1. Beaumont, Matthew. “Red Sphinx: Mechanics of the Uncanny in “The Time Machine”” Science Fiction Studies 33.2 (2006): 230-50. JSTOR. Web. 05 Nov. 2014. .
This piece explores the idea that the “estrangement effect generated by science fiction can be especially unsettling” by suggesting that not only are things going to be different at some distant future time, but that there already exists something that is different (230). Beaumont goes on to investigate Freud’s concept of the uncanny as is appears in H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine. Quoting Freud extensively and employing verbiage like Heimlich and unheimlich Beaumont exhibits the uncanny as a literary trope within the novel. He discusses in detail the modes of estrangement that play a role in the uncanny, and also involved “the obtrusion of the unconscious into conscious existence” which I plan on developing in my final paper.
I intend on using this article as a spring board to further my research in the uncanny as a literary trope in Victorian novels, which I then plan to focus on further to extend to Victorian SF.
2. Bowen, Roger. “Science, Myth, and Fiction in H.G. Wells’s”Island of Doctor Moreau”” Studies in the Novel 8.3 (1976): 318-35. JSTOR. Web. 17 Nov. 2014. .
Bowen argues that The Island of Doctor Moreau is different than the rest of Wells’ novels because it doesn’t “allow the reader to get and keep his bearings” (319). In this case, it means that it leaves the entire world of Moreau’s to the mind of the reader, which can in turn create an especially terrifying setting. Bowen discusses Darwinism and it’s influence on the Victorian mind in the time period of Wells, which I plan on expounding to support my argument that the uncanny exists in Moreau because of the defamiliarizing of the familiar. Again, this will support my thesis that the uncanny is socially relevant. For example, Bowen also states that “there is no need to travel in time to find the appalling truth of man’s condition” (319), which, although not explicitly stated by Bowen, could be interpreted from the lens of the uncanny. Bowen also elaborates on change and metamorphosis as central points in Moreau, as well as why the novel is believable in some way (because on an island anything can happen).
3. Brantlinger, Patrick. “The Gothic Origins of Science Fiction.” NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction 14.1 (1980): 30-43. JSTOR. Web. 17 Nov. 2014. .
Brantlinger discusses science fiction as a genre more generally, and argues that “if science fiction could become a form of realistic prophecy . . . it would excel [fiction] in social relevance” (30). This text will be very helpful in building an argument to support my thesis, that science fiction, specifically Wells’, is uncanny because it is socially relevant. Brantlinger briefly discusses The Time Machine as an “apocalyptic myth” (31). Brantlinger cites Wells himself (34) stating that science fiction grew out of the gothic in that it simply made the fantastic commentaries up to date.
I intend on using this source to build the foundation of science fiction as genre, and by drawing brief parallels between the gothic and science fiction in order to highlight the uncanny in SF. I do not intend to focus on the gothic for long, but rather as somewhat of an aside.
4. Freud, Sigmund, David McLintock, and Hugh Haughton. The Uncanny. New York: Penguin, 2003. Print.
This text, written by Sigmund Freud, will be the underpinning of most of my argument. I intend on returning regularly to this text as I plan on suggesting that the uncanny as Freud describes is a common literary trope in H.G. Wells’ late Victorian, science fiction texts. Freud describes the uncanny as “undoubtedly [belonging] to all that is terrible—to al that arouses dread and creeping horror” (1) and distinguishes it from the feeling of fear which is much more evident of an emotion. He states explicitly that “the ‘uncanny’ is that class of the terrifying which leads back to something long known to us, once very familiar” (1-2).
I intend on using this definition in order to apply the uncanny to Wells’ novellas The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, and War of the Worlds.
5. Gailor, Denis. “”Wells’s War of the Worlds”, the ‘Invasion Story’ and Victorian Moralism.” Critical Survey 8.3 (1996): 270-76.JSTOR. Web. 17 Nov. 2014. .
This article studies the rise of the invasion story in certain historical contexts and in relation to Victorian moralism. For my research I will be focusing on the discussion around H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds regarding xenophobic tendencies towards potential German invaders and the threat they had on London during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Gailor quotes Wells’ statement in the epilogue of War of the Worlds, when he states that the invasion “makes it clear that it will ‘do the English good’ to have undergone an invasion” (272). This is inherently uncanny, because presumably folks reading the novel will draw unconscious parallels between the novel and fear of German invasion and I hope to unwrap that in my final.
6. Hienger, Jörg. “The Uncanny and Science Fiction (L’Inquiétante étrangeté Et La Science-fiction).” Science Fiction Studies 6.2 (1979): 144-52. JSTOR. Web. 17 Nov. 2014. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/4239246>.
This article discusses the nature of the uncanny as it appears in science fiction tales–
specifically Hienger states that the supernatural within SF is “outside and not above all reason”
and “is easily achieved when the fantastic event restores faith in prescientific attitudes banished by rational people to the realm of superstition” (144). Hienger also discusses SF as something that argues that something unusual is possible. This unusual thing doesn’t have to be an actual event, but rather a frame of mind, or something of that sort (145). In short, it threatens reason. His final point is that uncanniness can only be present in SF so long as it is dispelled in the end, and if it is not, it becomes horror.
I intend on using this article as part of my main argument about the existence of the uncanny within science fiction, which will then gloss over into the realm of Victorian SF.
7. Lydenberg, Robin. “Freud’s Uncanny Narratives.” PMLA 112.5 (1997): 1072-086. JSTOR. Web. 17 Nov. 2014. .
Lyndenberg studies Freud’s uncanny as being useful in “contemporary theories of narrative” and “the importance of his work to an understanding . . . of the more general relation between literature and psychoanalysis” (1072). For my purposes, I will be focusing on the latter argument and applying those to H.G. Wells’ novels The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds, and The Island of Doctor Moreau. Lyndenberg states that “narrative can provide no stable resting place” (1083) and readers are consumer of a story, we don’t have control over what happens in the narrative. This fact leaves a text up to interpretation, which in turn can make it uncanny. I intend on using this point in order to drive further my thesis that Victorian SF is uncanny because of the supposed inevitability of it– or of the heimlich becoming unheimlich.
8. Stupple, James. “SCIENCE FICTION: A Literature Against the Future.” The American Scholar 46.2 (1977): 215-20. JSTOR. Web. 19 Nov. 2014. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/41207481>.
Stupple focuses his entire work on why Science Fiction is “incompetent to deal with the future” and is not “important . . . because it has the unique ability to extrapolate, to anticipate and predict the future” (216). This text, in a way, acts as a counter argument to my own because of Stupple’s belief that SF has no relation to the way the world functions and will function. If Stupple is right, my thesis that the uncanny is important in SF because it reflects society and fears for the future, would be disproven. Stupple makes several arguments about the fear of the future that SF suggests and seems to support, describing the genre as a “seductive, mystifying blend of fantasy and metaphysics” and states “it is hopelessly xenophobic–truly against the future” (220). I intend on agreeing with some of Stupples arguments but refuting others, perhaps by arguing that the fear of the future is what makes SF relevant, and this is where the uncanny comes in to play.