Divided Worlds: The Political Interventions of Science Fiction

Andrew Hammond, David Seed

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review


Partly because of the low critical standing of science fiction during the Cold War, its authors could sidestep restrictions on publishing and use the genre as a forum for oppositional commentary. Expanding on the current transnational turn in SF studies, this chapter argues that many SF writings from Western, Eastern and non-aligned countries revealed a remarkably similar set of concerns and approaches between 1945 and 1989. Alongside a critique of authoritarian government were scathing commentaries on the degenerative potential of contemporary technology, particularly in the realms of nuclear weaponry, consumerism, mass entertainment and superpower interventionism. In its commonalities across blocs, this dissident strain of SF transcended the geopolitical divisions of the Cold War and gained international resonance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Cold War Literature
EditorsAndrew Hammond
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)9783030389734
ISBN (Print)9783030389727
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Cold War
  • science fiction
  • geopolitics
  • authoritarianism
  • technology


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