The Oxford Book of Science Fiction Stories

Overview

Science fiction is one of the twentieth century's most characteristic - and dominant - literary forms. Despite critical disparagement and misunderstanding it has established itself at the heart of popular literary culture and its readers are now numbered in millions worldwide. In all its many variations, science fiction can be seen as a prominent example of 'fabril' literature - urban, disruptive, future-oriented, eager for novelty - whose central image is the 'faber' the smith or blacksmith in older usage, ...
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Overview

Science fiction is one of the twentieth century's most characteristic - and dominant - literary forms. Despite critical disparagement and misunderstanding it has established itself at the heart of popular literary culture and its readers are now numbered in millions worldwide. In all its many variations, science fiction can be seen as a prominent example of 'fabril' literature - urban, disruptive, future-oriented, eager for novelty - whose central image is the 'faber' the smith or blacksmith in older usage, extended in science fiction to mean the creator of artefacts in general: metallic, crystalline, genetic, or even social. In the quest for a respectable ancestry for SF, commentators have pointed to a range of precursors from More's Utopia of 1516 to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein 1818. But the critical historical moment came in the late nineteenth century, when the early stories of H. G. Wells began to appear against a recent background of popular 'scientific romances'. Beginning with Wells's story 'The Land Ironclads' of 1903, Tom Shippey's selection charts the development of science fiction in the twentieth century through a wide range of practitioners - well-known figures Rudyard Kipling, Arthur C. Clarke, Frederik Pohl, Brian Aldiss, Ursula Le Guin, J. G. Ballard, and Harry Harrison as well as less familiar writers, and also the most recent arrivals of the 1980s and 1990s, such as Bruce Sterling, Paul McAuley, and David Brin. Taken together, the 30 stories assembled here offer a potent blend of familiar landmarks juxtaposed with more elusive examples that even devotees may have missed. In a stimulating introduction, Professor Shippey analyses the main lines of thematic and technical development of SF over the last 90 years. The result is an outstanding anthology that will appeal to established science fiction readers as well as to students and other readers coming to the form for the first time.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Tom Shippey is a major contributor in science fiction, as well as in medieval and language studies, and his new anthology not only is useful and important, it illuminates the field with the editor's insights and selections."—James Gunn, Director, The Center for the Study of Science Fiction, University of Kansas

"A vindication for all of us [science fiction fans] who have had to defend the genre as deserving serious consideration...This book collects 30 classic science-fiction stories by some of the field's msot famous authors....It's a great selection of intelligent and intriguing work."—The Cleveland Plain Dealer

"A collection that makes us feel the uniqueness of this discipline so freshly is doing its job."—Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
These 30 SF tales, arranged chronologically from 1903 to 1990, cover a typically wide and uneven range in the genre. The omission of some authors might raise eyebrows--notably Isaac Asimov, Harlan Ellison, and Robert A. Heinlein, all known for their short fiction. Only three women are represented: C. L. Moore (whose The Piper's Son is written under the collaborative pseudonym Lewis Padgett), Ursula K. Le Guin and Racoona Sheldon (Alice Sheldon, better known under the James Tiptree Jr. pseudonym). Only Sheldon's The Screwfly Solution, a devastatingly scary story about misogyny gone mad, dates from the past 20 years, during which women have made serious progress in the genre; thus, the final third of the book is less representative than it might be. Standouts include Le Guin's 0. Henry-esque The Dowry of the Angyar, Gene Wolfe's frightening How the Whip Came Back, H. G. Wells's anticipation of modern weapons in The Land Ironclads, Thomas M. Disch's insightful Problems of Creativeness, George R.R. Martin's fascinating religious study The Way of Cross and Dragon and Frederik Pohl's The Tunnel Under the World, which opens with the now-classic line, On the morning of June 15th, Guy Burckhardt woke up screaming out of a dream. (Oct.)
Library Journal
From H.G. Wells's ``The Land Ironclads'' (1903) to David Brin's ``Piecework'' (1990), this collection of 30 sf stories gives a chronological sampling of 20th-century speculative fiction.
Booknews
A collection of 30 stories spanning the period from 1903 (H.G. Wells) to 1990 (David Brin). Shippey (English language and medieval lit., U. of Leeds) has chosen well and reflects upon the genre in a longish introduction. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780192803818
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/28/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 624
  • Sales rank: 745,120
  • Product dimensions: 7.60 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

About the Editor:
Tom Shippey is Professor of English Language and Medieval English Literature at the University of Leeds. He is the author of The Road to Middle-Earth and editor of Fictional Space: Essays on Contemporary Science Fiction.

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Table of Contents

1. The Land Ironclads, H. G. Wells
2. Finis, Frank L. Pollack
3. As easy as ABC, Rudyard Kipling
4. The Metal Man, Jack Williamson
5. A Martian Odyssey, Stanley G. Weinbaum
6. Night, John W. Campbell Jr
7. Desertion, Clifford D. Simak
8. The Piper's Son, Lewis Padgett
9. The Monster, A. E. Van Vogt
10. The Second Night of Summer, James H. Schmitz
11. Second Dawn, Arthur C. Clarke
12. Crucifixus Etiam, Walter M. Miller Jr
13. The Tunnel under the World, Frederik Pohl
14. Who can Replace a Man?, Brian Aldiss
15. Billenium, J. G. Ballard
16. The Ballad of Lost C'Mell, Cordwainer Smith
17. The Dowry of the Angyar, Ursula Le Guin
18. How Beautiful with Banners, James Blish
19. A Criminal Act, Harry Harrison
20. Problems of Creativeness, Thomas M. Disch
21. How the Whip came Back, Gene Wolfe
22. Cloak of Anarchy, Larry Niven
23. The Screwfly Solution, Norman Spinrad
24. The Way of Cross and Dragon, George R. R. Martin
25. Swarm, Bruce Sterling
26. Silicon Muse, Hilbert Schenck
27. Burning Chrome, William Gibson
28. Karl and the Ogre, Paul J. McAuley
29. Piecework, David Brin

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