Aliens: An Anthropology of Science Fiction
edited by George E Slusser and Eric S Rabkin
Southern Illinois University Press, 1987
eISBN: 978-0-8093-8352-8 | Cloth: 978-0-8093-1375-4
Library of Congress Classification PN3433.6.A44 1987
Dewey Decimal Classification 809.30876

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY
ABOUT THIS BOOK



How and when does there come to be an “an­thropology of the alien?” This set of essays, written for the eighth J. Lloyd Eaton Confer­ence on Fantasy and Science Fiction, is con­cerned with the significance of that question. “[Anthropology] is the science that must desig­nate the alien ifit is to redefine a place for itself in the universe,” according to the Introduction.


The idea of the alien is not new. In the Re­naissance, Montaigne’s purpose in describing an alien encounter was excorporation—man­kind was the “savage” because the artificial devices of nature controlled him. Shake­speare’s version of the alien encounter was in­corporation; his character of Caliban is brought to the artificial, political world of man and incor­porated into the body politic


“The essays in this volume . . . show, in their general orientation, that the tribe of


Shakespeare still, in literary studies at least, outnumbers that of Montaigne.” These essays show the interrelation of the excorporating pos­sibilities to the internal soundings of the alien encounter within the human mind and form.



This book is divided into three parts: “Searchings: The Quest for the Alien” includes “The Aliens in Our Mind,” by Larry Niven; “Effing the Ineffable,” by Gregory Benford; “Border Patrols,” by Michael Beehler; “Alien Aliens,” by Pascal Ducommun; and “Metamorphoses of the Dragon,” by George E. Slusser.


“Sightings: The Aliens among Us” includes “Discriminating among Friends,” by John Huntington; “Sex, Superman, Sociobiology,” by Joseph D. Miller; “Cowboys and Telepaths,” by Eric S. Rabkin; “Robots,” by Noel Perrin; “Aliens in the Supermarket,” by George R. Guffey; and “Aliens ‘R’ U.S.,” by Zoe Sofia.



“Soundings: Man as the Alien” includes “H. G. Wells’ Familiar Aliens,” by John R. Reed; “Inspiration and Possession,” by Clayton Koelb; “Cybernauts in Cyberspace,” by David Porush; “The Human Alien,” by Leighton Brett Cooke; “From Astarte to Barbie,” by Frank McConnell; and “An Indication of Monsters;” by Colin Greenland.
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