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The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction

av Edward James (Redaktör), Farah Mendlesohn (Redaktör)

Andra författare: Brian Attebery (Bidragsgivare), Mark Bould (Bidragsgivare), Damien Broderick (Bidragsgivare), Andrew M. Butler (Bidragsgivare), John Clute (Bidragsgivare)16 till, Kathryn Cramer (Bidragsgivare), Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, Jr. (Bidragsgivare), Andy Duncan (Bidragsgivare), Veronica Hollinger (Bidragsgivare), Edward James (Bidragsgivare), Gwyneth Jones (Bidragsgivare), Elisabeth Anne Leonard (Bidragsgivare), Michael Levy (Bidragsgivare), Ken MacLeod (Bidragsgivare), Farah Mendlesohn (Bidragsgivare), Helen Merrick (Bidragsgivare), Wendy Pearson (Bidragsgivare), Joan Slonczewski (Bidragsgivare), Brian Stableford (Bidragsgivare), Gary Westfahl (Bidragsgivare), Gary K. Wolfe (Bidragsgivare)

Serier: Cambridge Companions to Literature

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
245480,247 (3.81)1
Science fiction is at the intersection of numerous fields. It is literature which draws on popular culture, and engages in speculation about science, history, and all varieties of social relations. This volume brings together essays by scholars and practitioners of science fiction, which look at the genre from different angles. It examines science fiction from Thomas More to the present day; and introduces important critical approaches (including Marxism, postmodernism, feminism and queer theory).… (mer)



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This collection was informative about the history of science fiction. Like most collections the essays are unequal. I most enjoyed the Space Opera (chapter 14) and the life sciences chapter (chapter 12). Following is the chapter list. Great resource for learning and reviewing the historical progress if Science Fiction in the 20th Century. The collection was mostly European and American centric, which was appropriate for me, since matches my reading experiences.

1 Science fiction before the genre 15
brian stableford
2 The magazine era: 1926–1960 32
brian attebery
3 New Wave and backwash: 1960–1980 48
damien broderick
4 Science fiction from 1980 to the present 64
john clute
5 Film and television 79
mark bould
6 Science fiction and its editors 96
gary k. wolfe
7 Marxist theory and science fiction 113
istvan csicsery-ronay, jr
8 Feminist theory and science fiction 125
veronica hollinger
9 Postmodernism and science fiction 137
andrew m. butler
10 Science fiction and queer theory 149
wendy pearson
Part 3. Sub-genres and themes
11 The icons of science fiction 163
gwyneth jones
12 Science fiction and the life sciences 174
joan slonczewski and michael levy
13 Hard science fiction 186
kathryn cramer
14 Space opera 197
gary westfahl
15 Alternate history 209
andy duncan
16 Utopias and anti-utopias 219
edward james
17 Politics and science fiction 230
ken macleod
18 Gender in science fiction 241
helen merrick
19 Race and ethnicity in science fiction 253
elisabeth anne leonard
20 Religion and science fiction 264
farah mendlesohn ( )
  superant | Aug 27, 2014 |
I had a few reasons for choosing this book as my critical text for this term. For starters, many previous students discuss it as useful, and since my crit partner was reading it this term as well, I figured it'd be a good choice, since we'd have a chance to discuss it. I was particularly excited when the book arrived and I noticed the various essays listed. This looked like a great choice.

Unfortunately, this book was very difficult to get through. I spent a lot of time thinking about why too, because I enjoy the whole scholarly aspect of the genre and enjoy reading such essays, whereas many genre writers (and readers) do not. Instead, this book sucked my brain dry.

Part of the problem stemmed from the first part of the book, which focused on the genre's history. While I did learn some new tidbits, I found the essays very dry and very laborious, especially in comparison to David Hartwell's Age of Wonders. It's odd I had problems, because Hartwell wrote his entire book, whereas The Cambridge Companion is penned by many different authors. I expected a variety of styles and tones, and yet nearly every essay was very academic, whereas Hartwell's essays spoke in laymen's terms. In both cases, I hadn't read most of the books being discussed, but only in the case of Hartwell's book did I feel that I could understand the point of the essay.

Part one, "The History," left me hungry for parts two and three, "Critical Approaches" and "Sub-Genres and Themes" respectively. And I did find some solace in the various essays in these sections. The essays "Feminist theory and Science Fiction" and "Science fiction and queer theory" really grabbed my interest, as did the essays "Science fiction and the life sciences," "Hard science fiction" (this one surprised me), "Alternate history," "Utopias and anti-utopias," and "Politics and science fiction" also caught my eye. Actually, most every essay in parts two and three offered some interesting insight and angles to the genre and its sub-genres, though in almost every case, I found the essays to be dry and brittle in tone.

Other critical theory and history books, such as Hartwell's, do a good job articulating the content of the examples it pulls from. Since I'm a relative newbie to the SF genre, there's a lot of turf I haven't covered, and when an author of an essay expounds on a story or novel I haven't read yet to make his or her point, I'm very grateful. Here, such explanation was either missing or didn't quite hit the mark, and I think the reason said explanation didn't hit the mark was because in the cases where I had read the material, I didn't see eye-to-eye with the author of the essay, or I felt the author had sidestepped his/her original point.

It's not a bad book by any means, and I don't regret reading it at all. I find that this book would make for a great companion (I mean that literally) in a classroom where the texts discussed are being read in parallel to lectures on the various subjects. In other words, this would make for an interesting textbook. Outside of the classroom, I find this to be a good jumping point, with every essay summarizing its points rather than digging for any depth (which isn't a bad thing: a book with a variety of essays must summarize to an extent, expecting readers to seek out additional material to satisfy their curiosity). The reading list provided is going to be most useful in the future, and there's plenty of resources listed as well, so The Cambridge Companion will likely be the first book I use for a reference when I'm looking for a particular title or essay about a particular subject.

I don't think this is the kind of book meant to be read in one go. It's an essay-by-essay kind of book, something to read a little bit of, then one should read something else before coming back for another essay. I think the individual essays in parts two and three are very beneficial to writers, but some writers may simply want to focus on these individual essays rather than reading the book as a whole. ( )
1 rösta devilwrites | Apr 30, 2007 |

We are all waiting for the third edition of the Clute/Nicholls Encyclopedia of Science Fiction to appear. In the meantime, this volume of 21 essays on various aspects of sf fulfills the two things I really want from a critical survey: it helps me better understand the sf I have already read, and gives me pointers to writers and books that I might enjoy.

Highlights for me: the sequence of five historical essays about the development of science fiction; the three essays basically about sf and sex (dressed up as "feminist theory", "queer theory" and "gender"); and Ken MacLeod's broad survey of sf and politics. I also felt that Andrew Butler's essay on "post-modernism and science fiction" succeeded by critically examining postmodernism as a concept, so that I felt I had learnt something at the end of it. Mark Bould's essay on sf in films and TV is also very good but runs out of steam in about 1970.

Two assertions that made me think: Ken MacLeod - a writer with things to say about religion? Alien - like "Bloodchild", a pregnant man story?

Low points: Istvan Csicsery-Ronay's essay on Marxist theory and science fiction is without redeeming features. The only interesting bit, his discussion of Jameson, is covered much better by Butler two chapters on. Several of the other chapters spurred me to think that had I the time and library resources I would have liked to try and do a better job.

General bias: Well, one can quibble about the omissions (graphic novels; Christopher Priest) but the top four names in the index, ranked by numbers of cross-references, are Heinlein, Le Guin, Wells and Asimov, which seems to me pretty fair. Given the collection's emphasis on issues of sex and sexuality, it's not so very surprising to find Joanna Russ in fifth place, but she is followed by the firmly traditional choices of John W. Campbell, Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick, and E.E. "Doc" Smith. I would have thought that fans who want to read more broadly about sf, but feel alienated by the Clute lit-crit stuff (as I saw it referred to somewhere; I am not among this number), will find enough in this book to make them feel they got their money's worth. ( )
  nwhyte | Sep 18, 2005 |
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Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
James, EdwardRedaktörprimär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Mendlesohn, FarahRedaktörhuvudförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Attebery, BrianBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Bould, MarkBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Broderick, DamienBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Butler, Andrew M.Bidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Clute, JohnBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Cramer, KathrynBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Csicsery-Ronay, Istvan, Jr.Bidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Duncan, AndyBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Hollinger, VeronicaBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
James, EdwardBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Jones, GwynethBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Leonard, Elisabeth AnneBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Levy, MichaelBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
MacLeod, KenBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Mendlesohn, FarahBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Merrick, HelenBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Pearson, WendyBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Slonczewski, JoanBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Stableford, BrianBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Westfahl, GaryBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Wolfe, Gary K.Bidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
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Science fiction is at the intersection of numerous fields. It is literature which draws on popular culture, and engages in speculation about science, history, and all varieties of social relations. This volume brings together essays by scholars and practitioners of science fiction, which look at the genre from different angles. It examines science fiction from Thomas More to the present day; and introduces important critical approaches (including Marxism, postmodernism, feminism and queer theory).

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