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Images of the Future: Science Fiction across the Media

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Prof. Ewa Mazierska (University of Central Lancashire)


This special issue is concerned with images of the future, in science fiction literature, cinema, music and philosophy. It asks how these images are constructed and what affects them. The authors of the five articles start with the assumption that they are informed by the history and the present; they reflect on the political, social and cultural reality of those who are creating them, the dominant ideology and their personal viewpoints, typically marked by either adulation or fear of science and technology. Hence, Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis, as Peter Lucas argues in his article, shows what wonders might be achieved by organised and methodical state-sponsored scientific research.  Andrzej Wajda’s film Roly Poly, as Elżbieta Ostrowska demonstrates, points to the danger of people losing their identities due to the advancement of medicine, especially transplantology and cloning.
Many science fiction texts are rooted in national histories and reflect the anxiety about losing national identity due to technological progress or invasion by a foreign culture as, again, shown by Ostrowska and Kenneth Longman in his article about China in recent American science fiction films and Adam Evans’ investigation of Afrofuturistic motives in electro-rap. Science fiction texts also engage with specific political ideologies and realities, such as different versions of capitalism, as examined by Ewa Mazierska and Alfredo Suppia, who in their article compare The Man Who Fell to Earth by Nicholas Roeg with Under the Skin by Jonathan Glazer, both concerned with aliens reaching Earth.


Bacon’s New Atlantis and the Fictional Origins of Organised Science
Lucas, Peter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2018-0011

Aliens in an Alien World: The Portrayal of the Aliens and Humans in the Man Who Fell to Earth by Nicholas Roeg and Under the Skin by Jonathan Glazer
Suppia, Alfredo / Mazierska, Ewa  DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2018-0026

China Whispers: The Symbolic, Economic, and Political Presence of China in Contemporary American Science Fiction Film
Longden, Kenneth DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2018-0014

“Exquisite cadaver” according to Stanisław Lem and Andrzej Wajda
Ostrowska, Elżbieta DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2018-0010

The Futurism of Hip Hop: Space, Electro and Science Fiction in Rap
de Paor-Evans, Adam DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2018-0012