By M. Keith Booker

ISBN-10: 0313073627

ISBN-13: 9780313073625

The Nineteen Fifties are extensively considered as the golden age of yankee technology fiction. This e-book surveys a variety of significant technological know-how fiction novels and movies from the lengthy 1950s--the interval from 1946 to 1964--when the tensions of the chilly warfare have been at their top. the yankee technology fiction novels and flicks of this era sincerely replicate chilly battle anxieties and tensions via their specialise in such issues as alien invasion and nuclear holocaust. during this feel, they resemble the observations of social and cultural critics throughout the comparable period.

Meanwhile, American technological know-how fiction of the lengthy Nineteen Fifties additionally engages its old and political contexts via an interrogation of phenomena, equivalent to alienation and routinization, that may be noticeable as effects of the advance of yank capitalism in this interval. This fiscal pattern is a part of the increase of the worldwide phenomenon that Marxist theorists have known as past due capitalism. hence, American technological know-how fiction in this interval displays the increase of overdue capitalism and participates within the beginnings of postmodernism, defined through Frederic Jameson because the cultural good judgment of past due capitalism.

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Extra info for Monsters, Mushroom Clouds, and the Cold War: American Science Fiction and the Roots of Postmodernism, 1946-1964

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In the end, the Consies manage to load the only Venus rocket with their people and to blast off with the hope of building on Ve- 40 Monsters, Mushroom Clouds, and the Cold War nus a new world free of the greed and corruption that capitalism has spread across the earth. 12 All in all, the plot of the book is rather contrived, but also beside the point, as is often the case with satire. What is important is the book's satirical thrust, which quite effectively comments both on the overall direction of consumer capitalism as a system and on the specific political climate of the United States in the early 1950s.

In addition, the book suggests that a Third Industrial Revolution, in which even the most sophisticated intellectual work would be done by machines, making human beings obsolete altogether, may be just around the corner. If Player Piano thus recalls a number of sophisticated analyses of modern culture and society, it includes less sophisticated elements as well. In particular, the book seems to romanticize labor, depicting even work on a factory assembly line as spiritually fulfilling without paying attention to the fact that much of such work is degrading, mind numbing, and alienating in its own right.

It should also be stated, however, that this collapse of belief in totalizing ideological systems was greatly enhanced by Cold War as- 24 Monsters, Mushroom Clouds, and the Cold War saults on Marxism, the leading example of such a system. Once again, then, postmodernism proves to be far more a product of the Cold War than has typically been acknowledged by critics and theorists. 2. The vertiginous pace of change in the long 1950s also contributed to the era's increasing sense of the instability of personal identity, which accompanied the growing sense of alienation experienced by individuals during the decade.

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Monsters, Mushroom Clouds, and the Cold War: American Science Fiction and the Roots of Postmodernism, 1946-1964 by M. Keith Booker


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