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Discovering the Award Winners: Retro Hugos

by Paul

Back in the early 1950s, when the Hugo Awards were born, Worldcon organizers had much more liberty to choose what was and was not included in their programme. So after the 1953 Worldcon decided to introduce the awards, the following year’s convention chose not to repeat the idea. It wasn’t until the 1955 Worldcon that […]

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Books to look forward to in October, part 3

by Paul

And here we go with the final selection of the books you’ll want to read this month. The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman Yes, I know, another fantasy. But if you aren’t excited by Pullman returning to the world of His Dark Materials, where have you been hiding for the last […]

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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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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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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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The best sf to recommend to non-sf readers

by Paul

Every sf blog does a post like this eventually. And they all get it wrong. Because they are all about what turned the author onto sf, not what a non-sf reader might be looking for. You can see the thinking, time after time: oh Embassytown by China Mieville blew me away, so it’s bound to have […]

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10 Essential SF Titles from the 1940s

by Paul

And our ongoing history of the key sf works takes a step backwards to the 1940s. Two extraordinary events of 1939 had a profound effect on the science fiction of this decade. In the first instance, John W. Campbell became editor of Astounding. He didn’t just turn Astounding into the most important sf magazine of the period, […]

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