In the aftermath of World War II, American science fiction frequently turned to the trope of the autonomous nuclear family homesteading the cosmos in their own little space ship. This particular depiction of family reflects an ideology of frontier nostalgia, but it also almost inevitably conflates fatherly patriarchal authority with the strictures of naval discipline, providing an unsettling note of authoritarian tyranny in a genre intended to reinforce ideologies of “togetherness” and the comfortable “natural” order of familial authority. Analyses of Robert Heinlein’s The Rolling Stones, TV series Lost in Space and Star Trek, Becky Chambers’s The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, Disney’s Miles from Tomorrowland, and the graphic novel series Saga trace the decline of the “retrospective utopian” patriarchal family model and counterbalance it with the emergence of new, more flexible family authority structures appropriate to the twenty-first century.

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