From the early days of pulp magazines to contemporary works of science fiction, the subject of the alien has been a fertile and enduring-if not also the most vital-element of the genre. In Alien Theory, author Patricia Monk asserts that the creation of the alien in short fiction contributes substantially to humanity's understanding of its present status and future potential in the universe. By employing a Jungian and archetypal approach to these stories, Monk attempts to direct the attention of readers to the significance of the vast body of imaginative fiction about the alien, arguing that studying the alien will reveal why this archetype is necessary in the development of humanity's understanding of its own intrinsic nature as a sapient being. When a science fiction writer writes about aliens, Monk asserts, he or she is saying something that can-and should-be taken seriously by readers. Furthermore, it is being expressed in a particular story-telling mode that deserves to be treated with respect.
By discussing the creation of the form of the science-fictional alien, its psyche and the context in which aliens and humans interact, Monk brings into focus a topic that has not been given the rightful discussion it deserves. In addition to examining the alien in the science fiction short story, novella, and novelette, Monk evaluates its role in pre-postmodernist and postmodernist criticism and theory. The author also draws on relevant writings by editors, writers, and fans-including editorial letter columns and reviews-to place the stories in the context of science fiction. By drawing on all of these sources, Alien Theory brings into focus a topic that will be of interest not only to academics and students, but also to the general reader.
Patricia Monk taught in the English Department at Dalhousie University in Halifax , Nova Scotia, where she specialized in Canadian literature and science fiction, before retiring in 2003. She is the author of three books: Mud and Magic Shows: Robertson Davies's Fifth Business (1992), The Gilded Beaver: An Introduction to the Life and Work of James De Mille (1991), and The Smaller Infinity: Jungian Self in the Novels of Robertson Davies (1982).
Part 1 List of Abbreviations Part 2 Preface Part 3 Acknowledgments Part 4 Introduction: Theorizing OtherSelfness Part 5 PART I: Conceiving the Alien Chapter 6 1. Who Goes There? The Concept of the Extraterrestrial Alien since Darwin Chapter 7 2. Nailing Jelly to a Tree: Theorizing the Alien Part 8 PART II: Writing the Alien Chapter 9 3. A Question of Shape: Alien Form Chapter 10 4. The Thought That Counts: The Alien Psyche Chapter 11 5. Sleeping with the Alien: The Society of the Alien Part 12 PART III: Reading the Alien Chapter 13 6. Figuring It Out: The Literary Modeling of the Alien Chapter 14 7. Necessary Alterity: The Why of the Alien Part 15 Conclusion: The Archetype, the Alien, and the Human Part 16 Bibliography Part 17 Index Part 18 About the Author