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Damon Knight

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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How to Build Your SF Reference Library: Classic Reviews

by Paul

I know, it’s been a little while since we added to this feature, but there are always more books to add to the library. And this post takes us back, in a sense, to the early days of science fiction scholarship. The earliest sf scholarship was probably bibliographies, fans compiling detailed and complete lists of […]

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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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How to build an SF Reference Library, 1 – Samuel R. Delany

by Paul

Okay, you love science fiction. But it’s not just the fiction you like. You want to read about it, find out more about the authors or books or ideas that interest you most. After all, you’re reading this blog, aren’t you. Well, you’re in luck, because there’s an absolute wealth of books out there that […]

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Elsewhere

by Paul

Links Categories: Links

Work forced me to take my eyes off the blog for the last week or so, but I’ve still been keeping a lookout for interesting things to share. And actually there’s quite a bit recently. Let’s start with someone who has a good claim to be one of the very best sf writers: Ursula K. Le […]

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10 Essential works of Science Fiction from the 1970s

by Paul

The 70s was a strange, liminal time in science fiction. As the decade began, the New Wave was still in full flood, but the wave petered out very quickly. In Britain, New Worlds magazine folded and was replaced by an original anthology series called New Worlds Quarterly that, despite its title, managed only 10 issues in six years […]

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(Re)Discovering James Blish, The Great Science Fiction Critic

by Paul

When I was totting up the authors featured in a series of big, genre-defining anthologies recently, I was surprised to discover that James Blish was one of only three writers to appear in five of the seven books, and he appeared from the earliest to the latest of the books. Now I wasn’t surprised by […]

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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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An Introduction to Science Fiction Readings: Where to Start

by Paul

There are people out there who insist that you cannot write science fiction unless you know the history of science fiction. Yeah, I know, ludicrous, isn’t it. It’s impossible for any one person to read all the sf being published in any one year, so getting to grips with everything that has been written in […]

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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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