Fixing the Future: Examining Social Cycles in Cold War Science Fiction Fix-Up Novels

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Virginia Tech


This thesis examines the relationship between Cold War science fiction fix-up novels and social cycle theory. The study engages with textual, cultural, and comparative analysis to elucidate and analyze links between the fix-up novel format, a cyclical conception of human history, and the Cold War setting of the construction and publication of three SF novels. The objects of this study are three Cold War era fix-up novels with origins in World War II pulp science fiction magazine short stories: The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury, City by Clifford D. Simak, and A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. The project examines these three novels alongside the reflective nature of the fix-up novel format, the authors' interactions with social cycle theory, and the Cold War cultural considerations of ideological instability and the threat of annihilation. By examining these works through the lens of retroactive continuity, social cycle theory, and the Cold War cultural imaginary, this thesis demonstrates the complex interplay between literature, culture, and history, and the ways in which SF authors have used their works to engage with the pressing concerns of their time.



Science fiction, pulp fiction, fix-up, retcon, social cycle theory, Cold War, The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury, City, Clifford D. Simak, A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller Jr.