Understanding Contemporary American Science Fiction

Overview

During the past 50 years American science fiction has become one of the most popular forms of fiction throughout the world. It provides the best index to the impact of all fields of science, as well as technology, on the literary and popular imaginations. Indeed, it has helped to shape the dreams that lie behind the worldwide interest in space exploration, while at the same time it has provided the cutting edge of social and political criticism and satire. Understanding Contemporary American Science Fiction ...
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Overview

During the past 50 years American science fiction has become one of the most popular forms of fiction throughout the world. It provides the best index to the impact of all fields of science, as well as technology, on the literary and popular imaginations. Indeed, it has helped to shape the dreams that lie behind the worldwide interest in space exploration, while at the same time it has provided the cutting edge of social and political criticism and satire. Understanding Contemporary American Science Fiction undertakes an overview of the field during those crucial decades when it evolved from a form of fiction in the pulp magazines to one of the most popular forms of the contemporary novel. Clareson traces the principal thematic strains of the field, from the view of a technologically triumphant humanity that foresaw nuclear holocaust and an earthy dystopia, to the rich diversity of the 1960s. Writers such as Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, John W. Campbell, Ray Bradbury, Marjorie Nicolson, Max Ehrlich, Judith Merril, and Kurt Vonnegut are featured.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Since 1959 Clareson (English, Wooster Coll.) has edited Extrapolation, the scholarly journal of science fiction. Here he guides the new reader to the genre through a list of selected works that exemplify the themes, ideas, and techniques that molded American science fiction during the critical decades from 1926 through the 1960s. The growth and variety of this material have rarely been placed in such an easily understandable scheme. A useful resource for teachers or librarians who need to flesh out a historical or thematic outline. Even faithful readers will enjoy second-guessing Clareson's choices--and he invites them to do so.-- Katherine Thorp, St. Louis Univ. Lib.
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