From its beginnings in the works of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne to the virtual worlds of William Gibson's Neuromancer and The Matrix, Science Fiction: A Guide to the Perplexed helps students navigate the often perplexing worlds of a perennially popular genre. Drawing on literature as well as example from film and television, the book explores the different answers that criticism has offered to the vexed question, 'what is science fiction?'Each chapter of the book includes case studies of key texts, annotated guides to further reading and suggestions for class discussion to help students master the full range of contemporary critical approaches to the field, including the scientific, technological and political contexts in which the genre has flourished. Ranging from an understanding of the genre through the stereotypes of 1930s pulps through more recent claims that we are living in a science fictional moment, this volume will provide a comprehensive overview of this diverse and fascinating genre.