Science Of Science Fiction Writing / Edition 240

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Written by one of the leading authorities on writing, publishing and teaching science fiction, The Science of Science Fiction Writing offers the opportunity to share in the knowledge James Gunn has acquired over the past forty years. He reflects on the fiction-writing process and how to teach it, and the ideas he has shared with his students about how to do it effectively and how to get it published afterwards. The first section discusses why people read fiction, the parts of the short story, the strategy of the science fiction author, scene as the smallest dramatic unit, how to speak well in print, suspense in fiction, how to say the right thing, and how to give constructive criticism. The second section takes a more philosophical approach. Here, Gunn elaborates on the origins of science fiction, its definition, the worldview of science fiction, and the characters that appear in science fiction novels. The third section highlights well-known sci-fi authors: H.G. Wells, Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Henry Kuttner, C.L. Moore, and others, and the impact they have had on the development and progression of science fiction.
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Editorial Reviews

James Gunn (born 1923) is certainly a vastly experienced sf writer..he is also a well-known anthologist, so his advice here may be sager tan that to be found in most books of this type.
Sfra Review
...he [Gunn] clearly and comprehensively explains distinctive characteristics of SF...any wannabe writer could learn a lot from this readable and well-organized guide...
Science Fiction Studies
The Science of Science-Fiction Writing is a course packet for a writing course in sf, except that it is bound, cheaper than most course packets, far better proofread, scrupulous in observing copyright — and it is by James Gunn...Gunn's advice is classical, conservative, sensible, stressing character and emotional appeal...He pushes writers toward disciplined service to their audience...he should be learned from, and, if one can't go to one of his workshops, The Science of Science Fiction Writing is a fine place to study what he has to teach.
Gunn takes the reader through a careful process of writing SF...The book is very well organized...anyone with an interest in writing SF will find this book of considerable value as Gunn shares his exceptional insight into the world of SF writing.
Frederik Pohl
"I've shared the annual Lawrence Writer's Workship with Jim Gunn on and off for nearly thirty years—and many other workshops with many other leaders as well—and I've come to one simple conclusion. He's the best."
Sf Site - Trent Walters
...the number one reason to pick up The Science of Science-Fiction Writing is a most invaluable section that one wonders why more books on writing haven't included something similiar: an outline of all the advice Gunn gave during a workshop in 1998 — likely, if a writer subjected his story to the rigorous distillations here, his story would sell somewhere...It introduces and offers morsels of advice that won't be found could benefit from the sagacity of Gunn's sixty-plus years of experience.
Stanley Schmidt
Science fiction has often been criticized, especially in its early days, for an alleged tendency to neglect characterization and character development. There has been some basis in truth for this, though anyone who thinks is has always been true or always an intrinsic fault should read the chapter on characters...
5th Edition Anatomy of Wonder
The best introduction in print not only to writing but also to reading science fiction....All SF teachers, indeed any teacher of literature, will benefit from the chapters devoted to the reasons people read fiction, the anatomy of the short story, and the creation of believable characters. Gunn blends his expertise as both teacher and writer to fashion a work of value to any teacher or reader of science fiction.
Kirkus Reviews
This pragmatic overview covers virtually every important aspect of writing science fiction. Himself a prolific genre author (The Immortals, not reviewed, etc.), as well as an academic (English/Univ. of Kansas) and literary critic (The Road to Science Fiction, not reviewed), Gunn remains at the forefront of the movement to legitimize scholarly study of science fiction. The first third of his text, drawing on Gunn's years of experience teaching writing workshops, conveys his influential precepts in 11 short, useful chapters. The second section lays out his theory of science fiction as a genre. The volume concludes with concise critical biographies of H. G. Wells, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and husband-wife duo Kuttner and Moore. The variety of these three sections broadens the book's appeal beyond the science-fiction community. The material's specificity, though, still limits its usefulness for the general reader; the natural audience includes writers aiming for publication and hard-core science-fiction fans. Nevertheless, since Gunn's excellent prose never fails to engage, inform, and instruct, readers outside the target audience who happen to encounter the book will be pleasantly surprised. A valuable tool for aspiring SF authors, and a treat for fans with an appreciation for literary history and theory.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781578860111
  • Publisher: The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 11/28/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 240
  • Pages: 246
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

James Gunn, emeritus professor of English at the University of Kansas, has published 36 books and nearly 100 short stories. His novels include The Immortals, The Joy Makers, The Listeners, and The Dreamers. He has published seven collections of short stories, including Future Imperfect and Breaking Point. As a professor, he taught fiction writing and science fiction, including a long-running intensive Writers Workshop in Science Fiction. His books about science fiction include Alternate Worlds: The Illustrated History of Science Fiction, Isaac Asimov: The Foundations of Science Fiction, Inside Science Fiction, and the six-volume The Road to Science Fiction. He has now pulled together his experience in writing science fiction and helping others write fiction into The Science of Science-Fiction Writing. Gunn is the 24th writer recognized by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America as a Grand Master.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2000

    Fascinating, Instructive, and Inspiring

    Incredible! The Science of Science Fiction Writing is a sheer delight; this book could not have been better. James Gunn, longtime historian and participant in the world of science fiction, has also been one of it¿s biggest cheerleaders. Now he has put his 30 year plus experience into this truly exceptional book. Professor Gunn¿s book gives an overview of the science fiction field, a detailed history, and personally profiles some of the biggest names in the genre. While this in itself would be sufficient, more than half the book is dedicated to the writing of science fiction (or any type of fiction). Unlike most books of this type, Gunn is remarkably entertaining in his teachings, and his enthusiasm for the subject richly shines through on every page. Stephen King¿s latest book, On Writing, is another great book on the subject, yet it doesn¿t come close to Gunn¿s absorbing prose, or his ability to teach what he knows to others. This is one hell of a book, one you will find yourself returning to again and again. Thank you James Gunn!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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