Gothic Science Fiction: 1818 to the Present

Palgrave Gothic 2015

Gothic Science Fiction is a comprehensive account of the rise of a fascinating genre that has grown out of the Gothic. From the dark and mysterious world of mad scientists to the horrors and terrors associated with monsters and aliens, Sian MacArthur takes the reader through a madcap journey to identify those features of the Gothic that have influenced and continue to influence the world of science fiction. From Frankenstein to Doctor Who and from H. G. Wells to Stephen King the book explores several aspects beginning with Mary Shelley and bringing the subject matter right up to date with the inclusion of work by Justin Cronin and Daniel Wilson. Gothic Science Fiction gives the crazy and always interesting world of science fiction detailed attention in an account that is both accessible and engaging.

Crime and the Gothic: Identifying the Gothic Footprint in Modern Crime Fiction

Libri 2011

Crime fiction is the most popular fictional genre of the 21st century. In Crime and the Gothic Sian MacArthur explores the ways in which writers of this genre take and adapt features of traditional Gothic fiction and incorporate them into their own crime fiction texts.

Kathy Reichs, Patricia Cornwell, Tess Gerritsen, Karin Slaughter, Dan Brown and Ian Rankin all regularly top best-seller lists around the world. Within an over-populated genre such as crime fiction it is only those writers who manage to bring fresh ideas to the table that will make it. Reichs offers an anthropological background, Cornwell a forensic one and Dan Brown has created a religious symbol and icon expert in the form of Professor Robert Langdon. Gerritsen’s investigations often begin in the ER room and Slaughter has reinvented the sidekick formula of the earliest detective fiction of Conan-Doyle and Poe in the husband and wife team Sara Linton and Jeff Tolliver.

In the quest for originality what is constant is the almost unwavering reliance upon traditional Gothic motifs that each of these writers demonstrate. Gerritsen’s tales of organ harvest can be seen as a modern re-working of Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) and Dan Brown’s stories of mad and corrupt religious authorities can be read as a modern version of Lewis’ The Monk. Similarly much of Cornwell’s criticism stems from her seeming inability to draw her characters and plots away from melodrama and Gothic excess.

It is this use of Gothic convention – and the understanding of why such a dynamic and modern genre should appear so reliant upon such a seemingly dated form that Crime and the Gothic explores. Sian MacArthur uses detailed reference and analysis of some of the most successful crime fiction to explore just how this debt to the Gothic manifests itself in crime writing of the 21st century.