Download Monsters, Mushroom Clouds, and the Cold War: American by M. Keith Booker PDF

By M. Keith Booker

The Fifties are extensively considered as the golden age of yankee technological know-how fiction. This booklet surveys quite a lot of significant technological know-how fiction novels and flicks from the lengthy 1950s--the interval from 1946 to 1964--when the tensions of the chilly struggle have been at their top. the yank technology fiction novels and movies of this era truly replicate chilly struggle anxieties and tensions via their specialise in such subject matters as alien invasion and nuclear holocaust. during this feel, they resemble the observations of social and cultural critics throughout the comparable period.

Meanwhile, American technological know-how fiction of the lengthy Fifties additionally engages its ancient and political contexts via an interrogation of phenomena, reminiscent of alienation and routinization, that may be noticeable as results of the advance of yank capitalism in this interval. This fiscal pattern is a part of the increase of the worldwide phenomenon that Marxist theorists have known as overdue capitalism. hence, American technological know-how fiction in this interval displays the increase of past due capitalism and participates within the beginnings of postmodernism, defined through Frederic Jameson because the cultural common sense of overdue capitalism.

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Additional resources for Monsters, Mushroom Clouds, and the Cold War: American Science Fiction and the Roots of Postmodernism, 1946-1964

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Chapter 3 surveys science fiction films that concentrate on the theme of alien invasion, while chapter 4 looks at monster movies. In both cases, the films engage a number of issues that are representative of American culture in the long 1950s, going well beyond their obvious Cold War resonances to explore themes related to race, gender, and the increasing involvement of the United States in the Third World. Partly because of their limited budgets, these films do not tend toward postmodernism in style to the same extent as do many of the science fiction novels of the period.

This connection may help to explain why Jameson himself is among those who have seen cyberpunk science fiction as a quintessential form of postmodernist culture, as when he declares cyberpunk "the supreme literary expression if not of postmodernism, then of late capitalism itself" {Postmodernism 419). Jameson also sees a potentially powerful political role for science fiction, declaring science fiction "a historically new and original form which offers analogies with the emergence of the historical novel in the early nineteenth century" {Postmodernism 283).

Most notably, despite the prefix "psycho," the model of history attributed by Asimov to Hari Seldon shows little comprehension of the fundamental Marxist insight that the basic characteristics of human beings, especially the psychological characteristics, are largely the products of historical circumstances and thus change over time. As Marx puts it in The German Ideology, "The nature of individuals thus depends on the material conditions determining their production" (Marx and Engels 150). Further, Marx argues that "men, developing their material production and their material intercourse, alter, along with this their real existence, their thinking, and the products of their thinking.

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