Animation, Modernism, and the Science Fiction Imagination
This chapter surveys the body of science fiction cartoons that appeared in approximate parallel to a burgeoning SF literature during the first years of film and continuing to World War II. It situates this material within the production and exhibition practices of the film industry and links it to modernist aesthetics, emphasizing modernism’s primary concerns with revisioning both the world and the self. It then describes the key memes typically found in these films—space vehicles and space travel, robots and mechanical figures, aliens and alien worlds, and inventions and inventors—while also suggesting the broader impact of the cartoons. Through the comic treatment of these memes, it argues, animation helped to make the SF genre both more familiar and less threatening to a wide audience.
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