The satanic in science fiction and fantasy

Dalton, Adam James ORCID logoORCID: (2020) The satanic in science fiction and fantasy. Barbini, Francesca T, ed. Luna Press Publishing, Edinburgh. pbk-ISBN 9781913387044, e-ISBN 9781913387051. [Book]

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As long as literature has existed, so has the motif of the ‘Dark Lord’. However, it was not until the emergence of science fiction and fantasy (SFF) as distinct literary genres that the Dark Lord truly became enshrined in popular works. From Bram Stoker’s Dracula, to Tolkien’s Sauron, to Donaldson’s Lord Foul, to Lucas’s Darth Vader, the Dark Lord was ever present in SFF. Sometimes he was a mad god, an evil emperor, or even an evil corporation, but always there was that malign intelligence seeking to thwart the goody-goody Chosen One, particularly in the works of the 1980s and 90s. He had servants in the form of demon armies, alien invaders or intelligent machines, seeking to drag the unwary into the underworld, to conquer us or to make humanity entirely extinct.

Come the new millennium, and the emergence of subgenres like ‘grimdark fantasy’ and ‘dystopian YA’, we tend to see everything in shades of grey far more. We still have invading hordes, be they zombies or Dothraki, but they are mindless disease-carriers and immigrants-with-a-cause rather than out-and-out followers of Satan. Our sense of evil has perhaps changed. We seem to understand that ‘evil’ is really a matter of perspective. And what has become of the Dark Lord himself? Well, he is now the star of TV series such as Lucifer (2016) or Dracula (2013). Has he actually changed from anti-hero into hero? Has he won in some way? Or do we now recognise ourselves in him? Were we really fighting against ourselves all along?

This book considers the early literary origins of the character of Satan and his embodiment within SFF, in order
to show how our idea of evil has changed over time. To do so, this study will to identify how SFF has shifted since its
early days, to suggest the trends which are yet to emerge and, perhaps, to help us better understand ourselves. [A J Dalton, Lecturer, Middlesex University]

Item Type: Book
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Media > English Language and Literature
Item ID: 28154
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Adam Dalton
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2019 11:21
Last Modified: 11 May 2022 21:12

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