(1967- ) UK academic and author who brings a wide armamentarium of lucidly deposed critical and cultural theory to the study of sf, which he defines – or restricts for his purposes – as becoming a cluster of modalities of strong interest toward the end of the nineteenth century, when "discourses" of modernism and sf begin inchoately to take shape and shape each other (see Identity; Modernism in SF). Science Fiction (2005), his cogently argumentative (and contestable) historical study of the genre, conspicuously begins around 1880, almost the exact point at which Adam Roberts's equally argumentative (and contestable) The History of Science Fiction (2006) becomes dismissively telegraphic.
Luckhurst's visible mastery of the study (and genre) of cultural history is perhaps more definitively on show in The Invention of Telepathy: 1870-1901 (2002), which focuses on a period when a confusion of narratives – from the occult through theatrical spiritualism to scientific speculations later to be dismissed – shaped the Occult Detective tales [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below] characteristic of the era, and gave some sanction to the widespread sf use of Telepathy as a narrative device or shortcut through much of the twentieth century. The Trauma Question (2008) rather ruthlessly tests assumptions and arguments that a cultural Amnesia pervades the history of the West over the past century, suggesting an unwarranted dependence on various forms of trauma theory dating back to Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) and earlier.
A sense of not infrequently transgressive exposure has marked Luckhurst's work from the first. By digging sometimes deeper than the soil extends, he exposes himself to a sense that his insights are too good to be true; but more often than not, his multi-disciplinary plummets into unexplored generic material makes that material glow as though it had only now been properly discovered. He received the IAFA Award for distinguished scholarship in 2008. [JC]
see also: Jules Verne.
born Sidcup, Kent: 26 March 1967
- 'The Angle Between Two Walls': The Fiction of J G Ballard (Liverpool, England: Liverpool University Press, 1997) [nonfiction: J G Ballard: hb/from Yves Tanguy]
- The Invention of Telepathy: 1870-1901 (Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 2002) [nonfiction: Telepathy: hb/Vearncomb, "Spirit Photograph"]
- Science Fiction (Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: Polity Press, 2005) [nonfiction: pb/from Eduardo Paolozzi]
- The Trauma Question (London: Routledge, 2008) [nonfiction: Amnesia: hb/uncredited]
- The Mummy's Curse: The True Story of a Dark Fantasy (Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 2012) [nonfiction: hb/]
- The Shining (London: British Film Institute/Palgrave, 2014) [nonfiction: Stephen King: hb/]
- Alien (London: British Film Institute/Palgrave, 2014) [nonfiction: chap: Alien: hb/]
- Zombies: A Cultural History (London: Reaktion Books, 2015) [nonfiction: Zombies: pb/]
works as editor (selected)
- Literature and the Contemporary (Sydney, New South Wales: University of Sydney, 1999) with Peter Marks [nonfiction: anth: hb/]
- The Fin de Siècle: A Reader in Cultural History c1880-1900 (Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 2000) with Sally Ledger [nonfiction: anth: hb/]
- Transactions and Encounters: Science and Culture in the Nineteenth Century (Manchester, England: Manchester University Press, 2002) with Josephine McDonagh [nonfiction: anth: hb/]
- Late Victorian Gothic Tales (Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford World's Classics, 2005) [anth: hb/]
- Robert Louis Stevenson. Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford World's Classics, 2005) [edited with introduction: hb/]
- Bram Stoker. Dracula (Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford World's Classics, 2011) [edited with introduction: hb/]
- Marginal Sciences and Occult Sciences (London: Chatto and Pickering, 2012) with Justin Sausman [nonfiction: anth: hb/]
- W T Stead: Newspaper Revolutionary (London: British Library Press, 2012) with Laurel Brake [nonfiction: anth: W T Stead: hb/]
- H P Lovecraft. Classic Horror Tales (Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford World's Classics, 2011) [coll: edited with introduction: hb/]
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