The volume ranges over the entire history of English literature, including oral narrative tradition, Anglo-Saxon poetry, medieval romance, Renaissance poetics, 19th-century adventure stories, modern art, and contemporary fantasy. Each chapter is written by an expert contributor who demonstrates Tolkien's relation to an earlier literary movement and examines the literary resonances of his works from a variety of informed perspectives. By grounding Tolkien's writings within the larger canon of literature, the book argues that his works actually fall within the mainstream literary tradition.
The volume looks at the simple picture books and comic books that appeal to small children; the formulaic adventures that fascinate older children; the films and television programs that are watched by children and young adolescents; the music videos and programming that appeal to young adults; and the popular novels that interest older readers. Included are discussions of Superman, the Hardy Boys, Star Trek, science fiction films, and music videos. The book points to similarities among popular culture, science fiction, and children's literature and demonstrates the relevance of these works to contemporary society.
This book examines a variety of work from the transrealist perspective, something that has not been done previously. It emphasizes the texts of Philip K. Dick and Rucker himself, while it additionally engages the texts of such slipstream writers as Kurt Vonnegut, J.G. Ballard, and John Barth. It places its argument against the antihumanist trend in science fiction and builds comparisons with more traditional varieties of science fiction works.