online Zoom meeting
“Strange New Worlds”: Form and Meaning in Science Fiction
Science fiction is almost impossible to ignore these days: whether it is a new superhero movie or a baby Yoda hovering in a technologically enhanced pram. Yet, what are the origins of the genre and what its defining features? This lecture will introduce some terms from sci-fi theory like “novum” or “cognitive estrangement” to shine an explanatory light onto these questions. We are going to apply these terms to sci-fi classics like H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds but also more recent examples like the immensely popular 1990s TV-series The X-Files or the stunningly re-imagined Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009). The conclusion to our exploration of these “strange new worlds” might be surprising though: while sci-fi comes to us in futuristic guises, it might have more to say about our present and our past than our future.
A note to nerds: never fear, we will also discuss Star Trek and Star Wars.
If you would like to listen to this guest lecture, please contact Prof. Ina Habermann to obtain the necessary Zoom link.
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