Cinema and science fiction were made for each other. Science fiction has been at the cutting edge of film technology and the genre has produced some of the most ambitious, imaginative and visually spectacular films ever made. Yet science fiction cinema is about more than just state-of-the-art special effects. It has also provided a vehicle for film-makers and writers to comment on their own societies and cultures. In this new study of the genre, James Chapman and Nicholas Cull examine a series of landmark science fiction films from the 1930s to the present. They include genre classics, including 'Things to Come', 'Forbidden Planet', 'Planet of the Apes' and '2001: A Space Odyssey', alongside modern blockbusters 'Star Wars' and 'Avatar'. They consider both screen originals and adaptations of the work of major science fiction authors such as H.G. Wells and Arthur C. Clarke. They range widely across the genre from pulp adventure and space opera to political allegory and speculative documentary- there is even a science fiction musical.
Chapman and Cull explore the contexts and document the production histories of each film to show how they made their way to the screen- and why they turned out the way they did. Informed throughout by extensive original research in US and British archives, Projecting Tomorrow will be essential reading for all students and fans of science fiction cinema.
James Chapman is Professor of Film Studies at the University of Leicester, UK. His previous books include The British at War: Cinema, State and Propaganda, 1939-1945(1998), and Licence To Thrill: A Cultural History of the James Bond Films (2nd edn 2007), both from I.B.Tauris. He is editor of the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television. Nicholas J. Cull is Professor of Public Diplomacy in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. His previous books include The Cold War and the United States Information Agency: American Propaganda and Public Diplomacy, 1945-1989(2008) and (with James Chapman), Projecting Empire: Imperialism and Popular Cinema (I.B.Tauris, 2009). He is president of the International Association for Media and History.
Acknowledgements List of Illustrations Introduction 1. Dry Future: Just Imagine (1930) 2. The Prophet and the Showman: Things to Come (1936) 3. Screening Wells for Cold War America: The War of the Worlds (1953) 4. The British Invasions: The Quatermass Experiment (1955), Quatermass 2 (1957) and Quatermass and the Pit (1967) 5. Sex and the Single Robot: Forbidden Planet (1956) 6. The Watershed: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) 7. Monkey Business: Planet of the Apes (1968) 8. Stretching the Genre: The Hellstrom Chronicle (1971) 9. Future Imperfect: Logan's Run (1976) 10. No Time for Sorrows: Star Wars (1977) 11. Rustbelt Messiah: RoboCop (1987) 12. The Image as Hero: Avatar (2009) Afterword Filmography Index