Shakespeare and Science Fiction


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In Shakespeare and Science Fiction Sarah Annes Brown investigates why so many science fiction writers have turned to Shakespeare when imagining humanity’s future. He and his works become a kind of touchstone for the species in much science fiction, both transcending and exemplifying what it means to be human. Writers have used Shakespeare in a range of often contradictory ways. He is associated with freedom and with tyranny, with optimistic visions of space exploration and with the complete destruction of the human race. His works have been invoked to justify the existence of humanity, but have also frequently been coopted for their own purposes by alien life forms or artificial intelligences.

Shakespeare and Science Fiction is the first extended study of Shakespeare’s influence on the genre. It draws on over a hundred works across different science fiction media, identifying recurring patterns – and telling contradictions – in the way science fiction engages with Shakespeare. It includes discussions of time travel, alternate history, dystopias, space opera, posthuman identity and post-apocalyptic fiction.

Author Information

Sarah Annes Brown is Professor of English Literature at Anglia Ruskin University.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
1. ‘The Whirligig of Time’: Shakespeare and Time Travel23
2. ‘The Self was not the Same’: Alternative Shakespeares43
3. ‘Bounded in a Nutshell’: Dystopian Shakespeares69
4. ‘King of Infinite Space’: New Worlds and Alien Species97
5. ‘Something Rich and Strange’: Prospero’s Magic and Science Fiction123
6. ‘Whilst this Machine is to Him’: Shakespeare and Posthuman Identity147
7. ‘Is This the Promised End?’: Shakespeare and Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction173