This book charts the dimensions of one of the most popular genres in the cinema. From lurid comic-book blockbusters to dark dystopian visions, science fiction is seen as both a powerful cultural barometer of our times and the product of particular industrial and commercial frameworks. The authors outline the major themes of the genre, from representations of the mad scientist and computer hacker to the relationship between science fiction and postmodernism, exploring issues such as the meaning of special effects and the influence of science fiction cinema on the entertainment media of the digital age. Over one hundred films are discussed and the book concludes with an extensive case study of "Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace."