Classical Traditions in Science Fiction (Classical Presences)

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9780199988419: Classical Traditions in Science Fiction (Classical Presences)

For all its concern with change in the present and future, science fiction is deeply rooted in the past and, surprisingly, engages especially deeply with the ancient world. Indeed, both as an area in which the meaning of "classics" is actively transformed and as an open-ended set of texts whose own 'classic' status is a matter of ongoing debate, science fiction reveals much about the roles played by ancient classics in modern times. Classical Traditions in Science Fiction is the first collection in English dedicated to the study of science fiction as a site of classical receptions, offering a much-needed mapping of that important cultural and intellectual terrain.

This volume discusses a wide variety of representative examples from both classical antiquity and the past four hundred years of science fiction, beginning with science fiction's "rosy-fingered dawn" and moving toward the other-worldly literature of the present day. As it makes its way through the eras of science fiction, Classical Traditions in Science Fiction exposes the many levels on which science fiction engages the ideas of the ancient world, from minute matters of language and structure to the larger thematic and philosophical concerns.

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About the Author:

Brett M. Rogers is Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of Puget Sound.

Benjamin Eldon Stevens is Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics at Hollins University.


"Whereas a classics scholar may be confused by the different approaches to defining and originating science fiction, Classical Traditions in Science Fiction is a particularly helpful work in orienting science fiction scholars toward a more historical approach to the genre. The work shows that even the most advanced and surreal worlds of science fiction hark
back to classical origins in their reflections on humanity, knowledge, and ethics." --Kanta Dihal, Science Fiction Research Association (SFRA) Review

"The collection as a whole is to be described as extremely successful, and it is hoped that further studies will follow at a similar level." --Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"If you're excited by taking a deeper look into science fiction through the lens of the myths and stories of antiquity--that is to say if you're a Classics nerd along with being a traditional nerd--then Classical Traditions in Science Fiction is an absolute blast."

"...[A] consistently stimulating collection. ... [T]his collection ranges from Lucian and Kepler to the rebooted Battlestar Galactica, and much is necessarily omitted. But any wish for something more, or something different, only reinforces the editors' case for exploring this rich relationship..." --Sarah Annes Brown, Classical World

"Interestingly enough, though the genre of science fiction has evolved greatly since the time of Kepler, and though the genre is very often focused on the future, the persistence of classical traditions on science fiction seems to offer no signs of waning. This volume offers valuable insights on a genre that is ever-evolving, and that simultaneously has its roots deeply situated in classical literature." -- Fafnir: Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy

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