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Increasing Popularity of Science Fiction Explored by Prof. Istvan Csicsery-Ronay Jr.

Increasing Popularity of Science Fiction Explored by Prof. Istvan Csicsery-Ronay Jr.

October 5, 2005

Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, Jr.gifOctober 5, 2005, Greencastle, Ind. - "Most kids like to think they're at the cutting edge of the culture, living ahead, at the future now," Istvan Csicsery-Ronay Jr., professor of English at DePauw University and co-editor of Science Fiction Studies, tells the State News of Michigan. Csicsery-Ronay is quoted in a story that examines how science fiction, once a niche, is now mainstream. "It's how styles are set, particularly if they're tech. They've bought their computers, they're on the Internet -- which is essentially futuristic."

Lauren Phillips writes, "Csicsery-Ronay said in the 1960s and 1970s, a dominant theme in science fiction was computers taking over every part of the world, and now that the technology is prevalent in almost every aspect of life, science fiction has become even more relevant to popular culture... [He] said the genre often embellishes on themes already in popular culture or politics. For example, in this summer's blockbuster hit War of the Worlds, a remake of the 1953 film, director war of worlds poster cruise.jpgStephen Spielberg added a story line in which the Martians were already embedded on Earth in cells. Csicsery-Ronay said this could reflect present-day fears of terrorist cells embedded in America. 'Folks now treat science fiction as genre of film and literature that captures the way everyone's life has become technological,' Csicsery-Ronay said.

The professor identifies two subsections of the genre: "science fiction" and a newer "sci-fi." Csicsery-Ronay says, "The purist, 'science fiction' faction, sees science fiction really has to be with no magic or supernatural elements at all. There can be marvelous things, but we always have a feeling that they can be explained, someday, in a scientific way." On the other hand is "sci-fi", which, as Phillips writes, "is science fiction that might have one or two ideas in it which can't be explained, such as 'the force' in the Star Wars movies."

Read the complete story at the newspaper's Web site.

Published at DePauw, Science Fiction Studies is an academic journal devoted to the scholarly study of science fiction. Learn more by clicking here.