Green fire and the legacy of the dragon: Science fiction, fantasy and cultural ideology

Date of Completion

January 1992


Literature, American|Literature, English




This dissertation investigates the changes in science fiction and fantasy from 1967 onwards, showing that effective and radical changes in the ambient culture are reflected in the fiction written by younger authors from that date to the present. Toward this end, after a critical introduction that establishes the study within science fiction and fantasy research generally, Chapter I sets out the academic importance of studying science fiction and fantasy as a cultural phenomenon that happens to be a literary movement. Chapter II isolates those areas upon which the genres draw, science and religion, and shows the ideological nature of those "megatextual" fields. Chapter III relates all such ideas to their mythic bases and hence to their nature as metaphoric operatives within a given cultural circumstance. Chapter IV establishes the paradigms each genre generates: the technologic for science fiction, and the ecologic for fantasy. Chapters V and VI focus on specific examples of each genre to clarify the generalizations made in the first four chapters. For science fiction, texts by Heinlein, LeGuin, and Tobias are used; for fantasy, Tolkien, Beagle, and LeGuin. The final chapter, Chapter VII, discusses the need these fictions satisfy, psychologically and morally, in their readers. ^