Aliens in Popular Culture
by Michael M. Levy and Farah Mendlesohn, Editors
March 2019, 335pp, 7x10
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-3832-3
$94, £70, 79€, A135
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3833-0
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

According to a Glocalities study, 47 percent of people believe in alien life.

An indispensable resource, this book provides wide coverage on aliens in fiction and popular culture.

The wide impact that the imagined alien has had upon Western culture has not been surveyed before; in many cases the essays in Aliens in Popular Culture are the first written on the topic. The book is a compendium of short entries on notable uses of aliens in popular culture across different media and platforms by almost 90 researchers in the field. It covers science fiction from the late nineteenth century into the twenty-first century, including books, films, television, comics, games, and even advertisements.

Individual essays point to the ways in which the imagined alien can be seen as a reflection of different fears and tensions within society, above all in the Anglo-American world. The book additionally provides an overview for context and suggestions for further reading. All varieties of readers will find it to be a comprehensive reference about the extra-terrestrial in popular culture.


  • Provides cultural context in introductory essays on some of the key themes and contexts of alien representation
  • Covers a broad scope, with more than 130 entries on different topics, and is written by nearly 90 researchers with diverse expertise
  • Shows readers the varied ways that imagined aliens have become a part of popular culture
  • Presents both familiar topics and more obscure topics in popular culture to provide new scholarship
Michael M. Levy was professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Stout, until his untimely death in 2017. He is the author of Natalie Babbitt and Portrayal of Southeast Asian Refugees in Recent American Children's Books, editor of The Moon Pool by A. Merritt, and coeditor of the peer-reviewed journal Extrapolation. Levy was awarded the Clareson Award for Distinguished Service to the fields of science fiction and fantasy in 2007.

Farah Mendlesohn is the author of Rhetorics of Fantasy and The Inter-Galactic Playground: A Critical Study of Children's and Teens' Science Fiction, coauthor of A Short History of Fantasy, and coeditor of the Hugo Award–winning Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction and The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy. She and Michael Levy won the World Fantasy Award for An Introduction to Children's Fantasy Literature.


"Sf enthusiasts will appreciate this comprehensive reference about extraterrestrials in popular culture."—Library Journal, June 30, 2019

"The range of topics covered is as wide as a galaxy and includes familiar sf writers such as Harlan Ellison, Ursula K. LeGuin, Philip K. Dick, and Octavia E. Butler as well as film, television, and gaming favorites, from Teletubbies and Tron to Star Trek, Star Wars, and StarCraft. A specialized sourcebook with definite appeal for fans of sf in particular and students of popular culture in general."—Booklist Online, September 1, 2019

"A nice collection of essays and entries on a popular topic in both media and public interest."—ARBA, August 1, 2019
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