This is the first full-length study of emerging Anglo-American science fiction's relation to the history, discourses, and ideologies of colonialism and imperialism. Nearly all scholars and critics of early science fiction acknowledge that colonialism is an important and relevant part of its historical context, and recent scholarship has emphasized imperialism's impact on late Victorian Gothic and adventure fiction and on Anglo-American popular and literary culture in general. John Rieder argues that colonial history and ideology are crucial components of science fiction's displaced references to history and its engagement in ideological production. He proposes that the profound ambivalence that pervades colonial accounts of the exotic "other" establishes the basic texture of much science fiction, in particular its vacillation between fantasies of discovery and visions of disaster. Combining original scholarship and theoretical sophistication with a clearly written presentation suitable for students as well as professional scholars, this study offers new and innovative readings of both acknowledged classics and rediscovered gems.
Includes discussion of works by Edwin A. Abbott, Edward Bellamy, Edgar Rice Burroughs, John W. Campbell, George Tomkyns Chesney, Arthur Conan Doyle, H. Rider Haggard, Edmond Hamilton, W. H. Hudson, Richard Jefferies, Henry Kuttner, Alun Llewellyn, Jack London, A. Merritt, Catherine L. Moore, William Morris, Garrett P. Serviss, Mary Shelley, Olaf Stapledon, and H. G. Wells.