Empire of Dreams: The Science Fiction and Fantasy Films of Steven Spielberg

By Jackson, Kathy Merlock | Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA), September 2008 | Go to article overview

Empire of Dreams: The Science Fiction and Fantasy Films of Steven Spielberg


Jackson, Kathy Merlock, Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA)


Empire of Dreams: The Science Fiction and Fantasy Films of Steven Spielberg Andrew M. Gordon. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2008.

"I dream for a living," said Steven Spielberg. In Empire of Dreams, Andrew Gordon investigates Spielberg's most dreamlike films: his science fiction and fantasy fare. While many critical and biographical books have been written about Spielberg, none previously focused on this signature element of Spielberg's work. The book is a welcome addition to any Spielberg library.

Acknowledging that Spielberg's movies have often been dismissed by critics for being too moving and emotional, Gordon sets out to evaluate thirty years' worth of Spielberg's achievements in the science fiction and fantasy genres, differentiating between his stronger and weaker films. "I shall treat Spielberg with respect as a major filmmaker," he writes (1). Beginning with Duel (1971) and ending with War of the Worlds (2005), Gordon analyzes fifteen works, which include some of Spielberg's best known films, Jaws (1975), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), E.T. (1982), the Indiana Jones trilogy, and Jurassic Park (1993). His essays are uniformly well researched, thoughtful, and readable, effectively capturing Spielberg's themes and influences. …

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