Sport and Monstrosity in Science Fiction. Thiess, Derek J. (9781800854772). Paperback.

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Sport and Monstrosity in Science Fiction examines fantastic representations of sport in science fiction, both cataloguing this almost entirely unexamined literary tradition and arguing that the reason for its neglect reflects a more widespread social suspicion of the athletic body as monstrous. Combining scholarship of monstrosity with a biopolitically focused philosophy of embodiment, this work plumbs the depths of our abjection of the athletic body and challenges us to reconsider sport as an intersectional space. In this latter endeavour it contradicts the image presented by both the most dystopian films such as Deathrace and Rollerball as well as social criticism of sport that limits its focus to an essentially violent masculinity. The book traces an alternative tradition of sport sf through authors as diverse as Arthur C. Clarke, Steven Barnes, and Joan Slonczewski, exploring the way the intersectional categories of gender, race, and age in these works are negotiated in, for example, a solar wind sailing race or futuristic anti-gravity boxing. These complex athletic bodies display the social mobility that sport allows and challenge us to acknowledge our own monstrously animal bodies and our place in a “cycle of living and dying.”

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