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SF History

5 One-Off SF Ideas

by Paul

Let’s face it, most sf ideas get re-used and developed and built-up and changed as they spread across the genre. H.G. Wells invents the time machine, but it is other writers who use it to go back and change the past, or kill your grandfather, or any number of other variations on the theme you’ll […]

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A History of Space Opera in 5 Titles

by Paul

Space opera is big again, what with Tor promising a summer of space opera, and the fuss accompanying the announcement that Jo Walton’s new book, due in February next year, is a space opera, Poor Relations. But space opera hasn’t always been popular. In fact, since it first appeared, about 90 years ago, space opera has […]

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10 Essential SF Titles of the 1900s

by Paul

The death of Queen Victoria in January 1901 marked the end of an age just as surely as it marked the beginning of a new century. The restrictions and moralising of the high Victorian age was already being undermined during the latter years of the 19th century, but without the small, black-clad, increasingly distant figure […]

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Clarke at 100: Collected Stories

by Paul

Arthur C. Clarke was not actually the most prolific of short story writers. Yes, his Collected Stories is a big, fat volume containing over 100 pieces, but these are brought together from a career stretching over 60 years. They range from his first published story, “Travel By Wire”, which appeared in an amateur magazine in December 1937, […]

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How to Build your SF Reference Library: H.G. Wells

by Paul

As you start to collect books about science fiction, you will, sooner rather than later, come to the problem: H.G. Wells. You see, there are probably more books about Wells than there are about any other science fiction writer. Actually, there are probably more books about Wells than there are about any four or five […]

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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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