Science Fiction Screen Media 1960–2000: Hollywood Cinema and Television
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Two major things happen to SF in the last four decades of the twentieth century. Most importantly, it undergoes a transformation, becoming increasingly a genre dominated by ‘visual media’ and especially by ‘visual spectacularism’, a special sub-genre of cinema that is predicated primarily on special effects, the creation of visually impressive alternate worlds, the realisation of events and beings liable to amaze. The other shift linked to this is that SF becomes less markedly a ‘literature of ideas’ and becomes increasingly dominated by an imagistic aesthetic: this involves both more conventional poetic or literary images and more strikingly potent visual imagery which penetrates culture more generally (a bone thrown into the sky by a prehistoric ape cuts to a spaceship in orbit …). It is in the nature of images that they cannot be parsed, explicated and rationalised in the way that ‘ideas’ — excerpted from a notional ‘literature of ideas’ — can. Accordingly, there is something oblique about the workings of the best SF of the latter part of the twentieth century; something allusive and affective that can be difficult exactly to pin down.
KeywordsScience Fiction Star Trek Blade Runner Alien Creature Science Fiction Cinema
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