Symbolic utopias: Herbert, Asimov and Dick

Correia Félix, João Filipe (2015) Symbolic utopias: Herbert, Asimov and Dick. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

The body of work that we usually call science fiction has a rich and often ambivalent
history. Its humble roots in pulp magazines and dime novels contributed to an image of
disposable, low brow writing, unworthy of the title “literature”. Those incipient
assumptions, which still remain, became themselves ways of establishing what we now
call a genre. In part, due to this uncomfortable image of a bastardized literature, the history
of science fiction criticism frequently reflected a sense of discomfort with the way this
genre was perceived. As a result, there have been many readings that attempt to lift the
texts under scrutiny from a perception of polluted beginnings. While this impetus has
produced some of the most essential science fiction criticism, it has also stirred a level of
controversy by inevitably inscribing a canon.

In recent years, we have begun to encounter a frontal discussion both on the literature
itself and on the significance of these readings. These include further connections not
only with theory, but also with their pulp legacy. In this regard, this study attempts to link
utopia to science fiction, particularly in relation to how the roots of science fiction became
enablers for a thoroughly utopian-driven genre. For this purpose, three authors are
analysed: Frank Herbert, Isaac Asimov and Philip K. Dick. Their prominence has
garnered an enormous amount of study, perhaps the biggest of any other author. Tied to
this is the fact that all three have a background in writing for pulps and their work has
become iconic on its own. Therefore, it seems productive to analyse the threads that run
through their work, the links their writing might have to each other and to external input
but, most of all, how utopia may be a fitting way to interpret the science fictional impetus.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN3311 Prose. Prose fiction > PN3427 Special kinds of fiction. Fiction genres > PN3448.S45 Science fiction
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 13 May 2015 06:04
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2015 14:24
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/53989

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