Alternate Americas: Science Fiction Film and American Culture

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 274 pages
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For more than 50 years, science fiction films have been among the most important and successful products of American cinema, and are worthy of study for that reason alone. On a deeper level, the genre has reflected important themes, concerns and developments in American society, so that a history of science fiction film also serves as a cultural history of America over the past half century.

M. Keith Booker has selected fifteen of the most successful and innovative science fiction films of all time, and examined each of them at length--from cultural, technical and cinematic perspectives--to see where they came from and what they meant for the future of cinema and for America at large. From Invasion of the Body Snatchers to Star Wars, from Blade Runner to The Matrix, these landmark films have expressed our fears and dreams, our abilities and our deficiencies. In this deep-seeking investigation, we can all find something of ourselves that we recognize, as well as something that we've never recognized before.

The focus on a fairly small number of landmark films allows detailed attention to genuinely original movies, including: Forbidden Planet, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Planet of the Apes, Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Alien, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Blade Runner, The Terminator, Robocop, The Abyss, Independence Day, and The Matrix. This book is ideal for general readers interested in science fiction and film.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
The Day the Earth Stood Still
27
Forbidden Planet
43
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
59
A Space Odyssey
75
Planet of the Apes
91
Star Wars
109
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
125
E T the ExtraTerrestrial
157
Blade Runner
171
11 The Terminator
187
Rofowp
203
TheAbyss
219
Independence Day
233
The Matrix
247
Science Fiction Film and American Culture
265

Alien
141

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About the author (2006)

M. Keith Booker is Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of English at the University of Arkansas. He is the author of numerous articles and books on modern literature, film, and science-fiction, including Film and the American Left (1999), Monsters, Mushroom Clouds, and the Cold War (2001), Strange TV: Innovative Television Series from The Twilight Zone to The X-Files (2003), and Science Fiction Television (2004).

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