Movie Genres: Sci-Fi–Attributes, Decade Approach; Select Biblio

Nov 10, 2022

Select Biblio:

Atkins, Thomas.  Science Fiction Films, Scribner’s 1976.

Edelson, Edward.  Visions of Tomorrow. Doubleday, 1975.

Menvville, Douglas and R. reginald. things to Come. Times Books, 1977.

Sobchak, Vivian. The Limits of Infinity: The American Science-Fiction Film.

Telotte, J.P. Replications: A Robotic History of the Sci-Fi Film


The standard motif of dehumanization.

Mixed attitude toward depersonalization.

Traits of the savior-hero

Ascendancy of reason over feeling

Idealization of teamwork

Consensus-creating activities of science

Moral simplification

Sci-fi films invite the audience to “catalogue” our culture’s major anxieties (race, gender, sexuality).

but the genre also incorporates the latest possibilities of artifice through the latest technological possibilities.

Sci-fi intensifies the universal anxiety of death:

Threat not only of individual death (universal fact of life), but anxiety about collective death by incineration and extinction, which could come at any time, any place, without any warning.

Sci-Fi in 1950s

The decade of the 1950s, more than any other, was the golden age of the sci-fi films, ranging from “Destination Moon” in 1950 to “Have Rocket, Will Travel” in 1959, though very few of them dealt with the real and menacing problem of that era: the danger of nuclear and atomic war.

Sci-fi of the 1950s were long on imagination, but short on technical effects.

They were scary, but funny too.

2001: poetic vision


Sci Fi 1970s

Sci fi, like comedy, historical biopics, and other genres represent desire for authoritative guidance in a culture lost in the anxieties and complications of the era.

Star Wars: witty innocence

Example: hero of Close Encounters of the Third Kind