Irish Science Fiction revisits a critical paradigm that has often been overlooked or dismissed by science fiction scholars – namely, that science fiction can be understood in terms of myth. Science fiction springs from pseudo-science rather than ‘proper’ science, because pseudo-science is more easily converted into narrative; in this book it is argued that different cultures produce distinct pseudo-sciences, and thus, unique science fiction traditions. Fennell's innovative framework is used to examine Irish science fiction from the 1850s to the present day, covering material written both in Irish and in English. Considering science fiction novels and short stories in their historical context, Irish Science Fiction analyses a body of literature that has largely been ignored by Irish literature researchers. This is the first book to focus exclusively on Irish science fiction, and the first to consider Irish-language stories and novels alongside works published in English.
An important and groundbreaking book ... it introduced me to a whole body of writing about which – after 40 years in the field – I knew next to nothing, and made me want to search out and read much of it. I imagine most readers will feel the same way, and will, as do I, feel gratitude to the author for guiding us to and through the heretofore terra incognita of Irish science fiction.
Irish Science Fiction is a timely study in more ways than one. A chronological examination of two centuries of Irish sf, it is a groundbreaking and long-overdue work, coming in the wake of much recent interest in other “national” sf traditions (Ukrainian, Italian, and Israeli, among others). Covering texts in both English and Irish Gaelic, the book is both an analysis of a surprisingly diverse selection of Irish literature and an important injection of sf into the field of Irish literary studies.
Conor Reid, Science Fiction Studies
The widely cast net of theoretical argumentation, the constant change of focus, and the vivacity of style all make Irish Science Fiction a particularly rewarding read.
Australasian Journal of Irish Studies