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Palumbo, Donald E

Entry updated 3 October 2022. Tagged: Author, Critic.

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(1949-    ) US academic and author, married to the artist Julie Bell in the 1980s, father of the artist David Palumbo; he began to publish sf studies of interest with "Loving That Machine; Or, the Mechanical Egg: Sexual Mechanisms and Metaphors in Science Fiction Films" in The Mechanical God: Machines in Science Fiction (anth 1982) edited by Thomas P Dunn and Richard D Ehrlich. Following from this, Erotic Universe: Sexuality and Fantastic Literature (anth 1986) and Eros in the Mind's Eye: Sexuality and the Fantastic in Art and Film (anth 1986), provide a wide range of examinations of the nature and use of Sex (see Feminism) in both written and visual manifestations of the fantastic; his choice of essays on visual works is perhaps more original.

Palumbo's first full-length study, Chaos Theory, Asimov's Foundations and Robots, and Herbert's Dune: The Fractal Aesthetic of Epic Science Fiction (2002), ambitiously attempts to collate a knowledgeable presentation of chaos theory (see Mathematics) and an analysis of fiction in general – along with the works of Isaac Asimov and Frank Herbert – as essentially shaped by the need to extract order from primordial chaos. This collation is challengeable as science, though it is effective in metaphorical terms, certainly in conjunction with Palumbo's long interest in the monomyth as articulated by Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949). A later study, The Monomyth in American Science Fiction Films: 28 Visions of the Hero's Journey (2014), strenuously advocates the centrality of the Campbellian Journey and Return throughout the worlds of story, as does, less centrally, An Asimov Companion: Characters, Places and Terms in the Robot/Empire/Foundation Metaseries (2016).

Palumbo has worked as a consultant with the publisher McFarland and Company, serving as a series editor [titles not listed below] in that publisher's Critical Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy series. [JC]

see also: Greenwood Press.

Donald Emanuel Palumbo

born Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: 17 January 1949


works as editor


previous versions of this entry

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