July 25th, 2020

Book 9 - 2019

Book 9: Aliens R Us: The Other in Science Fiction Cinema edited by Ziauddin Sardar and Sean Cubitt - 180 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
This book explores the global culture of science fiction cinema, and in particular its presentation of contemporary images of the Other.

Taking as a starting point the popularity of international forms such as Japanese anime and Hong Kong sci-fi, in addition to the success of films such as The Matrix and television series such as Deep Space Nine, the contributors examine the science fiction genre as an international, populist form of social analysis. In doing so, they discuss issues such as Orientalism, technology, apocalyptic futures, xenophobia, militarism and the role of women.

Most contemporary studies look at the generic characteristics of science fiction, with its allegorical rendering of contemporary life, usually in relation to America. Case studies include Independence Day, Star Trek: First Contact and Until the End of the World, in addition to chapters on Eco-Apocalypse and new French sci-fi and New Manchester Ecstasy sci-fi.

I picked up this book in a discount bin at a bookshop in SoHo, New York while waiting for a Catacombs tour to start. It said it was about aliens in science fiction television and movies and I remember being pretty excited. I should have checked two things before I paid my $7. One was the date of publication (2002); the other was the titles of the chapters. Because this book is hardly at all about science fiction. Its very philosophy-esk, with a few science fiction TV references (or movies) tossed in to illustrate a point. In addition, so many of the 'facts' about the sci-fi referenced is wrong. The plot line of Star Trek: First Contact is pulled to shreds, but half the facts listed are erroneous. Similar things happen in the chapter about Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The best piece is about Independence Day, though it still suffers from the same thing that all of them do - missing the point that sci-fi's core intention is to tell human stories using alien characters. Ultimately, a real disappointment.

9 / 50 books. 18% done!

1812 / 15000 pages. 12% done!

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