Psience Fiction

Psience Fiction : The Paranormal in Science Fiction Literature

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Science fiction is often considered a literature of futuristic technology: fantastic warfare among the stars, or ruinous apocalypse on Earth. In the middle of last century, a very different theme suddenly blossomed. This was a fiction of mind powers such as telepathy, precognition of the future, teleportation, symbolic machines reacting to these mental forces and perhaps life beyond death. Driving this explosion of paranormal narratives was John W. Campbell, editor of Astounding Science Fiction magazine, later renamed Analog. Almost single-handedly, Campbell made "psience fiction" into a dominant movement.

Until now, no scholarly study has dealt specifically with this abrupt shift of emphasis away from space travel, atomic weapons, robots, and other once-imaginary technologies, and into the realm of the paranormal treated as science. Literary critic Damien Broderick surveys this long-ignored terrain, reading a series of influential or characteristic psience fiction novels and short stories, from the 1930s to now. This tour of the psychic fictional landscape is framed by an informed discussion of the dynamics creating this surge of interest in parapsychology, and its absorption into the genre even as real-world military experiments in the paranormal (the US Star Gate program) were being conducted in highly classified secrecy.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 244 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 10mm | 317.51g
  • Jefferson, NC, United States
  • English
  • 1476672288
  • 9781476672281
  • 2,112,658

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Science fiction has often been considered the literature of futuristic technology: fantastic warfare among the stars or ruinous apocalypses on Earth. The last century, however, saw, through John W. Campbell, the introduction of "psience fiction," which explores such themes of mental powers as telepathy, precognition of the future, teleportation, etc.--and symbolic machines that react to such forces.

The author surveys this long-ignored literary shift through a series of influential novels and short stories published between the 1930s and the present. This discussion is framed by the sudden surge of interest in parapsychology and its absorption not only into the SF genre, but also into the real world through military experiments such as the Star Gate Program.
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Review quote

"Psience Fiction is a must for anyone who enjoys science fiction and has in interest in psi phenomena. Broderick is engaging, informative, witty, and stimulating as he brings us to understand more about the heritage that psi enjoys in the body of literature that has in many ways inspired--and predicted--the modern world in which we now live."--Journal of Scientific Exploration.
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About Damien Broderick

Damien Broderick is an Australian writer, editor and critical theorist, living in San Antonio, Texas.
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