entertainment either remained (the farce) or emerged (the film zazou).
This article explores the more detached and ironic view of Blake that emerged in
the 1970s compared to appropriations of him in the 1960s, as evident in three
science-fiction novels: Ray Nelson’s Blake’s
Progress (1977), Angela Carter’s The Passion of New
Eve (1977), and J. G. Ballard’s The Unlimited Dream
Company (1979). In adopting a more antagonistic posture towards
Blake, all three of these books reflect increasingly ambivalent attitudes
towards the countercultures of the 1960s, and can be read as critical of some of
those very energies that the Romantic movement was seen to embody. Thus Nelson
rewrites the relationship of William and Catherine, in which the engraver comes
under the influence of a diabolic Urizen, while Carter recasts the Prophet Los
as a Charles Manson-esque figure. Even Ballard, the most benign of the three,
views Blakean energy as a release of potentially dangerous psychopathologies. In
all the novels, we see a contrarian use of misprision, rewriting Blake as Blake
had rewritten Milton.
Since its inception by the Council of Europe in 1989, Eurimages has been to the fore
in financing European co-productions with the aim of fostering integration and
cooperation in artistic and industry circles and has helped finance over 1,600
feature films, animations and documentaries. Taking as its thesis the idea that the
CoE seeks to perpetuate Europes utopian ideals, despite the dystopian realities that
frequently undermine both the EU and the continent at large, this article analyses
select Eurimages-funded dystopian films from industrial, aesthetic and socio-cultural
standpoints with a view toward decoding institutionally embedded critiques of the
This book is a shadow cultural history of transplantation as mediated through medical writing, science fiction, life writing and visual arts in a Gothic mode, from the nineteenth century to the present. Works in these genres explore the experience of donors or suppliers, recipients and practitioners, and simultaneously express transfer-related suffering and are complicit in its erasure. Examining texts from Europe, North America and India, the book resists exoticising predatorial tissue economies and considers fantasies of harvest as both product and symbol of ‘slow violence’ (Rob Nixon), precarity and structural ruination under neoliberal capitalism. Gothic tropes, intertextualities and narrative conventions are used in life writing to express the affective and conceptual challenges of post-transplant being, and used in medical writing to manage the ambiguities of hybrid bodies, as a ‘clinical necropoetics’. In their efforts to articulate bioengineered hybridity, these works are not only anxious but speculative. Works discussed include nineteenth-century Gothic, early twentieth-century fiction and film, 1970s American hospital organ theft horror in literature and film, turn-of-the-millennium fiction and film of organ sale, postmillennial science fiction dystopias, life writing and scientific writing from the nineteenth century to the present. Throughout, Gothic representations engage contemporary debates around the management of chronic illness, the changing economics of healthcare and the biopolitics of organ procurement and transplantation – in sum, the strange times and weird spaces of tissue mobilities. The book will be of interest to academics and students researching Gothic studies, science fiction, critical medical humanities and cultural studies of transplantation.
Self-driving cars have long been depicted in cinematic narratives, across genres from science fiction films to fantasy films. In some cases, a self-driving car is personified as one of the main characters. This article examines cinematic representations and imaginaries in order to understand the development of the self-driving technology and its integration in contemporary societies, drawing on examples such as The Love Bug, Knight Rider, Minority Report and I, Robot. Conceptually and methodologically, the article combines close readings of films with technological concerns and theoretical considerations, in an attempt to grasp the entanglement of cinematographic imaginaries, audiovisual technologies, artificial intelligence and human interactions that characterise the introduction of self-driving cars in contemporary societies. The human–AI machine interaction is considered both on technological and theoretical levels. Issues of automation, agency and disengagement are traced in cinematic representations and tackled, calling into question the concepts of socio-technical assemblage.