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Mary Shelley

Science Fiction Before Frankenstein, 2: Other Worlds

by Paul

Okay, for science fiction you really need strange worlds and alien creatures. Well, no you don’t, really; but it is still one of the typical characteristics of an awful lot of sf. And it’s a characteristic that goes right back to the early days of sf. Back, indeed, to those ancient Greek writers who wrote […]

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Science Fiction Before Frankenstein, 1: This World

by Paul

So, a couple of days ago, we reported on the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Because Brian Aldiss had identified this as the first true sf novel, some people have also said that it’s also the 200th birthday of science fiction itself. It is not, and as promised here’s a bunch of stuff published long […]

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Happy 200th Birthday to Science Fiction?

by Paul

At the beginning of January 1818 a new book was published, a novel written by a woman still in her teens, and begun as part of a ghost story competition with Lord Byron, Dr John Polidori and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Frankenstein; or, A Modern Prometheus came out from the firm of Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor […]

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How to build your SF Reference Library: Essays

by Paul

If you start getting into the more academic areas of science fiction criticism, then you’re going to have to get used to dealing with essays. Much academic criticism comes in the form of essays (come to think of it, many books are really compilations of essays). Some of these are heavy going (there are always […]

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These are the Ways the World Ends: Pestilence

by Paul

This week we’re looking at the different ways that science fiction has looked at the end of the world, or at least the end of human civilisation. The three horsemen of the sf apocalypse are War, Pestilence and the Environment. Today, it’s the turn of … Pestilence One of the more powerful of contemporary novels […]

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These are the Ways the World Ends: War

by Paul

The darkness grew apace; a cold wind began to blow in freshening gusts from the east, and the showering white flakes in the air increased in number. From the edge of the sea came a ripple and whisper. Beyond these lifeless sounds the world was silent. So the world ends, as witnessed by the time […]

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Brian W. Aldiss

by Paul

Brian Aldiss, undoubtedly one of the most important figures in British science fiction, has died. It is reported that he died in his sleep after celebrations to mark his 92nd birthday. In 1958 he received a Hugo Award as Best Newcomer; it proved to be the first of many awards over his long career, culminating […]

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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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Elsewhere

by Paul

Links Categories: Links

So we’re coming to the end of the year, and I’m about to take a break from the blog until January. Lots of good things planned for the New Year, but I need to recharge my batteries a little. (It has been a hell of a year in so many ways; I suspect we’ll all […]

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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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