Flashes of the Fantastic

Selected Essays from the War of the Worlds Centennial, Nineteenth International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts

by David Ketterer


Essays examine The War of the Worlds, other works by H.G. Wells, and assorted topics related to science fiction and fantasy.

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Cover image for Flashes of the Fantastic

December 2004


Pages 268
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics The Arts/General
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The 19th International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts was focused on the centennial of the initial publication of H. G. Wells's The War of the Worlds. Wells's first and fourth novels, The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds, have together largely created the science fiction genre and are arguably the two most influential works of science fiction. But through his works Wells has had an even broader influence on the fantastic, and numerous writers, artists, and musicians are indebted to him. This volume includes selected essays from the 19th annual ICFA and gives special attention to Wells and his legacy.

The first section of the book offers fresh interpretations of The War of the Worlds, particularly as a commentary on colonialism. The second provides broader coverage of Wells and his works, with essays examining his A Modern Utopia and looking at texts which his writings inspired in major or minor ways. The third includes essays on noted fantasy writer Peter Straub, the guest of honor at the conference; while the fourth presents discussions of a variety of topics related to the fantastic, including fantastic neomedievalism, Dracula, and dragons.

Table of Contents

Introduction: "Flashes of Light" by David KettererTHE WAR OF THE WORLDS"God's Ministers"? Reinterpreting the Martian Invasion in The War of the Worlds, by Patrick ParrinderArtful Irony in The War of the Worlds, by Richard LawThe War of the Worlds and the Disease of Imperialism, by Alexander C. IrvineThe War of the Worlds, Wells, and the Fallacy of Empire, by John C. HawleyH. G. WELLS AND SCIENCE FICTIONThe Legendary: H. G. Wells and A Modern Utopia , by Claire Hirshfield"These Are Not the Aliens You're Looking For": Reflections on Race, Writing, and Theory in Contemporary Science Fiction, by Sylvia KelsoThe Queer as Traitor, the Traitor as Queer: Denaturalizing Concepts of Nationhood, Species, and Sexuality, by Wendy PearsonThe Humanism of C. M. Kornbluth's "The Marching Morons", by Andy DuncanThe Forever War (1972-75, 1975/76, 1997) and Forever Peace (1997): Joe Haldeman's Variations on a Theme, by Richard D. ErlichHow to Make Utopia (Marginally) Credible, by Brian W. AldissTHE ART OF PETER STRAUBThe Fantasy of Everyday Life, by Peter StraubAn Interview with Peter Straub, by Bernadette BoskyDispatches from the Invisible World: Trauma and Survival in Straub's "Blue Rose" Stories, by Patricia MoirFANTASY, REALITY, POETRY-MORE FLASHES OF INSIGHTDrawing Lines in the Sand: The Fantastic Considered as an Instance of Liminality, by Judith KermanAnne Radcliffe's "Real" Ghost: The Fantastic Supernatural in Gaston de Blondeville, by Robert F. Geary"Power of Combination": Dracula and Secret Societies, by Katie HarseThe Phantom Structure of Anatole France's "La Messe des Ombres": A Tale from Gascony Revisited, from Bladé to France, by Juliette Gilman"Fantastic Neomedievalism": The Image of the Middle Ages in Popular Fantasy, by Kim SellingFrom Death to Rebirth: A Short History of Dragons and Their Presence in Modern Fantasy, by Judith A. JohnAutogeddon Meets Archetype: Ballard's Novel Crash-The Collision Between the Dream Image and the Totem Object in the Death of Princess Diana, by Joan BridgmanThe Spacecraft of Pablo Neruda and W. H. Auden , by Leonard A. CheeverIndexAbout the Contributors



[T]hese volumes will continue to serve, for a long time to come, as a valuable chronicle of a remarkable annual conference.—Science Fiction Studies

[T]hese essays are solid evidence of the intelligent, serious interest in H.G. Wells, in science fiction, and in fantasy.—English Literature in Transition 1880-1920

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