What’s unique in Britain’s case, though, is the way these genres slip and smear into one another. Sci-fi is more often about the past returning to haunt us than about gleaming visions of the future. Horror frequently implicates itself tightly with the British landscape and its eerie, unsettling atmospheres. History invoked via period drama may be scattered with ghostly apparitions. Stories set in the realist present can acquire a mythological underlay. Britain’s self-image as a moated, ‘sceptred isle’ recurs time and again in fascist dystopias and speculative invasions. Class, social inequality and colonialism drive historical and period dramas, from genteel literary adaptations to muddy rural sagas. As I seek to ‘bruise a lane on the grass’ of all this untamed material, in Virginia Woolf’s exquisite phrase, my lens sweeps in a deliberately wide arc, seeking a telemetric folklore of the British Isles.
THE MAGIC BOX, Rob Young (link)