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Isaac Asimov

Women SF Writers who should not be forgotten

by Paul

The 1950s is often reckoned to be the Golden Age of science fiction. It was a time when all the great names of the genre, like Asimov and Heinlein, Clarke and Bradbury, were at their peak, and before the New Wave of the 1960s started turning the genre in a new direction. A good time […]

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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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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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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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Elsewhere

by Paul

Links Categories: Links

Hey, Easter has come … and gone. That rather crept up on me. Anyway, I need to take a few days break, but here’s some stuff to keep you amused while I’m away from the blog. It’s a boom time for dystopias, or so the New York Times tells us in this article, which surveys […]

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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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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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4 must-read sf biographies (and 1 brilliant autobiography)

by Paul

News that there is a new biography of Angela Carter, The Invention of Angela Carter by Edmund Gordon, reminds me how few really good biographies there have been of science fiction writers. Partly, I suppose, that is because writers spend their lives hammering on a keyboard, which doesn’t necessarily make for an exciting narrative. But there […]

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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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1941 Retro-Hugo Award Winners

by Paul

Awards Categories: Awards

Also at MidAmericon, the Retro-Hugos for 1941 were presented. the winners were: BEST NOVEL Slan by A.E. Van Vogt (Astounding Science-Fiction, Dec 1940) BEST NOVELLA “If This Goes On…” by Robert A. Heinlein (Astounding Science-Fiction, Feb 1940) BEST NOVELETTE “The Roads Must Roll” by Robert A. Heinlein (Astounding Science-Fiction, June 1940) BEST SHORT STORY “Strange […]

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