Science Fiction of the 20th Century: An Illustrated History

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Vividly illustrated with images of film posters, magazines, and books-many shown here for the first time—Science Fiction of the 20th Century (Hugo Award® winner, 2000) offers an insider's view of the prophetic writers, illustrators, and editors who made science fiction the most popular form of entertainment in the twentieth century.

Dime novels, pulp magazines, books, films, television-science fiction has chronicled both our hope for the ...
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Overview

Vividly illustrated with images of film posters, magazines, and books-many shown here for the first time—Science Fiction of the 20th Century (Hugo Award® winner, 2000) offers an insider's view of the prophetic writers, illustrators, and editors who made science fiction the most popular form of entertainment in the twentieth century.

Dime novels, pulp magazines, books, films, television-science fiction has chronicled both our hope for the future and our fear of it. Bestselling author Frank M. Robinson tells the story-behind-the-story, from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, published in the 1800s, through the fantastic visions of Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and a host of others who made science fiction not only their profession but their life. The atomic bomb, the space programs, cloning, and the Internet come to life on paper and celluloid as talented writers, artists, and filmmakers share their sense of wonder and their adventures of the mind.

A journeyman author and editor, Frank M. Robinson has worked for magazines such as Playboy, Family Weekly, Science Digest, Astounding Science Fiction, Cavalier, and Galaxy. In recent years, he has written The Dark Beyond the Stars; Pulp Culture: The Art of Science Fiction Magazines (with Lawrence Davidson - awarded Pop Culture Book of the Year in 1999 by the Independent Publishers Association); Waiting ; The Great Divide (with John F. Levin); and The Donor. Robinson has also written a number of thriller novels that have been turned into movies. These include The Power, 1968; The Glass Inferno, 1974 (filmed as The Towering Inferno); and The Fifth Missile (a.k.a. The Gold Crew), a 1986 NBC weekly movie. He currently lives in San Francisco, CA, and is busily working on his next project.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
As an "insider" history written by an sf practitioner, this volume lacks the detail of Brian Aldiss's Trillion Year Spree (LJ 11/15/86) and the provocative insight of Thomas M. Disch's The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of (LJ 4/15/98). It compensates by means of lapidary graphic design and a galaxy of prismatic magazine covers, book jackets, and film posters. In this respect, though, it faces competition from John Clute's more useful Science Fiction: The Illustrated Encyclopedia (DK, 1995). Over half of Robinson's history is devoted to U.S. genre magazines, supplemented by a brief chapter on their British counterparts. A mere two chapters encapsulate the history of genre book publishing, and the concluding chapter attempts to relate the history of genre films. Surprisingly, there are no television images. Robinson's accompanying prose is knowledgeable but freighted with a lifelong fan's nostalgia for yesteryear. A stellar gift for enthusiasts, but libraries should consider the other titles mentioned above.--Neal Baker, Earlham Coll., Richmond, IN Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Offers an insider's view of the prophetic writers, illustrators, and editors who made science fiction the most popular form of entertainment in the 20th century. Author and editor Robinson tells the story-behind-the-story from Mary Shelley's through the fantastic visions of Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Stephen Spielberg, George Lucas and a host of others, many of whom made science fiction not only their profession but their life. Extensively illustrated with reproductions of color posters. Oversize: 10.25x13<">. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Don D'Ammassa
…the book itself is a real treasure, the best of these retrospectives I've seen.
Science Fiction Chronicle
Gary K. Wolfe
As an historian, Robinson is modest and unoriginal, claiming only "to offer snapshots of [SFs] past" and beginning with the standard precursor list that includes Francis Godwin and Cyrano de Bergerac. Even here, Robinson's fondness for the pulps and their predecessors is evident, with more space devoted to Luis P. Senarens (of Frank Reade, Jr. fame) than to Cyrano, Shelley, Poe, and Verne combined. Even when discussing Wells, it's clear he can't wait to get to Frank Munsey and Hugo Gernsback, where his history really begins, and even then it's more a history of the circulation strategies and misfortunes of the various magazines than of the literature. Brief digressions describe especially influential stories such as Asimov's "Nightfall", but once Robinson moves past the pulp era his own strategy as to how to approach the literature becomes a bit shaky, as he unpredictably launches into a fairly detailed summary of a minor Charles Beaumont story from Rogue...or a totally irrelevant listing of the college degrees held by some SF authors. It's clear the book is a personal view of SF, not meant to be a literary history or a scholarly reference...As with Pulp Culture, the book lives in its stunning visuals, which for many SF readers will be more than enough to justify its cost and its limited value as a history. Robinson is so whooly, so likeably in love with the great gaudy facade of SF's publishing history that his passion is infectious, and all those old covers hold endless fascination of their own.
Locus
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781888054309
  • Publisher: Collectors Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/29/1999
  • Edition description: Limited Edition of 2000
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 14.72 (w) x 17.67 (h) x 1.38 (d)

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