Science Fiction Film and Television


Vol. 13, No. 1, 2020

'Cells. Interlinked' Sympathy and Obligation in Blade Runner 2049
I can't tell you how I knew - but I did know that I had crossed The border. Everything I loved was lost But no aorta could report regret. A sun of rubber was convulsed and set; And blood-black nothingness began to spin A system of cells interlinked within...
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Iron Fist (US 2017–18). Marvel Television
Iron Fist (US 2017-18). Marvel Television. Distributed by Netflix.To complete the 'Defenders' quartet required for a team-up to rival the 'Avengers' of their cinematic universe, Marvel Studios and Netflix followed their co-produced series Daredevil (2015-18),...
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Seven Inquiries on the Antediluvian Labour Market of Cinematic 'Sf Auteurs' and Blade Runner 2049
With the advent of what David Butler has called the Golden Age of fantasy cinema - the Star Wars prequels; Sony, Fox and Disney Marvel film adaptations; The Matrix, Harry Potter and Hunger Games franchises; etc. - our crowning of new masters of the speculative...
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Dystopia Fatigue Doesn't Cut It, or, Blade Runner 2049's Utopian Longings
A short symposium piece on Blade Runner 2049 (Villeneuve US/UK/Hungary/ Canada/Spain 2017) is hardly the place to rehash the question that concerns many in sf studies, utopian studies and political activism - what is utopia? - and yet here we are. We...
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'I've Heard Things You People Wouldn't Imagine' Blade Runner's Aural Lives
Sf film has often been framed as negotiating the opposites of spectacle and narrative, with the former frequently taking precedence, much to many critics' chagrin. But some genre films are more visual than others - and Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (US...
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Science Fiction, Ethics and the Human Condition
Christian Baron, Peter Halvorsen and Christine Cornea, eds, Science Fiction, Ethics and the Human Condition. New York: Springer International Publishing, 2017. vi + 246pp. US$89 (hbk).One of the things that we do in philosophy, much to the annoyance...
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Legacies of Blade Runner
Blade Runner's futures: on cyberpunk and franchise cinema1 November 2019 - Blade Runner Day - has now come and gone, officially relegating Ridley Scott's sf vision of the future to the prosaic past. For many, the film's once-iconic cyberpunk and grimdark...
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Vitality and Reproduction in Blade Runner 2049
In one of the strangest moments of Blade Runner 2049 (Villeneuve US/UK/ Hungary/Canada/Spain 2017), sinister CEO Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) argues that he needs to perfect biological reproduction in replicants because humanity's labour needs for planetary...
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The Dark Tower (Nikolaj Arcel US 2017)
The Dark Tower (Nikolaj Arcel US 2017). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2017. Region 1. 2:40:1 anamorphic widescreen. US$10.A live-action adaptation of Stephen King's Dark Tower series was, seemingly, in the works forever, with various directors and...
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Deadpool (Tim Miller US 2016)
Deadpool (Tim Miller US 2016). 20th Century Fox 2016. Region 1. 2:40:1 anamorphic widescreen. US$9.91.The first image we have of popular Marvel Comics anti-hero Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) in Deadpool is his bulging crotch, crowned by a belt-buckle emblem...
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The OA (US 2016–19). Netflix Originals
The OA (US 2016-19). Netflix Originals. Distributed by Netflix.The OA is a Netflix Original television series that engages with multiverses, interdimensional travel, near-death experiences, angels and invisible connections across universes. Season 1...
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Blade Runner 2049 and the 'Quality' Hollywood Film
According to some media reporting, Blade Runner 2049 (Villeneuve US/UK/ Canada/Hungary/Spain 2017) had the potential to spur a new wave of slower and more contemplative Hollywood blockbuster cinema. Or, alternatively, what proved to be a disappointing...
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Editing the Soul: Science Fiction in the Genome Age
Everett Hamner, Editing the Soul: Science Fiction in the Genome Age. University Park: Pennsylvania State UP, 2017. 264pp. US$27.95 (pbk).Everett Hamner's Editing the Soul is a book both impressively thorough in its examination of genetic fiction and...
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Race in the Blade Runner Cycle and Demographic Dystopia
IntroductionRace in American cinema has been problematic since its earliest days, whether in the subgenre of Westerns dubbed 'cowboys and Indians' or the more infamous Birth of a Nation (Griffith US 1924) featuring protagonists from the Ku Klux Klan....
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The Director's Cut: Denis Villeneuve before Blade Runner 2049
Denis Villeneuve did not exactly come out of nowhere when he was tasked with directing a sequel to Ridley Scott's iconic Blade Runner (US 1982); he had, after all, already been nominated for Best Director in 2017 for his work on Arrival (US/Canada/India...
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We, the People of Blade Runner 2049
In the time I was working on this essay, a news story broke concerning a wrongful death lawsuit brought against the police department in the Memphis suburb of Southaven, Mississippi, for the 2017 shooting of Ismael Lopez, an undocumented immigrant who...
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A Symposium on the Legacies of Blade Runner
Cyberpunk's masculinist legacyPuppetry, labour and ménage a trois in Blade Runner 2049Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (US 1982), along with TRON (Lisberger US 1982) and Videodrome (Cronenberg US 1983), is one of the trifecta of sf movies that was instrumental...
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Blade Runner 2049's Incongruous Couplings: Living and Dying in the Anthropocene
It is a common critical assertion that Blade Runner 2049 (Villeneuve US/ UK/Hungary/Canada/Spain 2017) is about climate change. As Robin Bunce asserts, the film is 'a disturbing vision of humanity after ecological and societal collapse; a world which...
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Vol. 11, No. 1, 2018

From Cheap Labour to Surplus Humanity: World-Ecology and the Postapartheid Speculative in Neill Blomkamp's District 9
What are the impulses animating 'the recent phenomenon of visionary sf narratives originating in ... "marginal" national cultures' (Smith Globalization 1)? And in what sense is the appearance of these fictional modalities relatable to the contemporary...
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Race and Stardom in Ghost in the Shell
When DreamWorks revealed in January 2015 that its live-action version of Ghost in the Shell (Sanders US 2017) would star Scarlett Johansson, the news was met with controversy. Adapted from the Japanese manga Kökaku Kidötai, first written in 1989 by Masamune...
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Stardom and Sf: A Symposium on the SF Films of Scarlett Johansson
Since 2013, American actor Scarlett Johansson has appeared in a sudden spate of sf films. First there was Her (Jonze US 2013), the story of a lonely man who falls in love with an artificial intelligence which runs his operating system (OS), an entity...
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Black Women in Sequence: Re-Inking Comics, Graphic Novels, and Anime
Deborah Elizabeth Whaley. Black Women in Sequence: Re-Inking Comics, Graphic Novels, and Anime. Seattle: U of Washington P, 2015. 288 pp. US$30.00 (pbk).As sequential art has moved to the forefront of popular culture, critical discourse on graphic narratives...
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Vol. 11, No. 3, 2018

Blade Runner 2049
Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve US 2017). Warner Bros. Region 1. 2.4:1 widescreen. US $24.99.Few sf film sequels have been more anticipated than a follow-up to Ridley Scott's foundational cyberpunk film Blade Runner (US/Hong Kong 1982). As such,...
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Orphan Black and Race: Omissions and a New Realism
Framed as part of a humanist project of self-understanding, the Human Genome Project sparked innumerable discussions about how genomic knowledge would interact with individual and group identities. Would genomics give new life to biologically essentialist...
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Vol. 10, No. 3, 2017

Daredevil Seasons 1 & 2
Daredevil Seasons i & 2. (US 2015-). Netflix 2015-. Distributed by Netflix. Michael C. ReiffBetween hard-boiled bullets and Bushido blades battles Daredevil (Charlie Cox), the blood-red guardian angel of Hell's Kitchen. Marvel and Netflix's first...
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Beating an Undead Zombie? Not Yet
Roger Luckhurst, Zombies: A Cultural History. London: Reaktion Books, 2015. 224pp. £16.00 (hbk).Sarah Juliet Lauro, The Transatlantic Zombie Slavery, Rebellion, and Living Death. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 2015. 284pp. US$28.95 (pbk).Perhaps some researchers...
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Re-Casting Nature as Feminist Space in Mad Max: Fury Road 1
When Mad Max: Fury Road (Miller USA 2015) hit theaters in May 2015, it generated a furor. Film critics and bloggers debated whether the film was feminist and whether the film's feminism, or lack thereof, made the film better or worse. For example, Kyle...
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Vol. 10, No. 1, 2017

The Dread of Difference: Gender and the Horror Film
Barry Keith Grant, ed., The Dread of Difference: Gender and the Horror Film. Austin: U of Texas P, 2015 (orig. 1996). xv + 539pp. US$29.95 (pbk). Brittany RobertsAs editor Barry Keith Grant notes in his informative introduction to The Dread of Difference,...
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I Origins
I Origins (Mike Cahill US 2014). Fox Searchlight 2014. Region 1. 2.40:1 anamorphic. US$14.Mike Cahill's 2014 new age science film I Origins begins with a series of close-ups of eyes. In voiceover, molecular biologist Ian (Michael Pitt) explains that...
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Vol. 10, No. 2, 2017

Tomorrowland: A World beyond (Brad Bird US 2015)
Tomorrowland: A World Beyond (Brad Bird US 2015). Walt Disney Studios 2015. PAL Region 2. 2.20:1. ?17.99.Developed during the 1950s and 1960s, and credited to Walt Disney's authorial vision, the Tomorrowland areas of Disney's theme parks employ (now...
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Navigating Uncertainty: Trouble in Haven
Since the 1980s the end of old certainties has meant that television's artistic and ontological specificity, its relations to other media (especially the Internet) and its proper programmatic forms have become increasingly unstable (see Nelson; Creeber)....
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Vol. 9, No. 1, 2016

'An Empire O'er the Disentangled Doom': Captivity and the Re-Staging of Prometheus in the Twenty-First Century
Gentleness, Virtue, Wisdom, and Endurance,These are the seals of that most firm assuranceWhich bars the pit over Destruction's strength;And if, with infirm hand, Eternity,Mother of many acts and hours, should freeThe serpent that would clasp her with...
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Zombies and Sexuality: Essays on Desire and the Living Dead
Shaka McGlotten and Steve Jones, eds, Zombies and Sexuality: Essays on Desire and the Living Dead. Jefferson: McFarland, 2014. US$35.00 (pbk).Sarah Juliet LauroZombies are dead. I do not mean that literally, but in the sense that one says 'Art is dead'...
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Vol. 9, No. 2, 2016

Supernatural, Humanity, and the Soul: On the Highway to Hell and Back
Susan A. George and Regina M. Hansen, eds, Supernatural, Humanity, and the Soul: On the Highway to Hell and Back. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. 236pp. US$95.00 (hbk).Brian McGreevy, author of the novel from which Netflix developed the series Hemlock...
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Vol. 8, No. 2, 2015

Genre and Gender in the Dead Mountaineer's Hotel (1979)
(ProQuest: ... denotes non-US-ASCII text omitted.)IntroductionIn terms of genre, we propose that besides its traditional classification as sf, Hukkunud Alpinisti hotell (.../The Dead Mountaineer's Hotel; Kromanov Estonia 1979) can also be considered...
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Genre Film, Spectacle and the Strugatskii Brothers in Fyodor Bondarchuk's the Inhabited Island
As is well attested in recent movie treatments of the Strugatskiis' work such as Gadkie lebedi (Ugly Swans; Lopushanskii Russia 2006), Obitaemyi ostrov (The Inhabited Island; Bondarchuk Russia 2008-9) and Trudno byt' bogom (Hard to Be a God; German Russia...
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Vol. 8, No. 3, 2015

RoboCop (José Padilha US 2014). MGM and Columbia Pictures 2014. Region 2. 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. UK£9.99.In this remake of Paul Verhoeven's ultra-violent 1987 film, honest Detroit police officer Alex Murphy is once again mortally wounded by a...
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Vol. 7, No. 1, 2014

Why Does Your Church Look like a Fortress? God and the Gothic in Doctor Who and Hammer
The characteristic themes and settings of the gothic - old dark houses, central European forests, laboratories of mad scientists and vivisectionists - prolif- erated in British sf and horror across the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s (Botting 6). One major medium...
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Gothic Science Fiction, 1980-2010
Sara Wasson and Emily Alder (eds), Gothic Science Fiction, 1980-2010. Liverpool: Liverpool UP, 2011. 219pp. £65.00 (hbk).Gothic Science Fiction, 1980-2010 stands as a foundational overview on the modern connection between fears of the past's resurgence...
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