“‘How Narrow Is the Path of Our Material Existence’: Arthur Conan Doyle’s Major Contribution to Science Fiction.” In Nils Clausson, ed. Re-Examining Arthur Conan Doyle. Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2021. pp. 91-114. ISBN 978-1527572812 (hardcover).
A chapter that defines and surveys Conan Doyle’s unjustly neglected contribution to science fiction.
“Neither Indian Reservation Nor Baboon Patriarchy: Science Fiction as Nobrow Phenomenon.”
In Peter Swirski and Tero Eljas Vanhanen, eds. When Highbrow Meets Lowbrow: Popular Culture and the Rise of Nobrow. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. pp. 131-54. ISBN 978-1-137-59772-4 (hardcover); ISBN 978-1-349-95168-0 (eBook).
An alien newly landed in Roswell, New Mexico, dismisses science fiction as an illusion deriving from the flawed human capacity for logical thought. He may have missed the point …
“Embodiment Problems: Adapting Solaris to Film.”
In Peter Swirski and Waclaw M. Osadnik, eds., Lemography: Stanislaw Lem in the Eyes of the World. [Liverpool Science Fiction Texts and Studies, 49.] Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2014. pp. 65-92. ISBN 978-1-78138-120-5 (hardcover).
On Lem’s classic science fiction novel Solaris (1961) and its three adaptations to film, by Boris Nirenburg (1968), Andrei Tarkovsky (1972), and Steven Soderbergh (2002).
“‘Tell Us All about Little Rosebery’: Topicality and Temporality in H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine.”
In Arthur B. Evans, ed. Vintage Visions: Essays on Early Science Fiction. [Early Classics of Science Fiction.] Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2014. pp. 217-39. ISBN 978-0-8195-7438-1 (paperback).
A reprint of my 2001 journal article, with a new afterword.
“Descent Ramp: Revisiting J.G. Ballard’s Crash and Its Film Adaptation by David Cronenberg.”
In Thomas Van Parys and I.Q. Hunter, eds. Science Fiction across Media: Adaptation/Novelization. Canterbury, UK: Gylphi Limited, 2013. pp. 135-50. ISBN 978-1-78024-012-1 (paperback).
David Cronenberg’s Crash (1996) is an effective adaptation of Ballard’s notorious novel (1973), previously thought to be unfilmable. Yet thanks to the inescapable constraints of the popular audiovisual medium, the film is also a narrower, less daring achievement than its source text.
“Back to the Filthy Workshop: ‘Faithful’ Film Adaptations of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.”
In Brian Attebery and Veronica Hollinger, eds. Parabolas of Science Fiction. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2013. pp. 180-201. ISBN 978-0-8195-7367-4 (paperback).
Several films have claimed to be faithful or definitive adaptations of Mary Shelley’s classic novel Frankenstein (1818). This piece evaluates the most clamorous contenders, and explains why there cannot ever be such a thing as the true or final film version of Shelley’s story.
“Adapting the Absurd Apocalypse: Eugene Burdick’s and Harvey Wheeler’s Fail-Safe and Its Cinematic Progeny.”
In David Seed, ed. Future Wars: The Anticipations and the Fears. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2012. pp. 161-79. ISBN 978-1-84631-755-2 (hardcover).
Stanley Kubrick’s black comic masterpiece Dr. Strangelove (1964) owes almost as much to Burdick and Wheeler’s Cold War thriller Fail-Safe (1962) as it does to the novel from which it was ostensibly adapted. Fail-Safe was adapted by Sidney Lumet into a film (1964) whose major stature has been partially obscured by the brilliance of Strangelove.
In Brian W. Shaffer, ed. The Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction: Vol. 1: Twentieth-Century British and Irish Fiction. Ed. . Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011. pp. 332-36. ISBN 978-1405192446 (hardcover).
A concise survey of British science fiction in this standard reference work.
“Living in Fictitious Times: Michael Moore’s Awful Truth about America.”
In Peter Swirski, ed. I Sing the Body Politic: History as Prophecy in Contemporary American Literature. Montréal and Kingston, ON: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2009. pp. 149-81. ISBN 978-0-7735-3633-3 (paperback).
An analysis of Michael Moore’s oeuvre (documentary films and books) as highly effective methods of speaking truth to power, and a defense of his methods against the accusations of manipulativeness in the documentary Manufacturing Dissent (2007).
“Teaching Wilde’s Fairy Tales: Aestheticism as Social and Cultural Critique in ‘The Happy Prince’ and ‘The Nightingale and the Rose.’”
In Philip E. Smith II, ed. Approaches to Teaching the Works of Oscar Wilde. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2008. pp. 93-99. ISBN 978-1-60329-009-8 (paperback).
How the classroom study of these two fairy tales by Wilde can broaden students’ understanding of the Aesthetic Movement, the evolution of the literary fairy tale in English, and fin-de-siècle cultural history.
“Quiebras en el devenir del tiempo: unión y desunión en los ciclos de relatos de Keith Roberts (segunda parte).”
Translated by Luis G. Prado. In Arturo Villarrubia and Alberto García-Teresa, eds. Jabberwock 2: Anuario de ensayo fantástico. Madrid: Bibliópolis, 2007. pp. 51-68. ISBN 978-84-96173-82-8 (paperback).
A Spanish translation of the second of three articles on Keith Roberts first published in 1989-90.
“The Fantastic Fiction of the Fin de Siècle.”
In Gail Marshall, ed. The Cambridge Companion to the Fin de Siècle. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. pp. 189-206. ISBN 978-0-521-61561-7 (paperback).
The Victorian era saw the triumph of realism in fiction, and yet no other decade in English literature produced such a concentration of masterpieces of fantastic fiction as the last ten years of the nineteenth century. What might account for this efflorescence?
“The Search for a Quantum Ethics: Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen and Other Recent British Science Plays.”
In Donald E Morse, ed. Anatomy of Science Fiction. Newcastle-on-Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2006. pp. 109-23. ISBN 978-1-84718-018-3 (hardcover).
A reprint of an article from 2000 on contemporary plays about scientists.
“1987: The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood: Twisted Sister at the Royal Danish Theatre.”
In Paul Kincaid, ed., with Andrew M. Butler. The Arthur C. Clarke Award: A Critical Anthology. Preface by Neil Gaiman. Daventry, UK: Serendip Foundation, 2006. pp. 17-29. ISBN 978-0-9552416-0-4 (paperback).
The anthology contains essays on each novel that won the Arthur C. Clarke Award from 1987 to 2004. My essay on the first winner, The Handmaid’s Tale, explains how influential Atwood’s now classic sexual dystopia had been since its publication, and why.
“Quiebras en el devenir del tiempo: unión y desunión en los ciclos de relatos de Keith Roberts (primera parte).”
Translated by Luis G. Prado. In Arturo Villarrubia, ed. Jabberwock 1: anuario de ensayo fantástico. Madrid: Bibliópolis, 2005. pp. 181-207. ISBN 84-96173-33-X (paperback).
A translation into Spanish of the first of three articles on Keith Roberts first published in 1989-90.
“Reticence and Ostentation in Christopher Priest’s Later Novels: The Quiet Woman and The Prestige.”
In Andrew M. Butler, ed. Christopher Priest: The Interaction. London: The Science Fiction Foundation, 2005. pp. 79-96. ISBN 0-903007-07-X (paperback).
An essay on the first two novels by Priest published after the appearance of my Starmont Reader’s Guide. The Prestige (1995) was deservedly celebrated for its narrative fireworks, but the more reticent The Quiet Woman (1990) (which failed to find a US publisher until 2005) deserves respectful attention too.
“‘The Peculiar Quality of My Genius’: Degeneration, Decadence, and Dorian Gray in 1890-91.”
In Robert N. Keane, ed. Oscar Wilde: The Man, His Writings, and His World. New York: AMS Press, 2003. pp. 125-37. ISBN 0-404-64462-7 (hardcover).
An essay that begins by comparing the magazine version of Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray (July 1890) favourably with the book version published in April 1891. That’s because Wilde was more honest in the former about gay desire. What might have happened differently if from 1890 on he had refused to lie about his sexual orientation?
“Another Key to Bluebeard’s Chamber: Ideal and Fundamentalist Masculinity in the Literature of Fantasy.”
In Susanne Fendler and Ulrike Horstmann, eds. Images of Masculinity in Fantasy Literature. [Studies in Comparative Literature, Vol. 57.] Lewiston, NY, Queenston, ON, and Lampeter, UK: Edwin Mellen Press, 2003. pp. 1-17. ISBN 0-7734-6754-8 (hardcover).
On toxic masculinity in fantastic fiction, using Charles Perrault’s “Bluebeard” (1697) as the touchstone. An invited introduction to this collection of essays.
In Mike Gane, ed. Jean Baudrillard. 4 vols. Thousand Oaks, CA and London: Sage, 2000. pp. 12-19. ISBN 978-0761968320
An (unauthorized by me) reprint of a 1992 journal article. It would have been polite to have asked permission from the author, no?
In Darren Harris-Fain, ed. British Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Before World War I. Dictionary of Literary Biography. Vol. 178. Detroit, Washington, DC, and London: Gale, 1997. pp. 7-16. ISBN 0-8103-9941-5 (hardcover).
A biocritical introduction focusing on those few but important works of fiction by the Victorian polymath (1848-99) that might be considered science-fictional. (Allen was a major influence on the young H.G. Wells.) In standard DLB format, with four illustrations and including a full bibliography of Allen’s works.
“The Brood of Mary: Brian Aldiss, Frankenstein, and Science Fiction.”
In C.W. Sullivan III, ed. The Dark Fantastic: Selected Essays from the Ninth International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts. [Contributions to the Study of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Number 71.] Westport, CT and London: Greenwood Press, 1997. pp. 77-84. ISBN 0-313-29477-1 (hardcover).
A reprint in this IAFA conference volume of the essay in Bury My Heart at W.H. Smith’s first published in 1990 (see below).
“Introduction: Learning to Resist the Wolf.”
In Nicholas Ruddick, ed. State of the Fantastic: Studies in the Theory and Practice of Fantastic Literature and Film. [Selected Essays from the Eleventh International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, 1990] [Contributions to the Study of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Number 50.] Westport, CT and London: Greenwood Press, 1992. pp. xiii-xvi. ISBN 0-313-27853-9 (hardcover).
The introduction to my own edited IAFA conference volume.
“The Brood of Mary: Brian Aldiss, Frankenstein, and Science Fiction.”
In Brian Aldiss, Bury My Heart at W.H. Smith’s: A Writing Life. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1990. pp. 209-21. ISBN 0-340-53661-6 (hardcover).
Brian Aldiss attended my presentation of this paper at the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts and liked it so much he asked if he could include it as an appendix to his autobiographical work. Hard to imagine now, but back in the day few took seriously Aldiss’s theory that Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was the originating work of science fiction.