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4 “Great Peculiars” of Science Fiction

by Paul

Over at Tor.com, Walter Jon Williams has an excellent article about Cordwainer Smith, who he memorably describes as one of the “Great Peculiars” of science fiction. By this he means distinctive writers who are impossible to imitate. Start reading a story by Cordwainer Smith and you know immediately who the author is. There is something […]

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Harvey Jacobs

by Paul

On the same day that Kit Reed died, we also learned of the death of Harvey Jacobs, also, it would seem, from a brain tumor. He was 87.        Jacobs was a writer mostly known for his comic satires of near-future urban American life. Beautiful Soup, for instance, tells the story of an […]

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Kit Reed

by Paul

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The death has been announced of Kit Reed. She was 85 and had been suffering from a brain tumor about which, in characteristic fashion, she told no one except her closest family. Reed started writing when she was five years old, and wrote pretty much every day since then. Her first publications appeared in the […]

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Rediscovering Kurt Vonnegut

by Paul

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The story goes that early in his career, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., had a short story rejected by a magazine. His agent told him to put the story away and try again when he became famous, “which may take a little time” the agent added. Well it didn’t actually take that long, but Vonnegut never did […]

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Jerry Pournelle

by Paul

The death has been announced of Jerry Pournelle, aged 84. He was a contentious figure who, both in life and in his fiction, strongly advocated for the military, co-editing the long-running anthology series, There Will Be War. He believed in the (American) militarization of space, and was one of the science fiction writers whose thinking […]

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5 Australian sf writers you should be reading

by Paul

Let’s face it, when you talk about sf it’s all too easy to limit the discussion to the usual suspects: mostly Americans, a few Brits, and the occasional Canadian (who has probably been mistaken for an American). But there’s a whole world of science fiction out there, which can too often slip by unnoticed. True, […]

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5 of the Best: Bob Shaw

by Paul

In the 20 years or so since Bob Shaw died, his name has faded somewhat from the consciousness of science fiction readers, which is a tragedy. Because at his best, Bob Shaw was a master of complex and original ideas that he somehow managed to turn into convivial and engaging novels. For some 30 years, […]

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Brian W. Aldiss

by Paul

Brian Aldiss, undoubtedly one of the most important figures in British science fiction, has died. It is reported that he died in his sleep after celebrations to mark his 92nd birthday. In 1958 he received a Hugo Award as Best Newcomer; it proved to be the first of many awards over his long career, culminating […]

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The greatest sf authors?

by Paul

There’s a post I’ve just come across (it seems to be a year old, but you know how these things disappear and resurface on the web) that claims to list “The Greatest Sci-Fi Authors of All Time“. It’s an interesting, if largely predictable list: Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick, Ursula K. Le Guin, Frank Herbert, […]

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5 of the Best: D.G. Compton

by Paul

When I wrote about Richard Cowper here a little while back, I was suddenly reminded of the “High Cs”, a name sometimes given to a small group of British sf writers of the 1960s and 70s whose names all began with C. They included Edmund Cooper and Michael Coney, but to my mind the best […]

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