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Twenty-First-Century Popular Fiction

Edited by Bernice M. Murphy, Stephen Matterson

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Provides a unique snapshot of themes and trends within popular fiction in the twenty-first century

This groundbreaking collection captures the state of popular fiction in present day. It features twenty new essays on key authors associated with a wide range of genres and sub-genres, providing chapter-length discussions of major post-2000 works of contemporary popular fiction. The lively, accessible and academically rigorous essays presented here cover a wider range of established popular fiction genres such as fantasy, horror and the romance, as well as more niche areas such as Domestic Noir, Steampunk, the New Weird, Nordic Noir and Zombie Lit. The collection will primarily appeal to undergraduate and postgraduate students but general readers may also find the focus on many of today’s most prominent and influential authors to be of interest.

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Introduction: ‘Changing the story’: Popular Fiction oday, Bernice M. Murphy and Stephen Matterson
1. Larry McMurtry’s Vanishing Breeds, Stephen Matterson
2. ‘Time to Open the Door’: Stephen King’s Legacy, Rebecca Janicker
3. Terry Pratchett: Mostly Human, Jim Shanahan
4. From Westeros to HBO: George R.R. Martin and the Mainstreaming of Fantasy, Gerard Hynes
5. Nora Roberts: The Power of Love, Jarlath Killeen
6. The King of Stories: Neil Gaiman’s Twenty-first Century Fiction, Tara Prescott
7. Jo Nesbø: Murder in the Folkhemmet, Clare Clarke
8. ‘It’s a trap! Don’t turn the page.’ Metafiction and the Multiverse in the Comics of Grant Morrison, Kate Roddy
9. Panoptic and Synoptic Surveillance in Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games Series, Keith O’Sullivan
10. E. L. James and the Fifty Shades of Grey Phenomenon, Dara Downey
11. Fact, Fiction, Fabrication: The Popular Appeal of Dan Brown’s Global Bestsellers, Ian Kinane
12. ‘I Need to Disillusion You’: J.K. Rowling and Twenty-First-Century Young Adult Fantasy, Kate Harvey
13. Jodi Picoult: Good Grief, Clare Hayes-Brady
14. ‘We Will Have a Happy Marriage If It Kills Him’: Gillian Flynn and the Rise of Domestic Noir, Bernice M. Murphy
15. ‘The Bastard Zone’: China Miéville, Perdido Street Station and the New Weird, Kirsten Tranter
16. Sparkly Vampires and Shimmering Aliens: The Paranormal Romance of Stephanie Meyer, Hannah Priest
17. ‘We needed to get a lot of white collars dirty’: The Apocalypse as Opportunity in Max Brooks’ World War Z., Bernice M. Murphy
18. Genre and Uncertainty in Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad Mysteries, Brian Cliff
19. ‘You Get What You Ask For’: Hugh Howey, SF, and Authorial Agency, Stephen Kenneally
20. Cherie Priest: At the Intersection of History and Technology, Catherine Siemann.

About the Author

Bernice M. Murphy is Lecturer in Popular Literature in the School of English, Trinity College Dublin, and Director of the TCD M.Phil in Popular Literature, which was established in 2005. She has published extensively on topics related to popular fiction and horror and gothic studies. Recent publications include the text book Key Concepts in Contemporary Popular Fiction (Edinburgh University Press, 2017).

Stephen Matterson is Professor of American Literature in the School of English at Trinity College Dublin, and a Fellow of the College. He has published widely on US literature, with emphasis on 20th-century poetry and literature of the mid-19th century. In addition to a series of co-edited collections of essays, his book publications include American Literature: The Essential Glossary (Bloomsbury, 2003), and Melville: Fashioning in Modernity (Bloomsbury, 2015).

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