• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Witty and accessible, Popular Culture Genres is a fascinating study of genres and genre criticism. Author Arthur Asa Berger empowers readers to make their own analysis by providing the methods and examples of good criticism. Part I deals with genres from a critical perspective, asking questions such as: How do the conventions of different genres affect the creation and production of texts and the audiences of those texts? Do certain genres have significant social and political implications? And, how do genres evolve? Part II takes a look at five “classic” popular texts (in both their novel and film versions). Viewing these works in the context of their respective genres is not only instructive in nature but captivating reading as well.

War of the Worlds
War of the worlds

In this chapter I analyze one of the recognized classics of science fiction, War of the Worlds. I also deal with the nature of the genre, with the significance of aliens in the public mind, with Susan Sontag's (1965) well-known essay on the formulaic aspects of science fiction (it is reprinted in many anthologies on the subject), and with the radio dramatization of the novel by Orson Welles, which led to a huge panic in America.

War of the Worlds: A Synopsis

Strange metallic cylindrical vehicles from Mars suddenly land on the earth, in England. They are inhabited by Martians, beings that, it turns out, have evolved much further than humans and are essentially nonhumanoid. In Mars they developed to ...

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