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SF History

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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How to Build your SF Reference Library: Robert Scholes

by Paul

With everything that was going on at the end of last year, we missed the news that Robert Scholes had died. Scholes was one of the first academics who attempted to apply literary theory to science fiction. Not always successfully, it must be said. And for the casual reader his work tends to be off-puttingly […]

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How to Build Your SF Reference Library 2, Histories

by Paul

If you want to build up a reference library on science fiction, the first thing you need is context. In other words, there are certain very basic things you need to be able to find out. When did A happen? Did B occur before C, or after it? How does D relate to E? What […]

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10 Essential SF Books of the 1920s

by Paul

Our peripatetic journey through the history of science fiction takes us back to that curious decade, the 1920s, back by some reckonings, to the very beginning of science fiction itself. In retrospect, the 1920s was a transitional age. It emerged from the end of the First World War, whose horrors and with them the decimation […]

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Discovering Margaret Cavendish

by Paul

Let’s face it, there aren’t that many science fiction writers who have appeared in novels. H.G. Wells, of course, in a whole variety of books from Christopher Priest’s The Space Machine to David Lodge’s A Man of Parts, and Philip K. Dick in Philip K. Dick is Dead, Alas by Michael Bishop. Well, now there’s a new and […]

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