terça-feira, 29 de março de 2011

Science Fiction - A Collection of critical essays

The last decade or so has seen a shift in literary taste away from the meticulous psychological realism of, say, Goodbye Columbus to the brilliant extravagances of Portnoy’s Complaint. The novels of Barth, Heller, Pynchon, and Vonnegut are symptomatic of this shift, as is the popularity of Tolkien’s epic fantasy, The Lord of the Rings. Even so conservative a group as Renaissance scholars has felt the effects of the shift in taste as the intense critical interest in Spenser’s Faerie Queene and Shakespeare’s late romances, The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest, bears witness.

Most people have a healthy love of wonder and melodrama, but for many years the accepted canons of taste, committed to rather narrow ideals of realism and an Arnoldian conception of “high seriousness,” rejected the basic stuff of romance as childish. Now, however, it has become possible for serious critics to reexamine areas of literature that formerly were ignored, and science fiction, which is perhaps the characteristic romance form of the scientific age, has been “discovered.” We do not expect romances to provide subtle psychological portraits or fully rendered images of the world as we know it. Rather, we expect to hear of marvels and adventures in strange places populated by such preternatural creatures as giants and dragons.

The essential aesthetic effect of romance is wonder, and we have only to consider the titles of some of the science‐fiction magazines such as Amazing Stories, Thrilling Wonder Stories, or Astounding Science Fiction to perceive how strongly the old hunger for the marvelous persists. Call your magic a “space warp” or a “matter transformer,” your enchanted island the planet Einstein‐ named, of course, for that quaint twentieth century physicist who thought it impossible to travel faster than lightcall your giants and dragons “extraterrestrials,” and what you have is merely the contemporary form of one of the most ancient literary kinds.



Introduction by Mark Rose

1. Backgrounds
Starting Points by Kingsley Amis
Science Fiction and Literature by Robert Conquest
The Roots of Science Fiction by Robert Scholes

2. Theory
On the Poetics of the Science Fiction Genre by Darko Suvin
The Time‐Travel Story and Related Matters of SF Structuring by Stanislaw Lem
Genre Criticism: Science Fiction and the Fantastic by Eric S. Rabkin

3. Approaches
On Science Fiction by C. S. Lewis
The Imagination of Disaster by Susan Sontag
How to Play Utopia: Some Brief Notes on the Distinctiveness of Utopian Fiction by Michael Holquist
The Apocalyptic Imagination, Science Fiction, and American Literature by David Ketterer
Science Fiction and the Future by John Huntington

Notes on the Editor and Contributors
Selected Bibliography

Science Fiction - A Collection of critical essays - Edited by Mark Rose [ Download ]