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Alfred Bester

Discovering the Award Winners: Birth of the Hugos

by Paul

The organizers of the 1953 Worldcon, known as PhilCon II, were looking for a centrepiece event for their convention. They decided on an award ceremony. The awards would be known as the Science Fiction Achievement Awards, and would be voted on by members of the convention. At the time there was no plan to continue […]

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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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How to Build Your SF Reference Library: Modern Masters of Science Fiction

by Paul

There’s an academic term: monograph. Basically it means a study of one particular subject. Where that subject is a science fiction writer, we’ve been pretty poorly served up to now. There have been occasional biographies, though these have usually been restricted to the very best known authors and haven’t always been that good. And let’s […]

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10 Must Read Science Fiction Books From the 1950s

by Paul

You know, there are people out there who insist that you cannot write sf, or write about sf, until you have read everything. Yeah, I know: stupid! These days you can’t even read everything published in a year, so how are you supposed to read the thousands upon thousands of works from last year or […]

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17 of the Best Science Fiction Writers Heavily Featured in SF Anthologies You Need to Read

by Paul

So yesterday I wrote about 7 massive sf anthologies which effectively serve as a history of the genre. It’s not an exhaustive list (there’s a similar anthology from Wesleyan, for instance), but for anyone wanting a crash course on science fiction’s past, particularly the 20th century, would find any of these a good place to start. […]

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Best Female Science Fiction before 1980: The SF Canon Men Don’t See

by Paul

While I was away (yes, I had a lovely holiday, thank you for asking), a couple of really interesting blog posts appeared: “Communities: Weight of History” by Renay came first, which elicited a response from Nina Allan, “The Weight of History“, and then, just yesterday, Maureen Speller added “{and then} – a writing life beyond […]

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Considering the Hugos 2

by Paul

Awards Categories: Awards

Could “Vox Day” be right? Oh I don’t mean about race or gender or even science fiction. On anything serious his pronouncements mark him out as nothing but a comic book Hitler whose opinions seem to have been formed sometime in the neolithic (if that isn’t too insulting to our ancestors). But sometimes, on a […]

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Considering the Hugos

by Paul

Awards Categories: Awards

In a long and thoughtful response to this post, Nirvan asked me to write at greater length about the Hugo Awards. My first response was: oh dear me no, I don’t want to step further into that minefield. Then I thought again, and decided I would, partly because I’ve been sceptical about the value of […]

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