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small press reviews Gender and the Quest in British Science Fiction Television  by Tom Powers

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McFarland Books mcfarlandbooks.com

n Gender and the Quest in British Science Fiction Television, Tom Powers examines Doctor Who, Torchwood, Red Dwarf, and Blake’s 7. As the book’s title suggests, in addition to genre, one thing Powers sees as the common thread shared by the programs in question is that their heroes’ various journeys of self-discovery have as much to do with their sense of gender identity as they do with defeating threats from the near and far reaches of the universe. While a working knowledge of social theorists like Pierre Bourdieu and Michel de Certeau will certainly help readers make their way through Gender and the Quest, Powers is at pains to explain key concepts clearly and succinctly throughout his analysis. Additionally, his own apparent love for the programs in question does not blind Powers to the fact that many of his readers may not be overly familiar with the more obscure elements of the programs in question, particularly with respect to Blake’s 7 and Red Dwarf. Indeed, Powers comes off as most engaged with his material when he’s guiding readers through key moments of each show’s history, both onscreen and behind the scenes. All told, Gender and the Quest is a thoughtful examination of the ways in which individuals and systems interact with each other to bring about change that applies not only to television but to society writ large. Ultimately, we are all simultaneously producers and consumers of culture in one way or another, Powers suggests, and in our roles as both, we shape the world we live in—even if we do so at a glacial pace. —Marc Schuster, www.smallpressreviews.wordpress.com Shelf Unbound Contributing Editor Marc Schuster is the author of The Grievers, The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom and Party Girl, Don DeLillo, Jean Baudrillard, and the Consumer Conundrum, and, with Tom Powers, The Greatest Show in the Galaxy: The Discerning Fan’s Guide to Doctor Who. He is the editor of Small Press Reviews, and his work has appeared in numerous magazines and journals. Marc teaches writing and literature courses at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.

128 F E B R U A R Y / M A R C H

2017


Shelf Unbound February-March 2017