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    ‘What is the exact nature of the catastrophe?' A cultural history of New Worlds magazine, 1964-70

    Dillon, Thomas Philip (2021) ‘What is the exact nature of the catastrophe?' A cultural history of New Worlds magazine, 1964-70. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    Critical consensus in Science Fiction Studies has identified the sf ‘New Wave’ as the crux of the genre and New Worlds magazine in the 1960s as its instigator. However, to date, only one full length book has been published on the subject in 1983. My thesis conducts an in-depth analysis of New Worlds, which I then set within a rich cultural context. To understand the huge influence of New Worlds on sf (and beyond) I examine how the formal innovation published in the magazine intersected, mirrored, and clashed with dominant and emerging social and cultural forms. The material analysis and its cultural contextualisation demands a mixed methodology. The texts and paratexts of New Worlds are read using the tools developed within Magazine Studies, and these readings are then placed within an extensive and varied context using the flexible methods of Cultural History. I argue that the magazine developed a meta-formal aesthetic that sought to reflect upon and intervene in the shifting social and cultural forms of the decade in which it was produced. I pursue this meta-formal aesthetic in relation to various forms of magazine content and socio-cultural realities including: reader surveys and bureaucracy; shared characters and cybernetics; advertising and consumer capitalism; and design and illustration with avant-garde art. What emerges from this approach is a picture of an innovative community of cultural producers, interacting with each other through the pages and issues of a magazine in order to explore ‘The Nature of the Catastrophe’ (a shared slogan of the group) that was the 1960s. I end by suggesting the further application of my mixed methodology to sf magazines in general and in particular to sf adjacent publications (IT, Omni, Playboy) which would show the complex feedback between the iterative medium of the magazine with the technologically saturated socio-cultural forms of twentieth-century modernity.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2021 14:26
    Last Modified: 21 Oct 2021 14:26


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