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Title: Science fiction on screen : a model for evaluating a visual genre
Author: Hipple, David
ISNI:       0000 0004 2743 4132
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis formulates analytical perspectives and tools applicable to a range of science fiction (sf) texts across diverse media. Its objective is an answer, regardless of a text's history, medium or geographical origin, to the question, 'How does effective sf work?' I show that sf is unified across media by its strategy for storytelling-not regular in iconography, themes or politics (as some suggest), but in promoting distinctively engaged intellectual attention guided by convincing human narrative, and energised by combined wonder and rationality, principles whose predominant importance for this genre is progressively affirmed by each analytical pass. My Introduction surveys some of the diverse priorities and agendas arising in screen sf analysis, before the main study imports significant debates from the established body of print criticism, stabilising the project in well-rehearsed discourses. Recognised sf, largely from TV, is examined in historiographical, social, thematic, technological, cross-national and phenomenological terms. Selected critical models from literature, television and cinema finally contribute to a framework for renewed understanding of genre overall and the productive evaluation of sf in any medium. Many subsidiary components underpin this result. I explore conceptions of 'authorship' and the nature and function of 'canons' in genre context. Visual sf's relationship to spectacle and display technology emerges as historically significant but in detail contingent. The function of features sometimes misinterpreted as necessities in sf is clarified, and contrasting commercial tactics for attracting and satisfying genre audiences inform all of these threads. A purported stylistic schism between British and American sf exposes questions of industrial resourcing, not national taste. Engagement with sf resolves into a matter of enthusiasm for collaborative, interpretative effort. This study requires a multidimensional, Systems-based approach. No single segment of analysis is independently conclusive: any suggested 'explanation' influences conception of the 'problem', revisiting primary texts to consolidate the patterns that incrementally emerge. Arguments are accepted as valid once they meaningfully elucidate the texts introduced throughout the study.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available