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SF History

Clarke at 100: The Sands of Mars

by Paul

After looking again at Earthlight and A Fall of Moondust, our revisiting of the works of Arthur C. Clarke in the year he would have turned 100 brings us to one of his earliest novels: The Sands of Mars. Early novels can be curiously revealing. When a writer still hasn’t acquired the sophistication of more mature works, what […]

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10 Essential SF Works of the 1910s

by Paul

It has been a while since the last chapter of this peripatetic journey through the history of science fiction, so it is well past time to take us back to that most schizophrenic of decades, the 1910s. The first half of the decade marked the long golden summer of Edwardian England, the second half was […]

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12 Other Times that Hitler Won

by Paul

With Amazon’s dramatisation based on The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick now in its second series, and the BBC producing a dramatisation of SS-GB by Len Deighton, it seems that the Nazi’s winning World War II is still a popular idea. So here are a dozen other novels exploring the same idea, some of […]

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14 more Afrofuturists you should be reading

by Paul

For the last month we’ve celebrated Black History Month by looking at some of the great black science fiction writers (Afrofuturist is now the vogue term for black sf writer). So far we’ve considered Samuel R. Delany, Octavia E. Butler, Steven Barnes, Nnedi Okorafor, Nalo Hopkinson and Tobias Buckell, but that barely skims the surface […]

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Anthony Burgess at 100

by Paul

Today, Anthony Burgess would have turned 100. A prolific writer, and also a composer, he was best known for his mainstream work, But his fiction often incorporated elements of the fantastic, and some were overtly science fiction. The earliest and most famous of these was A Clockwork Orange, set in a dystopian near-future in which disaffected […]

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Clarke at 100: A Fall of Moondust

by Paul

In our celebration of the work of Sir Arthur C. Clarke, who would have turned 100 this year, we follow Earthlight by turning to another of his novels set on the Moon, A Fall of Moondust. Not far short of a decade separates the two books, so it is not surprising that it is a somewhat different Moon that […]

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Octavia E. Butler

by Paul

Okay, choosing Samuel R. Delany to kick off our survey of black sf writers was maybe a little obvious. But then, so is Octavia E. Butler. Yet you can’t really talk about modern science fiction without mentioning either of them. And because they are essential, sometimes you have to be obvious. The differences between them […]

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Samuel R. Delany

by Paul

Okay, starting our survey of black sf writers with Samuel R. Delany is probably too obvious. I mean, if you’re not already reading Delany, what are you doing here anyway. Yet his importance, as both a black writer and a gay writer, is almost impossible to overestimate. For many black readers and writers of science […]

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Black History Month

by Paul

It’s Black History Month (and why pick the shortest month of the year for such a momentous subject), and that seems like a good excuse to look at the black contribution to science fiction. Black writers have made a pretty big contribution to the history of science fiction, but as in so many things (the […]

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Clarke at 100: Earthlight

by Paul

Arthur C. Clarke would have turned 100 this year. To celebrate one of the greats of science fiction, I’m going to spend the year revisiting some of his books, and writing about them here. I’m not going to be reading them in any specific order, more a matter of which one I happen to take […]

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