The world as we know it is over. Man’s reign on earth has come to an end, and the reign of the animals has begun. The indifferently wise Cyrus Golden the Lion rules the three-city state that is now what remains of Europe. Yet, other forces stir while the king of beasts sleeps—the last struggling human resistance, the Atlanteans with their mysterious undersea plans; the factions of Badger, Fox and Lynx within the empire itself; and, in the jungles across the ocean, a ceramic form of postbiological life. Welcome to the setting of Dietmar Dath’s futuristic novel, The Abolition of Species, presenting an imaginative and highly original take on the decline and rebirth of civilization.
Cyrus the Lion sends the wolf Dmitri Stepanovich on a diplomatic mission, and in the course of his journey he discovers truths about natural history, war, and politics for which he was unprepared. The subsequent war that breaks out in The Abolition of Species will come to span three planets and thousands of years—encompassing treachery and massacres, music and mathematics, savagery and decadence, as well as the terraformation of Mars and Venus and the manipulation of time itself. By turns grandiose, horrific, erotic, scathing, and visionary, The Abolition of Species is a tale of love and war after the fall of man and an epic meditation on the theory of evolution unlike any other.
One of Germany’s most celebrated contemporary writers, Dath has distinguished himself through works that deftly combine popular culture—particularly music—with left-wing politics and the fantastic. The Abolition of Species embodies the best of what Dath is known for and will cement his reputation among English readers excited to discover one of the freshest voices in contemporary literature.
How and when does there come to be an “anthropology of the alien?” This set of essays, written for the eighth J. Lloyd Eaton Conference on Fantasy and Science Fiction, is concerned with the significance of that question. “[Anthropology] is the science that must designate the alien ifit is to redefine a place for itself in the universe,” according to the Introduction.
The idea of the alien is not new. In the Renaissance, Montaigne’s purpose in describing an alien encounter was excorporation—mankind was the “savage” because the artificial devices of nature controlled him. Shakespeare’s version of the alien encounter was incorporation; his character of Caliban is brought to the artificial, political world of man and incorporated into the body politic
“The essays in this volume . . . show, in their general orientation, that the tribe of
Shakespeare still, in literary studies at least, outnumbers that of Montaigne.” These essays show the interrelation of the excorporating possibilities to the internal soundings of the alien encounter within the human mind and form.
This book is divided into three parts: “Searchings: The Quest for the Alien” includes “The Aliens in Our Mind,” by Larry Niven; “Effing the Ineffable,” by Gregory Benford; “Border Patrols,” by Michael Beehler; “Alien Aliens,” by Pascal Ducommun; and “Metamorphoses of the Dragon,” by George E. Slusser.
“Sightings: The Aliens among Us” includes “Discriminating among Friends,” by John Huntington; “Sex, Superman, Sociobiology,” by Joseph D. Miller; “Cowboys and Telepaths,” by Eric S. Rabkin; “Robots,” by Noel Perrin; “Aliens in the Supermarket,” by George R. Guffey; and “Aliens ‘R’ U.S.,” by Zoe Sofia.
“Soundings: Man as the Alien” includes “H. G. Wells’ Familiar Aliens,” by John R. Reed; “Inspiration and Possession,” by Clayton Koelb; “Cybernauts in Cyberspace,” by David Porush; “The Human Alien,” by Leighton Brett Cooke; “From Astarte to Barbie,” by Frank McConnell; and “An Indication of Monsters;” by Colin Greenland.
Thirteen original essays written specifically for the second Eaton Conference on Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature, held February 23–24, 1980, at the University of California, Riverside.
These essays demonstrate the variety of fantasy forms and their pervasiveness throughout the ages and will stimulate further study of this complex and elusive mode. The essays—by Harold Bloom, writer and DeVane Professor of the Humanities at Yale University; Larry McCaffery, Assistant Professor of English at San Diego State University; Marta E. Sánchez, Instructor of English at the University of California, San Diego; Arlen J. Hansen, Professor of English at the University of the Pacific, Stockton; David Clayton, Instructor of Comparative Literatureat the University of California, San Diego; Robert Sale, writer and Professor of English at the University of Washington; G. Richard Thompson, Professor of English at Purdue University, West Lafayette; Robert A. Collins, Coordinator of the annual Swann Conference on the Fantastic and Instructor at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton; John Gerlach, Associate Professor of English at Cleveland State University; David Ketterer, writer and Professor of English at Concordia University, Montreal; George R. Guffey, Professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles; Jack P. Rawlins, Associate Professor of English at California State University, Chico; and Gary Kern, writer and translator of early Soviet literature—examine fantasy on many levels of interest: as an element of human thought, as a constant factor in the social and intellectual environment, and as a generator of form in art and literature.
Bridges to Science Fiction
George E Slusser Southern Illinois University Press, 1980 Library of Congress PN3448.S45E2 1979 | Dewey Decimal 809.3876
Ten new critical essays written for presentation at the first Eaton Conference on Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature held 24–25February 1979,at the University of California, Riverside.
While critical discussion of science fiction has become increasingly sophisticated during the past decade, there remains a tendency among some teachers and readers to consider science fiction as an independent phenomenon that exists unconnected to the mainstream of our cultural inheritance. These essays—by Harry Levin, Irving Babbitt Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University; Kent T. Kraft, Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Georgia, Athens; Stephen Potts, writer and instructor at San Diego State University; Gregory Benford, writer and Associate Professor of Physics at the University of California, Irvine; Robert Hunt, an editor at Glencoe Publishing; Eric S. Rabkin, Professor of English at the University of Michigan; Patrick Parrinder, instructor at the University of Reading, England; Thomas Keeling, Lecturer in English at the University of California, Los Angeles; Carl D. Malmgren, instructor at the University of Oregon, Eugene; and Thomas Hanzo, Professor of English and Chairman of the department at the University of California, Davis—suggest the connections that exist between science fiction and other aspects of Western cultural tradition.
Ranging in interest from the specifically philosophical to the specifically literary, the essays relate science fiction to such topics as medieval cosmological discourse, classical empirical philosophy, fairy tale, epic, and Gothic fiction. Emerging from the volume as a whole are both a coherent view of science fiction as a genre and a heightened sense of its complex relation to our cultural heritage.
The Chain of Chance
Stanislaw Lem Northwestern University Press, 2000 Library of Congress PG7158.L39K313 2000 | Dewey Decimal 891.85373
Written in the style of a detective novel, The Chain of Chance is classic Lem: a combination of action, hard science, and philosophical investigation. An ex-astronaut is hired to look into the death of several wealthy businessmen. The authorities suspect a pattern, but neither the police nor a supercomputer enlisted for the investigation can crack the case.
On a trail leading across Europe, the ex-astronaut barely escapes numerous attempts on his life. Having set himself up as a potential victim, he realizes that he may now be the target of a conspiracy--and that the conspiracy is not the work of a criminal mind, but a manifestation of the laws of nature. Certain patterns have begun to emerge from the chaos of modern society. Some of those patterns can be fatal. . .
Las Vegas is considered a modern icon of excess. It offers every imaginable extreme of greed, pleasure, and despair, all supported by technology that enhances fantasy and allows residents and visitors alike to forget reality and responsibility. The authors of the fourteen stories in Dead Neon imagine Sin City in the near future, when excess has led to social, environmental, or economic collapse. Their stories range from futuristic casinos to the seared post-apocalyptic desert, from the struggle to survive in a repressive theocracy to the madness of living in a world where most life forms and all moral codes have vanished. Dead Neon explores the possible future of America by examining the near future of Las Vegas. The authors, all either Vegas-based or intimately familiar with the city, capture its unique rhythms and flavor and probe its potential for evoking the fullest range of the human spirit in settings of magic, horror, and despair.
Morace analyzes the novels of Malcolm Bradbury and David Lodge together because they provide a dialogue of conflicting views, styles, and forms of the contemporary novel. This dialogue parallels the views of these two British novelists as critics.
Beginning as realists, as novelists of manners, as writers of campus novels, Bradbury and Lodge explore the possibilities and the limitations of realistic writing. Bradbury and Lodge, however, are not only heirs of English literary tradition. Both are also literary critics with a keen interest in recent critical theories. Morace shows us how the debate between Bradbury and Lodge over the nature and purpose of fiction and criticism has found its way into their novels. The realistic conflicts between civilian and military, English and American, pre- and post-Vatican II values gradually give way to an exploration of the semiotics behind such conflicts.
Morace finds Bradbury’s and Lodge’s works far more open-ended than the "doggedly indeterminate fictions" of many contemporary writers. Using Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory of dialogism, he identifies the ways in which language and values simultaneously compete with and support one another in their novels.
This first book-length study of Bradbury or Lodge deals with all of their novels, including Changing Places, How Far Can You Go?, and Small World by Lodge, as well as Bradbury’s The History of Man and Rates of Exchange.
Diverse Futures: Science Fiction and Authors of Color examines the contributions of late-twentieth- and twenty-first-century US and Canadian science fiction authors of color. By looking at the intersections among science fiction authors of multiple races and ethnicities, Joy Sanchez-Taylor seeks to explain how these authors of color are juxtaposing tropes of science fiction with specific cultural references to comment on issues of inclusiveness in Eurowestern cultures. The central argument of this work is that these authors are challenging science fiction’s history of Eurocentric representation through the depiction of communities of color in fantastic or futuristic settings, specifically by using cognitive estrangement and the inclusion of non-Eurowestern cultural beliefs and practices to comment on the alienation of racially dominated groups. By exploring science fiction tropes—such as first contact, genetic modification, post-apocalyptic landscapes, and advanced technologies in the works of Octavia E. Butler, Ted Chiang, Sabrina Vourvoulias, and many others—Sanchez-Taylor demonstrates how authors of various races and ethnicities write science fiction that pays homage to the genre while also creating a more diverse and inclusive portrait of the future.
Eugenia: A Fictional Sketch of Future Customs
Eduardo Urzaiz, Edited and translated by Sarah A. Buck Kachaluba and Aaron Dziubinskyj University of Wisconsin Press, 2016 Library of Congress PQ7297.U78E813 2016 | Dewey Decimal 863.62
A little-known gem of utopian/dystopian fiction published in 1919 tells
the story of a eugenically engineered society of the future.
It is the year 2218. In "Villautopia," the capital of a Central American nation, the
state selects young, biologically desirable citizens to act as breeders. Embryos
are implanted in males to increase a flagging population rate, and the offspring
are raised in state facilities until old enough to choose their own, nonnuclear
families. Sterilization of children with mental or physical abnormalities further
ensures the purity of the gene pool.
Written two years before Yevgeny Zamyatin's We and twelve years before
Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, Eugenia recounts the story of Ernesto, who at age twenty-three is selected as a breeder. Celiana, his thirty-eight-year-old lover
and an accomplished scholar, is deemed unfit for reproduction. To cope with
her feelings of guilt and hopelessness, she increasingly turns to marijuana, and
her scholarly productivity declines. Meanwhile Ernesto falls in love with a fellow
breeder, a young woman named Eugenia—but the life they ultimately choose is
not quite what the state had envisioned.
Taking up important challenges of modern society—population growth,
reproductive behavior and technologies, experimentation with gender roles,
and changes in family dynamics—Eugenia is published here in English for the
first time. Sarah A. Buck Kachaluba and Aaron Dziubinskyj provide a critical
apparatus helping readers to understand the novel's literary genesis and genealogy
as well as its historical context. Arising from its twentieth-century origins, yet
remarkably contemporary, Eugenia is a treasure of speculative fiction.
Abram Tertz is the pseudonym of Andrei Sinyavsky, the exile Soviet dissident writer whose works have been compared to fabulists like Kafka and Borges. Tertz's settings are exotic but familiar and as compelling as those of lunatics and mystics. This edition contains the nightmarish "Pkhentz," a story missing from the first English edition.
The Fixed Period
Anthony Trollope University of Michigan Press, 1990 Library of Congress PR5684.F5 1990 | Dewey Decimal 823.8
At a time when concern over the ethics of euthanasia and the implications of a rapidly aging population are frequent topics of discussion, Trollope’s only science fiction novel strikes a very modern chord. The Fixed Period, begun in 1880 when Trollope was 65, is set in the then far-distant year of 1980. The story is narrated by the president of the fictitious Republic of Britannula, an ex-British colony on an imaginary island near New Zealand. The original young settlers, led by their president, adopt a plan called the Fixed Period. Under this plan, the island would be relieved of the burden of an aging population by calling for compulsory euthanasia for citizens reaching the age of 67. Opposition to the plan grows as the time approaches for “depositing” the first citizen in the euthanasia park, and the elderly citizens successfully persuade the British government to send a gunboat armed with a powerful new weapon to reannex the country.
Trollope’s satiric portrayal of the statisticians who calculate the savings to be realized by putting the old people away before they become an expensive catastrophic burden, and the ironic presentation of the narrator’s justification of euthanasia by appeal to Christian practice and doctrine, will delight contemporary readers. Trollope’s strong dislike of government bureaucracy is evident throughout, as is his awareness of the dangers to the world of an imagined weapon of destruction not unlike (in its effect) the atomic bomb.
In making accessible the complete text of this work with corrections from the original manuscript, Super has performed an invaluable service for Trollope scholars and enthusiasts.
"I read Peter Y. Paik’s lucid, graceful, ruthless book in one single astonished sitting. I scarred it all over with arrows and exclamation points, so I can read it again as soon as possible." —Bruce Sterling
Revolutionary narratives in recent science fiction graphic novels and films compel audiences to reflect on the politics and societal ills of the day. Through character and story, science fiction brings theory to life, giving shape to the motivations behind the action as well as to the consequences they produce.
In From Utopia to Apocalypse, Peter Y. Paik shows how science fiction generates intriguing and profound insights into politics. He reveals that the fantasy of putting annihilating omnipotence to beneficial effect underlies the revolutionary projects that have defined the collective upheavals of the modern age. Paik traces how this political theology is expressed, and indeed literalized, in popular superhero fiction, examining works including Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’s graphic novel Watchmen, the science fiction cinema of Jang Joon-Hwan, the manga of Hayao Miyazaki, Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta, and the Matrix trilogy. Superhero fantasies are usually seen as compensations for individual feelings of weakness, victimization, and vulnerability. But Paik presents these fantasies as social constructions concerned with questions of political will and the disintegration of democracy rather than with the psychology of the personal.
What is urgently at stake, Paik argues, is a critique of the limitations and deadlocks of the political imagination. The utopias dreamed of by totalitarianism, which must be imposed through torture, oppression, and mass imprisonment, nevertheless persist in liberal political systems. With this reality looming throughout, Paik demonstrates the uneasy juxtaposition of saintliness and cynically manipulative realpolitik, of torture and the assertion of human dignity, of cruelty and benevolence.
Science fiction goes green? Eric C. Otto explores literary science fiction’s engagement with a central concern of our times: ecological degradation. Situated at the intersection of science fiction studies and environmental philosophy, Green Speculations: Science Fiction and Transformative Environmentalism highlights key works of environmental science fiction that critique various human values for their roles in instigating such degradation.
The books receiving ecocritical treatment in Green Speculations include George R. Stewart’s Earth Abides (1949), Frank Herbert’s Dune (1965), Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Word for World Is Forest (1972), Joan Slonczewski’s A Door into Ocean (1986), Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy (1993, 1994, 1996), and Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl (2009). Otto reads these and other important science fiction novels as educative in their representations of environmental issues and the environmental philosophies that have emerged in response to them.
Green Speculations demonstrates how environmental science fiction can be read not only as reflecting the ideas of environmental philosophies such as deep ecology, ecofeminism, and ecosocialism, but also as instrumental in thinking through the tenets of these philosophies. As such, the book places science fiction at the center of environmentalism and considers the genre to be an essential tool for prompting needed social and cultural transformation.
His Master's Voice
Stanislaw Lem Northwestern University Press, 1999 Library of Congress PG7158.L39G613 1999 | Dewey Decimal 891.85373
Twenty-five hundred scientists have been herded into an isolated site in the Nevada desert. A neutrino message of extraterrestrial origin has been received and the scientists, under the surveillance of the Pentagon, labor on His Master's Voice, the secret program set up to decipher the transmission. Among them is Peter Hogarth, an eminent mathematician. When the project reaches a stalemate, Hogarth pursues clandestine research into the classified TX Effect--another secret breakthrough. But when he discovers, to his horror, that the TX Effect could lead to the construction of a fission bomb, Hogarth decides such knowledge must not be allowed to fall into the hands of the military.
Hybrid Child: A Novel
Mariko Ohara University of Minnesota Press, 2018 Library of Congress PL874.H725H3513 2018 | Dewey Decimal 895.635
A classic of Japanese speculative fiction that blurs the line between consumption and creation when a cyborg assumes the form and spirit of a murdered child
Until he escaped, he had been called “Sample B #3,” but he had never liked this name. That would surprise them—that he could feel one way or another about it. He was designed to reshape himself based on whatever life forms he ingested; he was not made to think, and certainly not to assume the shape of a repair technician whose cells he had sampled and then simply walk out of the secure compound.
Artificial Intelligence is all too real in this classic of Japanese science fiction by Mariko Ohara. Jonah, a child murdered by her mother, has become the spirit of an AI-controlled house where the rogue cyborg once known as Sample B #3 takes refuge and, making a meal of the dead girl buried under the house, takes Jonah’s form. On faraway Planet Caritas, an outpost of human civilization, the female AI system that governs society has become insane. Meanwhile, the threat of the Adiaptron Empire, the machine race that #3 was built to fight, remains.
With the familiar strangeness of a fairy tale, Ohara’s novel traverses the mysterious distance between body and mind, between the mechanics of life and the ghost in the machine, between the infinitesimal and infinity. The child as mother, the mother as monster, the monster as hero: this shape-shifting story of nourishment, nurture, and parturition is a rare feminist work of speculative fiction and received the prestigious Seiun (Nebula) Award in 1991. Hybrid Child is the first English translation of a major work of science fiction by a female Japanese author.
These 17 essays from the seventh annual J. Lloyd Eaton Conference examine the relationship between fantasy and science fiction.
They propose that fantasy and science fiction are not isolated commercial literary forms, but instead are literary forms worthy of the recognition reserved for traditional literature. Discussion of genre identification ranges from the standard forms of literary criticism embodied in Aristotle’s mimesis and poesis to innovative and possibly controversial points of view such as a theory of humor, a philosophy of time, and a detailed analysis of Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat.
The essays provide not only a detailed study of literary elements but also the historical treatment of the material, its commercial use, and its relationship to similar literary forms such as the gothic tale and horror fiction. While few of the essayists agree with one another, they all contribute creative insights to the debate.
Jad Smith University of Illinois Press, 2012 Library of Congress PR6052.R8Z87 2012 | Dewey Decimal 823.914
Under his own name and numerous pseudonyms, John Brunner (1934–1995) was one of the most prolific and influential science fiction authors of the late twentieth century. During his exemplary career, the British author wrote with a stamina matched by only a few other great science fiction writers and with a literary quality of even fewer, importing modernist techniques into his novels and stories and probing every major theme of his generation: robotics, racism, drugs, space exploration, technological warfare, and ecology.
In this first intensive review of Brunner's life and works, Jad Smith carefully demonstrates how Brunner's much-neglected early fiction laid the foundation for his classic Stand on Zanzibar and other major works such as The Jagged Orbit, The Sheep Look Up, and The Shockwave Rider. Making extensive use of Brunner's letters, columns, speeches, and interviews published in fanzines, Smith approaches Brunner in the context of markets and trends that affected many writers of the time, including Brunner's uneasy association with the "New Wave" of science fiction in the 1960s and '70s. This landmark study shows how Brunner's attempts to cross-fertilize the American pulp tradition with British scientific romance complicated the distinctions between genre and mainstream fiction and between hard and soft science fiction and helped carve out space for emerging modes such as cyberpunk, slipstream, and biopunk.
A crumbling marriage. An ancient mystery. And a way to change the past . . .
When archaeologist Aaron Keeler finds himself transported eighteen years backward in time, he becomes swept up in a strangely illicit liaison with his younger wife. A brilliant musician, Violet is captivated by the attentive, “weathered” version of her husband. The Aaron she recently married—an American expat—has become distant, absorbed by his excavation of a prehistoric site at Kilmartin Glen on Scotland’s west coast, where he will soon make the discovery that launches his career. As Aaron travels back and forth across the span of nearly two decades, with time passing in both worlds, he faces a threat to his revelatory dig, a crisis with the older Violet—mother of his two young children—and a sudden deterioration of his health. Meanwhile, Violet’s musical performances take on a resonance related to the secrets the two are uncovering in both time frames. With their children and Aaron’s lives at risk, he and Violet try to repair the damage before it’s too late.
It has been half a century since a few now-canonical Latin American writers introduced magical realism to the world. In that time, new generations of Latinx writers and artists have used that watershed moment as a springboard into new and bold explorations of speculative and fantasy forms. Collectively, they have found exciting new ways to delve into Latinx identities and cultures across genres. Latinx Rising, the first anthology of science fiction and fantasy by Latinxs living in the United States, exuberantly displays the full range of their art.
The new and established voices assembled here (including Kathleen Alcalá, Carmen Maria Machado, Ernest Hogan, and other luminaries) invite us to imagine a Latinx past, present, and future that have not been whitewashed by mainstream perspectives. As in the best mixtapes, this anthology moves satisfyingly through the loud and brash, the quiet and thoughtful. There are ghosts, space aliens, robots—and a grandmother who unwittingly saves the universe through her cooking. The result is a deeply pleasurable read that pushes beyond magical realism and social realism to demonstrate all the thrilling possibilities of what Latinx literature can be.
Fiction writer, internationally known filmmaker, critical theorist, Alexander Kluge is perhaps postwar Germany’s most prolific and diverse intellectual. With this translation of Learning Processes with a Deadly Outcome, a novella first published in German in 1973, one of Kluge’s most important literary works becomes available to an English-speaking audience for the first time. Written in a quasi-documentary style, this fascinating hybrid work combines science fiction with modernist forms of montage and reportage to describe a future in which Earth has been almost totally destroyed following the catastrophic Black War. The planet’s remaining inhabitants have been driven underground or into space where the struggle to establish a new society rages on. Whether describing the scene in China where the devastated landscape is reconstructed according to old paintings, or in the galactic realm of the Starway where giant, turf-battling, corporate colonizing forces exploit the universe’s resources, Kluge tells his tale by inventing various forms of “evidence” that satirize the discourses of administrative bureaucracy, the law, military security, and the media. He gives us some of his most bizarre and hilarious characters in this peculiar world in which the remains of the past are mixed with the most advanced elements of the future. The cast includes highly specialized women workers who have adapted to the massive gravitational field of their heavy-metal planets, a commander with lethal foot-fungus, and ex-Nazi space pioneers who, in their lonely exile from the conflagrations on earth, spend their time carving enormous facsimiles of operatic sheet music in the forests of uninhabited planets. With parody, and humor, Kluge shows how the survivors of Armageddon attempt to learn the art of civilization, and, despite the disaster they have suffered, how they set out to reproduce at new sites a caricature of a classic and fascistic feudal capitalism.
Mordecai Roshwald; Edited and with a new foreword by David Seed University of Wisconsin Press, 2004 Library of Congress PS3568.O84154L4 2004 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Level 7 is the diary of Officer X-127, who is assigned to stand guard at the "Push Buttons," a machine devised to activate the atomic destruction of the enemy, in the country’s deepest bomb shelter. Four thousand feet underground, Level 7 has been built to withstand the most devastating attack and to be self-sufficient for five hundred years. Selected according to a psychological profile that assures their willingness to destroy all life on Earth, those who are sent down may never return.
Originally published in 1959, and with over 400,000 copies sold, this powerful dystopian novel remains a horrific vision of where the nuclear arms race may lead, and is an affirmation of human life and love. Level 7 merits comparison to Huxley’s A Brave New World and Orwell’s 1984 and should be considered a must-read by all science fiction fans.
Anthologies, awards, journals, and works in translation have sprung up to reflect science fiction's increasingly international scope. Yet scholars and students alike face a problem. Where does one begin to explore global SF in the absence of an established canon? Lingua Cosmica opens the door to some of the creators in the vanguard of international science fiction. Eleven experts offer innovative English-language scholarship on figures ranging from Cuban pioneer Daína Chaviano to Nigerian filmmaker Olatunde Osunsanmi to the Hugo Award-winning Chinese writer Liu Cixin. These essays invite readers to ponder the themes, formal elements, and unique cultural characteristics within the works of these irreplaceable—if too-little-known—artists. Dale Knickerbocker includes fantasists and genre-benders pushing SF along new evolutionary paths even as they draw on the traditions of their own literary cultures. Includes essays on Daína Chaviano (Cuba), Jacek Dukaj (Poland), Jean-Claude Dunyac (France), Andreas Eschbach (Germany), Angélica Gorodischer (Argentina), Sakyo Komatsu (Japan), Liu Cixin (China), Laurent McAllister (Yves Meynard and Jean-Louis Trudel, Francophone Canada), Olatunde Osunsanmi (Nigeria), Johanna Sinisalo (Finland), and Arkady and Boris Strugatsky (Russia). Contributors: Alexis Brooks de Vita, Pawel Frelik, Yvonne Howell, Yolanda Molina-Gavilán, Vibeke Rützou Petersen, Amy J. Ransom, Hanna-Riikka Roine, Hanna Samola, Mingwei Song, Tatsumi Takayuki, Juan Carlos Toledano Redondo, and Natacha Vas-Deyres.
“I was suddenly struck with the sight of a trail of rich red vegetation of several miles in the midst of the eternal snows. I approached with curiosity this oasis in the frozen desert.”
An antique-shop owner gets a glimpse of the Red Planet through an intriguing artifact. A Martian’s wife contemplates the possibility of life on Earth. A resident of Venus describes his travels across the two alien planets. From an arid desert to an advanced society far superior to that of Earth, portrayals of Mars have differed radically in their attempts to uncover the truth about our neighboring planet.
Since the 1880s, after an astronomer first described “channels” on the surface of Mars, writers have been fascinated with the planet, endlessly speculating on what life on Mars might look like and what might happen should we make contact with the planet's inhabitants. This wonderful collection offers ten wildly imaginative short stories from the golden age of science fiction by such classic sci-fi writers as H.G. Wells, Ray Bradbury, and J. G. Ballard, as well as hard-to-find stories by unjustly forgotten writers from the genre.
Assembled and introduced by acclaimed anthologist Mike Ashley, these stories vividly evoke a time when notions of life on other planets—from vegetation and water to space invaders and utopian societies—were new and startling. As we continue to imagine landing people on Mars, these stories are well worth revisiting as gripping and vivid dispatches from futurists past.
In many ways, twentieth-century America was the land of superheroes and science fiction. From Superman and Batman to the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, these pop-culture juggernauts, with their "powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men," thrilled readers and audiences—and simultaneously embodied a host of our dreams and fears about modern life and the onrushing future.
But that's just scratching the surface, says Jeffrey Kripal. In Mutants and Mystics, Kripal offers a brilliantly insightful account of how comic book heroes have helped their creators and fans alike explore and express a wealth of paranormal experiences ignored by mainstream science. Delving deeply into the work of major figures in the field—from Jack Kirby’s cosmic superhero sagas and Philip K. Dick’s futuristic head-trips to Alan Moore’s sex magic and Whitley Strieber’s communion with visitors—Kripal shows how creators turned to science fiction to convey the reality of the inexplicable and the paranormal they experienced in their lives. Expanded consciousness found its language in the metaphors of sci-fi—incredible powers, unprecedented mutations, time-loops and vast intergalactic intelligences—and the deeper influences of mythology and religion that these in turn drew from; the wildly creative work that followed caught the imaginations of millions. Moving deftly from Cold War science and Fredric Wertham's anticomics crusade to gnostic revelation and alien abduction, Kripal spins out a hidden history of American culture, rich with mythical themes and shot through with an awareness that there are other realities far beyond our everyday understanding.
A bravura performance, beautifully illustrated in full color throughout and brimming over with incredible personal stories, Mutants and Mystics is that rarest of things: a book that is guaranteed to broaden—and maybe even blow—your mind.
My Daughter's Eyes and Other Stories, winner of the 2007 Mármol Prize, is a collection of fourteen interrelated stories about young Dominican women living in the Bronx as they deal with the choices they make in their everyday life. These stories span three decades, beginning in the 1970s, and their topics range from mother-daughter struggles, father-daughter betrayal, family, and child abuse, to emerging sexuality, love, loss, and healing. Annecy Baez's daring treatment of taboo themes, such as sexual child abuse and the struggle of the individual against restrictive traditional values, makes this book unique in Dominican fiction.
A Perfect Vacuum
Stanislaw Lem Northwestern University Press, 1999 Library of Congress PG7158.L39D613 1999 | Dewey Decimal 891.85373
In A Perfect Vacuum, Stanislaw Lem presents a collection of book reviews of nonexistent works of literature--works that, in many cases, could not possibly be written. Embracing postmodernism's "games for games' sake" ethos, Lem joins the contest with hilarious and grotesque results, lampooning the movement's self-indulgence and exploiting its mannerisms.
Beginning with a review of his own book, Lem moves on to tackles (or create pastiches of) the French new novel, James Joyce, pornography, authorless writing, and Dostoevsky, while at the same time ranging across scientific topics, from cosmology to the pervasiveness of computers. The result is a metafictional tour de force by one of the world's most popular writers.
Planet Auschwitz explores the diverse ways in which the Holocaust influences and shapes science fiction and horror film and television by focusing on notable contributions from the last fifty years. The supernatural and extraterrestrial are rich and complex spaces with which to examine important Holocaust themes - trauma, guilt, grief, ideological fervor and perversion, industrialized killing, and the dangerous afterlife of Nazism after World War II. Planet Auschwitz explores why the Holocaust continues to set the standard for horror in the modern era and asks if the Holocaust is imaginable here on Earth, at least by those who perpetrated it, why not in a galaxy far, far away? The pervasive use of Holocaust imagery and plotlines in horror and science fiction reflects both our preoccupation with its enduring trauma and our persistent need to “work through” its many legacies.
Science fiction captures contemporary sentiment with its faith in a scientific/technological future, its explorations of the ultimate meaning of man’s existence. Kreuziger is interested particularly in the apocalyptic visions of science fiction compared to the biblical revelations of John and Daniel. For some time our confidence has been placed largely in science, which has practically become a religion. Science fiction articulates the consequences of a faith in a technological future.
It has become something of a critical commonplace to claim that science fiction does not actually exist in Argentina. This book puts that claim to rest by identifying and analyzing a rich body of work that fits squarely in the genre. Joanna Page explores a range of texts stretching from 1875 to the present day and across a variety of media-literature, cinema, theatre, and comics-and studies the particular inflection many common discourses of science fiction (e.g., abuse of technology by authoritarian regimes, apocalyptic visions of environmental catastrophe) receive in the Argentine context. A central aim is to historicize these texts, showing how they register and rework the contexts of their production, particularly the hallmarks of modernity as a social and cultural force in Argentina. Another aim, held in tension with the first, is to respond to an important critique of historicism that unfolds in these texts. They frequently unpick the chronology of modernity, challenging the linear, universalizing models of development that underpin historicist accounts. They therefore demand a more nuanced set of readings that work to supplement, revise, and enrich the historicist perspective.
Other stories in this anthology are “Old Man Henderson,” “The Hunter,” “Underground Movement,” “The Forest of Zil,” and “From the Government Printing Office.”
In most of the stories Neville writes of loneliness, isolation, alienation, intolerance of anything or anyone different, and of insanity created by the pressures of living. Along with madness of various kinds, his stories explore the essence of human nature and individuals interacting with one another as well as with society. As Malzberg notes, Neville, unlike many science fiction writers, was a serious author interested in “Big ideas.”
The Science Fiction of Mark Clifton
Edited by Barry N. Malzberg and Martin H. Greenberg. Southern Illinois University Press, 1980 Library of Congress PS3553.L46S3 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
This collection of the best short stories of Mark Clifton makes these fine tales readily available for the first time in two decades.
Winner with Frank Riley of the 1955 Hugo Award for They’d Rather Be Right,Clifton has for a variety of reasons unrelated to the quality of his writing all but disappeared from the awareness of today’s science fiction audience. Never a prolific writer he had published only about twenty-five short stories before his death in 1963.But with those stories and his three novels he irrevocably altered the course of contemporary science fiction.
Almost single-handedly he introduced the full range of psychological insights to the commonly occurring themes of the genre—alien invasion, expanding technology, revolution against political theocracy, and space exploration and colonization—to ever more truthfully portray how humanity would react to a future that could be either mindless or intellectually stunning.
With his first published story, “What Have I Done?” Clifton initiated the theme of a starkly realistic world in which, at its best, humanity is inalterably vile—a theme that became an inextricable part of all his subsequent works. In his later works Clifton occasionally clothed his bitter indictment in the garb of comedy.
The stories collected here include “What Have I Done?” “Star, Bright,” “Crazy Joey,” “What Thin Partitions,” “Sense from Thought Divide,” “How Allied,” “Remembrance and Reflection,” “Hide! Hide! Witch!” “Clerical Error,” “What Now, Little Man?” and “Hang Head, Vandal!”
In Speculative Blackness, André M. Carrington analyzes the highly racialized genre of speculative fiction—including science fiction, fantasy, and utopian works, along with their fan cultures—to illustrate the relationship between genre conventions in media and the meanings ascribed to blackness in the popular imagination.
Carrington’s argument about authorship, fandom, and race in a genre that has been both marginalized and celebrated offers a black perspective on iconic works of science fiction. He examines the career of actor Nichelle Nichols, who portrayed the character Uhura in the original Star Trek television series and later became a recruiter for NASA, and the spin-off series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, set on a space station commanded by a black captain. He recovers a pivotal but overlooked moment in 1950s science fiction fandom in which readers and writers of fanzines confronted issues of race by dealing with a fictitious black fan writer and questioning the relevance of race to his ostensible contributions to the 'zines. Carrington mines the productions of Marvel comics and the black-owned comics publisher Milestone Media, particularly the representations of black sexuality in its flagship title, Icon. He also interrogates online fan fiction about black British women in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Harry Potter series.
Throughout this nuanced analysis, Carrington theorizes the relationship between race and genre in cultural production, revealing new understandings of the significance of blackness in twentieth-century American literature and culture.
These 17 original essays, written for the sixth Eaton Conference on Fantasy and Science Fiction, explore the uses, origins, and forms of future fiction. The contributors are George E. Slusser, Paul Alkon, Marie-Hélène Huet, Howard V. Hendrix, Bradford Lyau, Gregory Benford, José Manuel Mota, Frederik Pohl, George Hay, Colin Greenland, John Huntington, Elizabeth Maslen, W. M. S. and Claire Russell, T. A. Shippey, Kenneth V. Bailey, Gary Kern, and Frank McConnell.
The essays address the question “Do we call up images of future societies in order to prepare for them, or to forestall their ever coming into existence?”
The term “cyberpunk” entered the literary landscape in 1984 to describe William Gibson’s pathbreaking novel Neuromancer. Cyberpunks are now among the shock troops of postmodernism, Larry McCaffery argues in Storming the Reality Studio, marshalling the resources of a fragmentary culture to create a startling new form. Artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, multinational machinations, frenetic bursts of prose, collisions of style, celebrations of texture: although emerging largely from science fiction, these features of cyberpunk writing are, as this volume makes clear, integrally related to the aims and innovations of the literary avant-garde.
By bringing together original fiction by well-known contemporary writers (William Burroughs, Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, Kathy Acker, J. G. Ballard, Samuel R. Delany), critical commentary by some of the major theorists of postmodern art and culture (Jacques Derrida, Fredric Jameson, Timothy Leary, Jean-François Lyotard), and work by major practitioners of cyberpunk (William Gibson, Rudy Rucker, John Shirley, Pat Cadigan, Bruce Sterling), Storming the Reality Studio reveals a fascinating ongoing dialog in contemporary culture.
What emerges most strikingly from the colloquy is a shared preoccupation with the force of technology in shaping modern life. It is precisely this concern, according to McCaffery, that has put science fiction, typically the province of technological art, at the forefront of creative explorations of our unique age. A rich opporunity for reading across genres, this anthology offers a new perspective on the evolution of postmodern culture and ultimately shows how deeply technological developments have influenced our vision and our art.
Selected Fiction contributors: Kathy Acker, J. G. Ballard, William S. Burroughs, Pat Cadigan, Samuel R. Delany, Don DeLillo, William Gibson, Harold Jaffe, Richard Kadrey, Marc Laidlaw, Mark Leyner, Joseph McElroy, Misha, Ted Mooney, Thomas Pynchon, Rudy Rucker, Lucius Shepard, Lewis Shiner, John Shirley, Bruce Sterling, William Vollman
Selected Non-Fiction contributors: Jean Baudrillard, Jacques Derrida, Joan Gordon, Veronica Hollinger, Fredric Jameson, Arthur Kroker and David Cook, Timothy Leary, Jean-François Lyotard, Larry McCaffery, Brian McHale, Dave Porush, Bruce Sterling, Darko Suvin, Takayuki Tatsumi
Zoran Zivkovic Northwestern University Press, 2000 Library of Congress PG1419.36.I954V7413 2000 | Dewey Decimal 891.8236
Zoran Zivkovic weaves four mysterious encounters around philosophical questions at the core of human existence. Provocative and original, Time Gifts is a meditation on the nature of time and, especially, on the nature of those at its mercy.
In this first-ever anthology of Indigenous science fiction Grace Dillon collects some of the finest examples of the craft with contributions by Native American, First Nations, Aboriginal Australian, and New Zealand Maori authors. The collection includes seminal authors such as Gerald Vizenor, historically important contributions often categorized as "magical realism" by authors like Leslie Marmon Silko and Sherman Alexie, and authors more recognizable to science fiction fans like William Sanders and Stephen Graham Jones. Dillon's engaging introduction situates the pieces in the larger context of science fiction and its conventions.
Organized by sub-genre, the book starts with Native slipstream, stories infused with time travel, alternate realities and alternative history like Vizenor's "Custer on the Slipstream." Next up are stories about contact with other beings featuring, among others, an excerpt from Gerry William's The Black Ship. Dillon includes stories that highlight Indigenous science like a piece from Archie Weller's Land of the Golden Clouds, asserting that one of the roles of Native science fiction is to disentangle that science from notions of "primitive" knowledge and myth. The fourth section calls out stories of apocalypse like William Sanders' "When This World Is All on Fire" and a piece from Zainab Amadahy's The Moons of Palmares. The anthology closes with examples of biskaabiiyang, or "returning to ourselves," bringing together stories like Eden Robinson's "Terminal Avenue" and a piece from Robert Sullivan's Star Waka.
An essential book for readers and students of both Native literature and science fiction, Walking the Clouds is an invaluable collection. It brings together not only great examples of Native science fiction from an internationally-known cast of authors, but Dillon's insightful scholarship sheds new light on the traditions of imagining an Indigenous future.