Science Fiction – A Very Short Introduction
Frankenstein, The Time Machine, Star Trek, Dune, 1984, Blade Runner – science fiction has been explained as a combination of romance, science, and prophecy; as a genre based on an imagined alternative to the reader’s environment; and as a form of fantastic fiction and historical literature. It has also been argued that science fiction narratives are the most engaged, socially relevant, and responsive to the modern technological environment. In this Very Short Introduction, David Seed doesn’t offer a history of science fiction, but instead attempts to tie examples of science fiction to different historical moments, in order to demonstrate how science fiction has evolved over time, especially the emergence of science fiction as a popular genre in the 20th century. Seed looks not only at literature, but also at drama and poetry, as well as film. Examining recurrent themes in science fiction, he looks at voyages into space, the concept of the alien and alternative social identities, the role of technology in science fiction, and its relation to time – in the past, present, and future.
2. The Habsburg Empire: A Very Short Introduction
The Habsburgs are the most famous dynasty in continental Europe. From the thirteenth to the twentieth centuries, they ruled much of Central Europe, and for two centuries were also rulers of Spain. Through the Spanish connection, they acquired lands around the Mediterranean and a chunk of the New World, spreading eastwards to include the Philippines. Reaching from South-East Asia to what is now Ukraine, the Habsburg Empire was truly global.
In this Very Short Introduction Martin Rady looks at the history of the Habsburgs, from their tenth-century origins in Switzerland, to the dissolution of the Habsburg Empire in 1918. He introduces the pantheon of Habsburg rulers, which included adventurers, lunatics, and at least one monarch who was so malformed that his true portrait could never be exhibited. He also discusses the lands and kingdoms that made up the Habsburg Empire, and the decisive moments that shaped their history. Dynasty, Europe, global power, and the idea of the multi-national state all converge on the history of the Habsburg Empire. Martin Rady shows how.