Category Archives: Science Fiction Nonfiction

Le Guin, NO TIME TO SPARE

Ursula K. Le Guin, NO TIME TO SPARE: Thinking About What Matters (2017) This book is a collection of the best blog posts Le Guin did on her site at http://www.ursulakleguin.com/, from 2010 until her death in early 2018. It … Continue reading

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Kingsley Amis, NEW MAPS OF HELL

Next in my series of reading nonfiction books about science fiction, proceeding in roughly chronological order, is this short book of six essays, originally presented as lectures at Princeton in 1959 and collected into book form in 1960. It’s by … Continue reading

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de Camp & de Camp, SCIENCE FICTION HANDBOOK, REVISED

Subtitled: “How to Write and Sell Imaginative Stories” This is more of a curiosity now, than an essential book of criticism or history, though it does reveal some attitudes of its time. I have a 1975 revision, show here, of … Continue reading

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James Blish’s ISSUES AT HAND

James Blish, a science fiction author who emerged in roughly the same era as Damon Knight (they were born a year apart in 1920 and 1921 and both began publishing notable fiction in the early 1950s), wrote critical essays about … Continue reading

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Damon Knight, IN SEARCH OF WONDER 3/e

Damon Knight was perhaps the earliest knowledgeable critic of science fiction. He was a science fiction author himself, beginning in 1948, and is most famous for a couple early short stories, “Not with a Bang” (1950) and “To Serve Man” … Continue reading

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SFNF: Bretnor, Modern Science Fiction

Reginald Bretnor’s 1953 Modern Science Fiction: Its Meaning and Future is one of the earliest critical volumes about SF. If follows Lloyd Arthur Eshbach’s 1947 OF WORLDS BEYOND (summarized here) and precedes the anonymously-edited 1959 volume THE SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL … Continue reading

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SFNF: Heinlein addenda from The Science Fiction Novel

Addenda to previous post. Every time I write up notes based on my reading, something else lingers in the back of my mind that seems especially significant a day or two later. Here’s a couple from the Heinlein essay in … Continue reading

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SFNF: The Science Fiction Novel

The Science Fiction Novel: Imagination and Social Criticism is, like Of Worlds Beyond, another slim volume of essays. It was published by Advent (http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/advent_publishers, stylized as Advent:Publishers), like Fantasy Press an SF small press, that specialized in critical and bibliographical … Continue reading

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SFNF: Eshbach, Of Worlds Beyond

I’m revisiting some classic critical nonfiction books about science fiction, beginning with Lloyd Arthur Eshbach’s OF WORLDS BEYOND, a collection of essays by Heinlein, Campbell, Williamson, and others. This is the book where Heinlein identifies 3 basic plots and his … Continue reading

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Gary K. Wolfe, How Great Science Fiction Works

This is a course released by The Great Courses (http://www.thegreatcourses.com/) in early 2016. The course consists of audio or video downloads or discs (as lead Locus reviewer Gary K. Wolfe delivers lectures on a set), and comes with a 200-page … Continue reading

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