Excavating the Future

BookOpen AccessExcavating the Future

Excavating the Future

Archaeology and Geopolitics in Contemporary North American Science Fiction Film and Television

Liverpool Science Fiction Texts and Studies, 57

2018

April 27th, 2018

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An Open Access edition of this book is available on the Liverpool University Press website and through Knowledge Unlatched.

Well-known in science fiction for tomb-raiding and mummy-wrangling, the archaeologist has been a rich source for imagining ‘strange new worlds’ from ‘strange old worlds.’ But more than a well-spring for SF scenarios, the genre’s archaeological imaginary invites us to consider the ideological implications of digging up the past buried in the future. A cultural study of an array of very popular, though often critically-neglected, North American SF film and television texts–running the gamut of telefilms, pseudo-documentaries, teen serial drama and Hollywood blockbusters–Excavating the Future explores the popular archaeological imagination and the political uses to which it is being employed by the U.S. state and its adversaries. By treating SF texts as documents of archaeological experience circulating within and between scientific and popular culture communities and media, Excavating the Future develops critical strategies for analyzing SF film and television’s critical and adaptive responses to post 9/11 geopolitical concerns about the war on terror, homeland security, the invasion and reconstruction of Iraq, and the ongoing fight against ISIS.

Shawn Malley is Professor in the Department of English, Bishop’s University, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. He is author of 'From Archaeology to Spectacle in Victorian Britain: The Case of Assyria, 1845–1854' (Ashgate Press, 2012).

'[A] provocative and fastidiously researched monograph... Invoking such heavy-hitters as Roland Barthes, Jean Baudrillard, and Homi Bhabha, Excavating the Future is best for scholars or advanced students already acquainted with a fair amount of theory. Nevertheless, Malley maps rich territory at the intersection of literature, media studies, history, and geopolitics.'
Pedro Ponce, SFRA Review

Author Information

Shawn Malley is Professor in the Department of English, Bishop’s University, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. He is author of 'From Archaeology to Spectacle in Victorian Britain: The Case of Assyria, 1845-1854' (Ashgate Press, 2012).

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Cover1
Contents7
List of Figures11
Acknowledgements15
Introduction17
Part 1: Battling Babylon: Military SFFTV and the War on Terror35
1. Manticore47
2. Stargate SG-160
3. Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen75
Part 2: Of Artefacts and Ancient Aliens89
4. Ancient Aliens98
5. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull111
6. Smallville128
Part 3: Cyborg Sites: The Case of A.I. Artificial Intelligence151
7. Battlestar Galactica161
8. Prometheus183
Envoi207
Works Cited214
Index239