My monograph on Norman Jewison’s 1975 dystopian science fiction film, Rollerball, something I have been working on for the last couple of years, now has a cover and will soon be in the world via Constellations imprint of the independent film and media studies publisher, Auteur.
This is the first semi-academic publication I have written and I am excited but also a little nervous about how it is going to be received.
Rollerball depicts a future dominated by anonymous corporations and their executive elite, in which all individual effort and aggressive emotions are subsumed into a horrifically violent global sport, remains critically overlooked. What little has been written deals mainly with its place within the renaissance of Anglo-American science fiction cinema in the 1970s, or focuses on the elaborately shot, still visceral to watch, game sequences, so realistic they briefly gave rise to speculation Rollerball may become an actual sport.
Drawing on numerous sources, including little examined documents in the archive of the film’s screenwriter William Harrison,the book examines the many dimensions of Rollerball’s making and reception: the way it simultaneously exhibits the aesthetics and narrative tropes of mainstream action and art-house cinema; the elaborate and painstaking process of world creation undertaken by Jewison and Harrison; and the cultural forces and debates that influenced them, including the increasing corporate power and growing violence in Western society in late 1960s and early 1970s. I also show how a film derided by many critics for its violence, works as a sophisticated and disturbing portrayal of a dystopian future that anticipates numerous contemporary concerns, including “fake news” and declining literary and historical memory. The book includes an interview with Jewison on Rollerball’s influences, making, and reception.
Folk in America can pre-order it, and a number of other fantastic monographs on SF and horror film, here at the Columbia University Press site. People in the UK can pre-order it at Amazon here. And I have seen it being offered at numerous other online sites. Australian friends may have to wait a little long until the boom is available, but I will update this site with details about other pre-order options as I have them.
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