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Olaf Stapledon: Speaking for the Future

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 1

Robert Crossley

This is the first critical biography of William Olaf Stapledon, who is best remembered for the extraordinary works of speculative fiction he published between 1930 and 1950.

As a novelist, he was known as the spokesman for the Age of Einstein and has influenced writers as diverse as Virginia Woolf, Arthur C. Clarke and Doris Lessing. This book draws on a vast body of unpublished and private documents, interviews, correspondence papers and archival documents, to reveal the internal struggles that shaped Stapledon's life, and reclaim for public attention a distinctive voice of the modem era.

A pacifist in World War 1, an advocate of European unity and world government, one of the first teachers in the Workers' Educational Association, and an early protestor against apartheid, Stapledon turned utopian beliefs into practical politics. With roots in the shipping worlds of Devon, Liverpool and the Suez Canal, he was transformed from a self-described provincial on the margins of English literary and political life into a visionary idealist who attracted the attention of scientists, journalists and novelists, and given his left-wing affiliations, even the FBI.

Some of Stapledon's novels - "Last and First Men", "Star Maker", "Odd John" and "Sirius" - have gathered a passionate following and they have seldom been out of print in the last 25 years. But the personal experiences and the political commitments that shaped this creative work have until now, barely been known.

Anticipations: Essays on Early Science Fiction and its Precursors

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 2

David Seed

The essays in this book focus particularly on how early SF engages with such contemporary issues as exploration, the development of science and social planning. Although written by academics, this book is cast in an accessible style, avoiding the use of theoretical jargon.


  • "Able Mechanick": The Life and Adventures of Peter Wilkins and the Eighteenth-Century Fantastic Voyage - (1995) - essay by Paul Baines
  • Science Fiction by Gaslight: An Introduction of English-Language Science Fiction in the Nineteenth Century - (1995) - essay by Edward James
  • Frankenstein and the Origins of Science Fiction - (1995) - essay by Brian Stableford
  • From Mary Shelley to The War of the Worlds: The Thames Valley Catastrophe - (1995) - essay by Patrick Parrinder
  • Breaking the Bounds: The Rhetoric of Limits in the Works of Edgar Allan Poe, His Contemporaries and Adaptors - (1995) - essay by David Seed
  • Verne's Amazing Journeys - (1987) - essay by M. Hammerton
  • Imagining the Future: Predictive Fiction in the Nineteenth Century - (1995) - essay by Brian Nellist
  • Imagination and Inversion in Nineteenth-Century Utopian Writing - (1995) - essay by Simon Denith
  • Prediction, Programme and Fantasy in Jack London's "The Iron Heel" - (1995) - essay by Tony Barley
  • Alien Dreams: Kipling - (1995) - essay by Stephen R. L. Clark
  • Lesbians and Virgins: The New Motherhood in Herland - (1995) - essay by Val Gough

Utopian and Science Fiction by Women: Worlds of Difference

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 3

Jane L. Donawerth
Carol A. Kolmerten

This collection of eleven original essays speaks to common themes and strategies in women's writing about their different worlds, from Margaret Cavendish's seventeenth-century "Blazing World of the North Pole" to the men less' islands of the French writer Scudery to the eighteenth and nineteenth-century utopias of Shelley and Gaskell, and science fiction pulps, finishing with the more contemporary feminist fictions of Le Guin, Wittig, Piercy and Mitchison.


  • "There Goes the Neighborhood": Octavia Butler's Demand for Diversity in Utopias - (1994) - essay by Michell Erica Green
  • Consider Her Ways: The Cultural Work of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Pragmatopian Stories, 1908-1913 - (1994) - essay by Carol Farley Kessler
  • Difference and Sexual Politics in Naomi Mitchison's Solution Three - (1994) - essay by Sarah LeFanu
  • Gaskell's Feminist Utopia: The Cranfordians and the Reign of Goodwill - (1994) - essay by Rae Rosenthal
  • Islands of Felicity: Women Seeing Utopia in Seventeenth-Century France - (1994) - essay by Ruth Carver Capasso
  • Mothers and Monsters in Sarah Robinson Scott's Millenium Hall - (1994) - essay by Linda Dunne
  • Science Fiction by Women in the Early Pulps, 1926-1930 - (1994) - essay by Jane L. Donawerth
  • Subjectivity as Feminist Utopia - (1994) - essay by Jean Pfaelzer
  • Texts and Contexts: American Women Envision Utopia, 1890-1920 - (1994) - essay by Carol A. Kolmerten
  • The Frozen Landscape in Women's Utopian and Science Fiction - (1994) - essay by Naomi Jacobs
  • The Subject of Utopia: Margaret Cavendish and Her Blazing-World - (1994) - essay by Lee Cullen Khanna
  • Foreword (Utopian and Science Fiction by Women) - (1994) - essay by Susan Gubar

The Detached Retina: Aspects of SF and Fantasy

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 4

Brian W. Aldiss

In this fascinating collection of essays, one of the world's pre-eminent SF writers explores a wide range of SF and fantasy writers and writings. The contents and themes include a letter to Salvador Dali... Mary Shelley and Frankenstein... the Immanent Will and Olaf Stapledon... the work of Philip K. Dick... Theodore Hamilton Sturgeon... Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four... James Blish ... Culture: Is it worth losing your balls for?... Wells and the Leopard Lady... H. P. Lovecraft's 'The Music of Erich Zann'... Jekyll... the differences between US and UK fantasy... Anna Kavan as 'Kafka's Sister'... Campbell's Soup (Astounding Science Fiction under the editorship of John Wood Campbell)... SF's relationship to science and literature in general.

Brian Aldiss is that rare phenomenon among writers, a critic as well as a major creative force, whose contemporary novels as well as his science fiction have met with great success. This present volume may be considered as a continuation of the discourse presented in Billion Year Spree and Trillion Year Spree (written with David Wingrove). Its scope is wide, its tone humane rather than academic.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Her Progress Towards Utopia and Selected Writings

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 5

Carol Farley Kessler
Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The focus of this work is how Charlotte Perkins Gilman developed as a writer and how she imagined a full-blown utopia for women. It offers a fresh reading of Gilman's fiction and fills a void in Gilman scholarship, in feminist utopian scholarship and in American literary studies.

Shadows of the Future: H. G. Wells, Science Fiction and Prophecy

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 6

Patrick Parrinder

H. G. Wells - inventor of the concept of the time machine and the phrase "the shape of things to come" - described his life's work as one of critical anticipation. This book unravels the complex layers of meaning in "The Time Machine", and shows how, throughout his life, he sought to exploit the potential of literary and cultural prophecy in new ways.

Described by John Middleton Murry as "the last prophet of bourgeois Europe", he was its first futurologist. In "Shadows of the Future", Wells's assumption of the prophet's role is related to his championing of the modern scientific outlook, and to the theory and practice of science fiction and utopian literature. Parrinder explores the connections between novelty and repetition, between imagining the future and imagining the past, and between prophecy and parody as literary modes. Wells's science fiction is reexamined both as a projection of the cosmology implicit in the writings of Darwin and Huxley, and as a new variation on the Romantic and Enlightenment themes of such earlier authors as Blake, Gibbon and Mary Shelley. Later chapters relate Wells's fiction to his nonfiction and look at the uneasy relationship of his utopianism to literary prophecy, and at the paradoxes inherent in the militant internationalism of the "prophet at large". Finally, Well's influence is traced in a study of the antiutopian fictions in Zamayatin and Orwell, and in a broad account of the connections between science fiction and the scientific outlook down to our time.

Tales of the Next Great War, 1871-1914: Future Warfare and of Battles Still-to-Come

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 7

I. F. Clarke

This selection of short stories offers a return journey through the future as it used to be. Time speeds backwards to the 1870s - to the alpha point of modern futuristic fiction - the opening years of that enchanted period before the First World War when Jules Verne, H. G. Wells and many able writers delighted readers from Sydney to Seattle with their most original revelations of things-to-come. In all their anticipations, the dominant factor was the recognition that the new industrial societies would continue to evolve in obedience to the rate of change. One major event that caused all to think furiously about the future was the Franco-German War of 1870. The new weapons and the new methods of army organization had shown that the conduct of warfare was changing; and, in response to that perception of change, a new form of fiction took on the task of describing the conduct of the war-to-come.


  • 1 - Introduction: The Paper Warriors and Their Fights of Fantasy - (1995) - essay by I. F. Clarke
  • 27 - The Battle of Dorking: Reminiscences of a Volunteer - (1871) - novella by George Tomkyns Chesney
  • 74 - The Battle of Dorking - (1871) - poem by Anonymous
  • 77 - Der Ruhm, or, The Wreck of German Unity. The Narrative of a Brandenburger Hauptmann - (1871) - shortstory by Anonymous
  • 95 - War in the Twentieth Century - [Le vingtième siècle / The Twentieth Century - 2] - (1995) - shortstory by Albert Robida (trans. of La Guerre au vingtième siècle 1887)
  • 113 - The Taking of Dover (excerpt) - (1888) - shortfiction by Horace Francis Lester
  • 139 - In a Conning Tower: How I Took HMS Majestic Into Action - (1888) - novelette by Hugh Oakley Arnold-Foster
  • 162 - The Stricken Nation (excerpt) - (1890) - shortfiction by Hugh Grattan Donnelly
  • 193 - The Raid of Le Vengeur - (1901) - shortstory by George Griffith
  • 210 - The Green Curve - (1909) - novelette by Ole-Luk-Oie [as by Ernest Swinton ]
  • 234 - The Trenches - (1908) - shortstory by C. E. Vickers
  • 251 - The Secret of the Army Aeroplane - (1909) - shortstory by A. A. Milne
  • 257 - The Unparalleled Invasion - (1910) - shortstory by Jack London
  • 271 - A Vision of the Future - (1912) - shortstory by Gustaf Janson
  • 281 - Planes! - (1913) - shortstory by F. Britten Austin [as by Frederick Britten Austin ]
  • 293 - Danger!: Being the Log of Captain John Sirius - (1914) - novelette by Arthur Conan Doyle (variant of Danger!)
  • 321 - Frankreichs Ende im Jahr 19?? (excerpt) - (1995) - novelette by Adolf Sommerfeld

Female Rule in Chinese and English Literary Utopias

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 9

Qingyun Wu

Qingyun Wu's work is a unique discovery in literary studies in the West: Chinese utopian literature paired with its English counterparts form an original and valuable contribution to world literature. In widely varying historical and cultural texts which span the 16th to the 20th century, Wu analyses the theme of female rule, including critique of patriarchy and emphasising a vision for women. Writers whose works are examined include Edward Spenser (The Faerie Queen), Luo Maodeng (Sanbao's Expeditions to the Western Ocean), Florence Dixie, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Ursula K. Le Guin, Chen Duansheng, Li Ruzhen and Bai Hua.

Look at the Evidence: Essays and Reviews

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 10

John Clute

"Look at the Evidence" assembles work from many British and American newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals and books. Almost all the material presented deals with the period 1987 1992, a period during which science fiction faced huge challenges and new science fiction proliferated. "Look at the Evidence" represents a seismograph of the radical changes in the SF genre, from the long demise of First SF to the growth of the fable of exogamy.


  • 56 Reviews (various books) - (unknown) - essay
  • xi - Preface (Look at the Evidence) - (1995) - essay
  • 3 - Necessary Golems - (1992) - essay
  • 8 - Pilgrim Award Acceptance Speech - (1994) - essay
  • 17 - Year Roundup: Science Fiction Novels of the Year - (1988) - essay
  • 28 - Marching Initials - (1987) - essay
  • 32 - Big Brothers Watch Avalon - (1987) - essay
  • 35 - Plug Your Ears, It's Paxwax! - (1987) - essay
  • 40 - Mimesis Chills Out - (1988) - essay
  • 75 - Year Roundup: Science Fiction Novels of the Year - (1989) - essay
  • 86 - A Protocol of Candour, with Victims - (1988) - essay
  • 90 - Trinities - (1988) - essay
  • 97 - Space Aria Caught in Larynx, Thousands Flee - (1988) - essay
  • 101 - Romancing the Stilts - (1989) - essay
  • 105 - A Worm in the Opera - (1989) - essay
  • 109 - Instruments of Love - (1989) - essay
  • 139 - Year Roundup: Science Fiction Novels of the Year - (1990) - essay
  • 149 - New Found Lands - (1989) - essay
  • 153 - Century Migraine - (1989) - essay
  • 157 - Razor Dancing - (1989) - essay
  • 162 - Makers' Dice - (1992) - essay
  • 166 - Guards, Unicorns, Zool - (1990) - essay
  • 170 - A Sperm Called Trilogy - (1990) - essay
  • 173 - Heart Gravel - (1990) - essay
  • 195 - Year Roundup: SF Novels of the Year - (1991) - essay
  • 207 - Flopsy, Dropsy, Cottontail - (1990) - essay
  • 211 - Oh, Good - (1990) - essay
  • 215 - True and Blushful Chutzpah - (1990) - essay
  • 223 - Mine! All Mine! - (1990) - essay
  • 225 - Thomas Alva Edison Be Proud - (1990) - essay
  • 230 - Angel Tricks - (1990) - essay
  • 234 - Vive? - (1991) - essay
  • 238 - End Gait - (1991) - essay
  • 241 - Sounding Hollow - (1991) - essay
  • 246 - The Captain Habit - (1991) - essay
  • 277 - Year Roundup: Science Fiction Novels of the Year - (1993) - essay
  • 288 - Use of Cormorants - (1991) - essay
  • 292 - Chaos Seen - (1991) - essay
  • 295 - No Wonder - (1991) - essay
  • 301 - Grail Plate Sieve - (1991) - essay
  • 305 - House of Card - (1991) - essay
  • 310 - from Vive? - (1991) - essay
  • 311 - Templars - (1991) - essay
  • 316 - Punner at the Wheel - (1991) - essay
  • 319 - Gods and Sods - (1991) - essay
  • 355 - Year Roundup: Is Science Fiction Out to Lunch? Some Thoughts on the Year 1992 - (1994) - essay
  • 362 - Welcome from the Zones of Thought - (1992) - essay
  • 367 - The Whips of Disenchantment and the Death of Ire and Bats - (1992) - essay
  • 373 - Come, Adam, This Time The Berries Are Sweet - (1992) - essay
  • 379 - Puppet Dark - (1992) - essay
  • 383 - Mars Joins the Human Race - (1992) - essay
  • 388 - Beaks and Saws - (1992) - essay
  • 393 - Thin Ice, Sun Burns - (1992) - essay
  • 395 - Teething the Gap - (1993) - essay
  • 399 - Exogamy Dentata - (1993) - essay
  • 408 - Bat the Snatcher and the Porcine Undeads - (1993) - essay
  • 420 - On the Arthur C. Clarke Award - (1993) - essay
  • 427 - Karel Capek - (1990) - essay
  • 430 - M. John Harrison - (1989) - essay
  • 435 - Aldous Huxley - (1993) - essay
  • 438 - Introduction (The White Dominican) - (1994) - essay
  • 443 - Introduction (The Architect of Ruins) - (1992) - essay
  • 447 - Introduction (Her Smoke Rose Up Forever) - (1990) - essay

The Angle Between Two Walls: The Fiction of J. G. Ballard

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 11

Roger Luckhurst

Does the Angle Between Two Walls have a Happy Ending?

J. G. Ballard has both been declared Britain's most important living novelist and dismissed as a marginal figure "beyond psychiatric help". He has earned praise and condemnation, written bestsellers and obscure avant-garde works, gained coveted prizes and prosecutions for obscenity. For forty years, his extraordinary work has moved between science fiction, apocalyptic visions, autobiography and fictions of the contemporary urban landscape. Prophet or pervert? How are we to judge his work?

In this book, Roger Luckhurst reads Ballard's fiction within a series of contexts, skillfully negotiating literary, philosophical and historical terrains in order to illustrate Ballard's central works. Luckhurst suggests that the extremity of the responses to texts such as The Atrocity Exhibition and Crash is a product of Ballard's occupation of an "impossible" space in the mechanisms that dictate literary judgements. At once science fiction and mainstream, popular and avant-garge, Ballard is seen as being in the 'angle between two walls". His fictions are awkward and provoking, it is suggested, in forcing us to confront the frameworks in which we come to judge the literary.

The Great War with Germany, 1890-1914: Fictions and Fantasies of the War-to-Come

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 12

I. F. Clarke

In the second of a series of anthologies on future war stories, the leading specialist in the field presents a selection of prophetic tales about the conflict-to-come between the British and the Germans, tales which had immense influence in the quarter-century before the First World War. An extensive range of contemporary illustrations is included.


  • 1 - 'Horribly Stuffed with Epithets of War' - essay by I. F. Clarke
  • 29 - The Great War of 198- (excerpt) - (1893) - shortfiction by Colonel J. F. Maurice, R. A. and Rear-Admiral P. Colomb and Captain F. N. Maude and Archibald Forbes and Charles Lowe and D. Christie Murray and F. Scudamore
  • 72 - The Final War (excerpt) - (1896) - shortfiction by Louis Tracy
  • 80 - The Spies of the Wight (excerpt) - (1899) - shortfiction by Headon Hill
  • 87 - Die Abrechnung mit England (excerpt) - (1900) - shortfiction by Karl Eisenhart
  • 102 - The Invaders (excerpt) - (1901) - shortfiction by Louis Tracy
  • 108 - The Enemy in Our Midst (excerpt) - (1903) - shortfiction by Walter Wood
  • 116 - The Riddle of the Sands (excerpt) - (1903) - shortfiction by Erskine Childers
  • 129 - A New Trafalgar (excerpt) - (1902) - shortfiction by A. C. Curtis
  • 139 - The Invasion of 1910 (excerpt) - (1906) - shortfiction by William Le Queux
  • 152 - When the Eagle Flies Seaward (excerpt) - (1907) - shortfiction by Patrick Vaux and Lionel Yexley
  • 167 - The Death Trap (excerpt) - (1907) - shortfiction by Robert W. Cole (variant of The Death Trap (Extract)) [as by Robert William Cole ]
  • 178 - The Child's Guide to Knowledge - (1909) - shortstory by Anonymous
  • 183 - The Coming Conquest of England (excerpt) - (1906) - shortfiction by August Niemann
  • 201 - Armageddon 190- (excerpt) - (1907) - shortfiction by Ferdinand Heinrich Grautoff [as by Seestern ]
  • 225 - Die 'Offensiv-Invasion' gegen England (excerpt) - (1907) - shortfiction by Karl Bliebtreu
  • 233 - Berlin-Bagdad: Das Deutsche Weltreich im Zeitalter der Luftschifffahrt, 1910-1931 (excerpt) - (1907) - shortfiction by Rudolf Martin
  • 249 - The Real Le Queux (excerpt) - (1938) - shortfiction by N. St. Barbe Sladen
  • 256 - Before the Lights Went Out (excerpt) - (1945) - shortfiction by Esmé Wingfield-Stratford
  • 256 - Bouquets for Fleet Street (excerpt) - (1951) - shortfiction by Bernard Falk
  • 258 - About German Spies - (1910) - essay by Charles Lowe
  • 276 - The Essence of Parliament - (1908) - shortstory by Anonymous
  • 278 - Les Fictions guerrières anglaises - (1910) - essay by Louis C.
  • 281 - Incidents of the Coming Invasion of England (cartoon) - (1910) - interior artwork by W. Heath Robinson
  • 293 - Die Invasion Englands in englischer Belechtung - (1908) - essay by Anonymous
  • 296 - Vademecum für Phantasiestrategen - (1908) - essay by Carl Siwinna
  • 313 - The Swoop! or, How Clarence Saved England (excerpt) - (1909) - shortfiction by P. G. Wodehouse
  • 326 - The Boy Galloper (excerpt) - (1903) - shortfiction by L. James
  • 339 - The Message (excerpt) - (1907) - shortfiction by A. J. Dawson
  • 356 - When England Slept - (1909) - shortstory by Capt. H. Curties
  • 363 - The North Sea Bubble - (1906) - shortstory by Ernest Oldmeadow
  • 368 - When William Came (excerpt) - (1913) - shortfiction by Saki
  • 377 - The Cliffs - (1909) - poem by Charles Doughty
  • 381 - The Battle of the North Sea (excerpt) - (1912) - shortfiction by Rear Admiral Eardley-Wilmot
  • 385 - 'Sink, Burn, Destroy': Der Schlag gegen Deutschland (excerpt) - (1905) - shortfiction by Anonymous
  • 390 - The Germans in Hampton Court (excerpt) - (1904) - shortfiction by August Niemann
  • 398 - 100 Jahre deutsche Zukunft (excerpt) - (1913) - shortfiction by Max Heinrichka
  • 408 - Hindenburgs Einmarsch in London (excerpt) - (1915) - shortfiction by Paul Georg Münch
  • 413 - America Fallen (excerpt) - (1915) - shortfiction by J. Bernard Walker
  • 413 - Epilogue: Meanwhile, Across the Atlantic - essay by I. F. Clarke
  • 413 - Introduction (America Fallen by J. Bernard Walker) - (1915) - essay by George Haven Putnam
  • 422 - Notes (The Great War with Germany, 1890-1914) - essay by I. F. Clarke

View From Another Shore: European Science Fiction 2nd edition

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 13

Franz Rottensteiner


  • Introduction (View from Another Shore, 2nd edition) - essay by Franz Rottensteiner
  • 1 - In Hot Pursuit of Happiness - [Cyberiada (The Cyberiad)] - (1973) - novelette by Stanislaw Lem (trans. of Kobyszcze 1971) [as by Stanislaw Lem ]
  • 42 - The Valley of Echoes - (1973) - shortstory by Gérard Klein (trans. of La vallée des échos 1959)
  • 51 - Observation of Quadragnes - (1971) - shortstory by Jean-Pierre Andrevon (trans. of Observation des Quadranges) [as by J. P. Andrevon ]
  • 69 - The Good Ring - (1970) - shortstory by Svend Åge Madsen (trans. of Den gode ring)
  • 82 - Slum - (1970) - shortstory by Herbert W. Franke (trans. of In den Slums)
  • 87 - The Land of Osiris - (1985) - novella by Wolfgang Jeschke (trans. of Osiris Land 1982)
  • 143 - Captain Nemo's Last Adventure - (1973) - novelette by Josef Nesvadba (trans. of Posledni dobrodruzství kapitána Nemo 1964)
  • 167 - The Altar of the Random Gods - (1973) - shortstory by Adrian Rogoz (trans. of Altarul zeilor stohastici 1970)
  • 175 - Good Night, Sophie - (1973) - novelette by Lino Aldani (trans. of Buonanotte Sofia 1963)
  • 198 - The Proving Ground - (1973) - novelette by Sever Gansovsky (trans. of ??????? 1966)
  • 215 - Sisyphus, the Son of Aeolus - (1973) - shortstory by Vsevolod Ivanov (trans. of ? 1964)
  • 233 - A Modest Genius - (1973) - shortstory by Vadim Shefner (trans. of ? 1963)

Very Different Story: Studies on the Fiction of Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 14

Jill Rudd
Val Gough

Almost all Gilman's work asserts optimistically the possibility for utopian change, yet ironically she is probably most widely celebrated for her darkly tragic story The Yellow Wallpaper. The focus of this essay collection is Gilman's utopianism. Her best-known and critically addressed novel is Herland, and several contributors revisit it in order to deepen our understanding of the complexity of Gilman's utopian vision. The lesser-known Moving the Mountain - deserving of more attention than it has received - is the subject of a full essay, and other essays explore utopian ideas in Gilman's short stories.

The Mechanics of Wonder: The Creation of the Idea in Science Fiction

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 15

Gary Westfahl

This is a sustained argument about the idea of science fiction by a renowned critic. Overturning many received opinions, it is both controversial and stimulating

Much of the controversy arises from Westfahl's resurrection of Hugo Gernsback - for decades a largely derided figure - as the true creator of science fiction. Following an initial demolition of earlier critics, Westfahl argues for Gernsback's importance. His argument is fully documented, showing a much greater familiarity with early American science fiction, particularly magazine fiction, than previous academic critics or historians. After his initial chapters on Gernsback, he examines the way in which the Gernsback tradition was adopted and modified by later magazine editors and early critics. This involves a re-evaluation of the importance of John W. Campbell to the history of science fiction as well as a very interesting critique of Robert Heinlein's Beyond the Horizon, one the seminal texts of American science fiction. In conclusion, Westfahl uses the theories of Gernsback and Campbell to develop a descriptive definition of science fiction and he explores the ramifications of that definition.

The Mechanics of Wonder will arouse debate and force the questioning of presuppositions. No other book so closely examines the origins and development of the idea of science fiction, and it will stand among a small number of crucial texts with which every science fiction scholar or prospective science fiction scholar will have to read.

Deconstructing the Starships: Science, Fiction and Reality

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 16

Gwyneth Jones

The subject matter of this collection is varied, but displays Jones' stance as a practicing SF writer and a feminist; the writing is characterized by both an incisive engagement with the texts and a refusal to dress that engagement in jargon. This very readable book provides insight into the work of one of the UK's most interesting writers and presents strong - sometimes even subversive - views of a range of modern SF and fantasy.


  • vii - Foreword (Deconstructing the Starships) - essay
  • 3 - Introduction (Deconstructing the Starships) - (1988) - essay
  • 9 - Getting Rid of the Brand Names - (1987) - essay
  • 22 - The Lady and the Scientists - (1990) - essay
  • 35 - Dreamer: An Exercise in Extrapolation 1989-2019 - (unknown) - essay
  • 60 - My Crazy Uncles: C. S. Lewis and Tolkien as Writers for Children - (1995) - essay
  • 77 - Fools: The Neuroscience of Cyberspace - (1997) - essay
  • 91 - Trouble (Living in the Machine) - (1994) - essay
  • 99 - Sex: The Brains of Female Hyena Twins - (1994) - essay
  • 108 - Aliens in the Fourth Dimension - (1996) - essay
  • 123 - Review: In the Chinks of the World Machine by Sarah LeFanu - (1988) - review
  • 131 - Consider Her Ways: The Fiction of C. J. Cherryh - (unknown) - essay
  • 141 - Review: Alien Sex by Ellen Datlow - (1990) - review
  • 146 - Review: Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson - (1992) - review
  • 153 - Review: Glory Season by David Brin - (1993) - review
  • 156 - Review: Virtual Light by William Gibson - review
  • 161 - Review: A Million Open Doors by John Barnes - review
  • 168 - Review: Winterlong by Elizabeth Hand - review
  • 178 - Review: Plague of Angels by Sheri S. Tepper - review
  • 184 - Review: The Furies by Suzy McKee Charnas - (1994) - review
  • 192 - Review: Alien Influences by Kristine Kathryn Rusch - review
  • 199 - No Man's Land: Feminised Landscapes in the Utopian Fiction of Ursula Le Guin - (1996) - essay
  • 209 - Notes (Deconstructing the Starships) - essay

Learning from Other Worlds: Estrangement, Cognition, and the Politics of SF

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 17

Patrick Parrinder

Learning from Other Worlds provides both a portrait of the development of science fiction criticism as an intellectual field and a definitive look at the state of science fiction studies today. Its title refers to the essence of "cognitive estrangement" in relation to science fiction and utopian fiction--the assertion that by imagining strange worlds we learn to see our own world in a new perspective. Acknowledging an indebtedness to the groundbreaking work of Darko Suvin and his belief that the double movement of estrangement and cognition reflects deep structures of human storytelling, the contributors assert that learning-from-otherness is as natural and inevitable a process as the instinct for imitation and representation that Aristotle described in his Poetics.

In exploring the relationship between imaginative invention and that of allegory or fable, the essays in Learning from Other Worlds comment on the field's most abiding concerns and employ a variety of critical approaches--from intellectual history and genre studies to biographical criticism, feminist cultural studies, and political textual analysis. Among the topics discussed are the works of John Wyndham, Kim Stanley Robinson, Stanislau Lem, H.G. Wells, and Ursula Le Guin, as well as the media's reactions to the 1997 cloning of Dolly the Sheep. Darko Suvin's characteristically outspoken and penetrating afterword responds to the essays in the volume and offers intimations of a further stage in his long and distinguished career.

This useful compendium and companion offers a coherent view of science fiction studies as it has evolved while paying tribute to the debt it owes Suvin, one of its first champions. As such, it will appeal to critics and students of science fiction, utopia, and fantasy writing.


  • 1 - Introduction (Learning from Other Worlds) - (1999) - essay by Patrick Parrinder
  • 19 - Before the Novum: The Prehistory of Science Fiction Criticism - (1999) - essay by Edward James
  • 36 - Revisiting Suvin's Poetics of Science Fiction - (1999) - essay by Patrick Parrinder
  • 51 - 'Look into the Dark': On Dystopia and the Novum - (1999) - essay by Tom Moylan
  • 72 - Science Fiction and Utopia: A Historico-Philosophical Overview - (1999) - essay by Carl Freedman
  • 98 - Society after the Revolution: The Blueprints for the Forthcoming Socialist Society published by the Leaders of the Second International - (1999) - essay by Marc Angenot
  • 119 - From the Images of Science to Science Fiction - (1999) - essay by Gérard Klein
  • 127 - Estranged Invaders: The War of the Worlds - (1999) - essay by Peter Fitting
  • 146 - 'A part of the... family [?]': John Wyndham's The Midwich Cuckoos as Estranged Autobiography - (1999) - essay by David Ketterer
  • 178 - Labyrinth, Double and Mask in the Science Fiction of Stanislaw Lem - (1999) - essay by Rafail Nudelman
  • 193 - 'We're at the Start of a New Ball Game and That's Why We're All Real Nervous': Or, Cloning - Technological Cognition Reflects Estrangement from Women - (1999) - essay by Marleen S. Barr
  • 208 - 'If I find one good city I will spare the man': Realism and Utopia in Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy - (1999) - essay by Fredric Jameson
  • 233 - Afterword: With Sober, Estranged Eyes - (1999) - essay by Darko Suvin
  • 272 - Checklist of Printed Items that Concern Science Fiction (with Utopian Fiction or Utopianism, and a few Bordering Items) - (1999) - essay by Darko Suvin

Demand My Writing: Joanna Russ/Feminism/Science Fiction

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 18

Jeanne Cortiel

In this major study of the work of Joanna Russ, Jeanne Cortiel gives a clear introduction to the major feminist issues relevant to Russ's work and assesses its development. The book will be especially valuable for students of SF and feminist SF, especially in its concern with the function of woman-based intertextuality. Although Cortiel deals principally with Russ's novels, she also examines her short stories, and the focus on critically neglected texts is a particularly valuable feature of the study.

Narrating Utopia: Ideology, Gender, Form in Utopian Literature

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 19

Chris Ferns

Utopian societies exhibit a variety of ways of organizing the financial, political and emotional relationships between people. For all this diversity, however, one thing that exhibits far less variation is the story, the framing narrative that accounts for how the narrator reaches the more perfect society and obtains the opportunity to witness its distinctive excellences. Narrating Utopia is about that story, the curious hybrid of the traveler's tale and the classical dialogue that emerges in the Renaissance, but whose outlines remain clearly apparent even in some of the most recent utopian writing.

Jules Verne: Narratives of Modernity

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 20

Edmund Smyth

Although critics continue to debate whether Jules Verne's work is true science fiction (SF), rather than scientific romance, Verne is widely credited as one of the founders of the genre and in the popular imagination, he and SF are seen as largely synonomous. Verne has received renewed attention since the publication in 1994 of his Paris au Vingtieme Siecle, and this has highlighted his importance as a key commentator on the anguishes of modernity.


  • 1 - Verne, SF, and Modernity: an Introduction - (2000) - essay by Edmund J. Smyth
  • 11 - Jules Verne and the French Literary Canon - (2000) - essay by Arthur B. Evans
  • 40 - Jules Verne and the Limitations of Literature - (2000) - essay by Daniel Compère
  • 46 - The Fiction of Science, or the Science of Fiction - (2000) - essay by Timothy Unwin
  • 60 - 'L'Ici-bas' and 'L'Au-delà' ...But Not as They Knew it. Realism, Utopianism and Science Fiction in the Novels of Jules Verne - (2000) - essay by Sarah Capitanio
  • 78 - A Hitchhiker's Guide to Paris: Paris au XXe siècle - (2000) - essay by David Platten
  • 94 - Future Past: Myth, Inversion and Regression in Verne's Underground Utopia - (2000) - essay by David Meakin
  • 109 - Measurement and Mystery in Verne - (2000) - essay by Trevor Harris
  • 122 - The Science is Fiction: Jules Verne, Raymond Roussel, and Surrealism - (2000) - essay by Terry Hale and Andrew Hugill
  • 142 - Mysterious Masterpiece - (2000) - essay by William Butcher

Speaking Science Fiction: Dialogues and Interpretations

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 21

David Seed
Andy Sawyer

This wide-ranging volume explores the various dialogues that flourish between different aspects of science fiction: academics and fans, writers and readers; ideological stances and national styles; different interpretations of the genre; and how language and 'voices' are used in constructing SF. Introduced by the acclaimed novelist Brian W. Aldiss, the essays range from studies of writers such as Robert A. Heinlein, who are considered as the "heart" of the genre, to more contemporary writers such as Jack Womack and J. G. Ballard.


  • 1 - Introduction (Speaking Science Fiction) - essay by Brian W. Aldiss
  • 5 - Who Speaks Science Fiction? - essay by Andy Sawyer
  • 11 - Science Fiction Dialogues - essay by David Seed
  • 21 - Speaking of HomePlace, Speaking from SomePlace - essay by Candas Jane Dorsey
  • 32 - Speaking Science Fiction - Out of Anxiety? - essay by Josef Nesvadba
  • 40 - Science Fiction as Language: Postmodernism and Mainstream: Some Reflections - essay by José Manuel Mota
  • 52 - 'Fantastic Dialogues': Critical Stories about Feminism and Science Fiction - essay by Helen Merrick
  • 69 - Vicissitudes of the Voice, Speaking Science Fiction - essay by Roger Luckhurst
  • 82 - 'A Language of the Future': Discursive Constructions of the Subject in A Clockwork Orange and Random Acts of Senseless Violence - essay by Veronica Hollinger
  • 96 - Speaking the Body: The Embodiment of 'Feminist' Cyberpunk - essay by Bronwen Calvert and Sue Walsh
  • 109 - Bodies that Speak Science Fiction: Stelarc - Performance Artist 'Becoming Posthuman' - essay by Ross Farnell
  • 131 - Science Fiction and the Gender of Knowledge - essay by Brian Attebery
  • 144 - Corporatism and the Corporate Ethos in Robert Heinlein's 'The Roads Must Roll' - essay by Farah Mendlesohn
  • 158 - Convention and Displacement: Narrator, Narratee, and Virtual Reader in Science Fiction - essay by George E. Slusser and Danièle Chatelain [as by Danièle Chatelain and George Slusser ]
  • 179 - Aphasia and Mother Tongue: Themes of Language Creation and Silence in Women's Science Fiction - essay by Nickianne Moody
  • 188 - 'My Particular Virus': (Re-)Reading Jack Womack's Dryco Chronicles - essay by Andrew M. Butler
  • 201 - Aliens in the Fourth Dimension - (1996) - essay by Gwyneth Jones
  • 216 - Freefall in Inner Space: From Crash to Crash Technology - Simon Sellars - shortfiction by Simon Sellars

Alien Plots: Female Subjectivity and the Divine

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 22

Inez van der Spek

Alien Plots - Female Subjectivity and the Divine in the Light of James Tiptree's 'A Momentary Taste of Being'

At the heart of this stimulating and provocative study is a science fiction story by James Tiptree Jr (Alice Sheldon-Bradley) about a brother and a sister (and 58 other human beings) who encounter an alien while on a starship travelling to discover a habitable planet.

The book includes an outline of Tiptree's work and of her remarkable life as the only child of jungle explorers, as a painter, an American agent during and after World War II, an experimental psychologist, and a female science fiction writer in male disguise.

Ramsey Campbell and Modern Horror Fiction

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 23

S. T. Joshi

Ramsey Campbell is one of the world's leading writers of supernatural stories, although he has received far less attention than other practitioners of the genre. Joshi focuses in a thematic rather than chronological approach on the whole of Campbell's rich and varied work, from his early tales to the powerfully innovative stories collected in Demons by Daylight: The Doll Who Ate His Mother (1975) to Silent Children (1999) are also examined in detail. Throughout this book, the author places Campbell's oeuvre within the context of contemporary horror literature.

The Time Machines: The S-F Pulp Magazines, the Beginning to 1950

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 24

Mike Ashley

Originally conceived as a trilogy, this is the first of five volumes that chart the history of the science fiction magazine from the earliest days to the present. This first volume looks at the exuberant years of the pulp magazines. It traces the growth and development of the science fiction magazines from when Hugo Gernsback launched the very first, Amazing Stories, in 1926 through to the birth of the atomic age and the death of the pulps in the early 1950s. These were the days of the youth of science fiction, when it was brash, raw and exciting: the days of the first great space operas by Edward Elmer Smith and Edmond Hamilton, through the cosmic thought variants by Murray Leinster, Jack Williamson and others to the early 1940s when John W. Campbell at Astounding did his best to nurture the infant genre into adulthood. Under him such major names as Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, A. E. van Vogt and Theodore Sturgeon emerged who, along with other such new talents as Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke, helped create modern science fiction. For over forty years magazines were at the heart of science fiction and this book considers how the magazines, and their publishers, editors and authors influenced the growth and perception of this fascinating genre.

Communities of the Heart: The Rhetoric of Myth in the Fiction of Le Guin

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 25

Warren G. Rochelle

This book explores the use of imaginative literature as persuasion, focusing on the science fiction of Ursula Le Guin and her rhetorical use of myth. The author concludes that Le Guin (like Emerson, Peirce, Thoreau, Whitman, and Dewey) is a romantic/pragmatic rhetorician. In that sense, she is arguing for what Vico argued for in the eighteenth century: that knowledge should be seen and studied as an integrated whole, and that Cartesian thinking is only part of how humans make meaning.

Philip K Dick: Exhilaration and Terror of the Postmodern

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 26

Christopher Palmer

Once the sole possession of fans and buffs, the SF author Philip K Dick is now finding a much wider audience, as the success of the films Blade Runner and Minority Report shows. The kind of world he predicted in his funny and frightening novels and stories is coming closer to most of us: shifting realities, unstable relations, uncertain moralities. Philip K Dick: Exhilaration and Terror of the Postmodern examines a wide range of Dick's work, including his short stories and posthumously published realist novels. Christopher Palmer analyses the puzzling and dazzling effects of Dick's fiction, and argues that at its heart is a clash between exhilarating possibilities of transformation, and a frightening lack of ethical certainties. Dick's work is seen as the inscription of his own historical predicament, the clash between humanism and postmodernism being played out in the complex forms of the fiction. The problem is never resolved, but Dick's ways of imagining it become steadily more ingenious and challenging.

A Dreamer and a Visionary: H. P. Lovecraft in His Time

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 27

S. T. Joshi

H. P. Lovecraft has come to be recognized as the leading author of supernatural fiction in the twentieth century. But how did a man who died in poverty, with no book of his stories published in his lifetime, become such an icon in horror literature?

S. T. Joshi, the leading authority on Lovecraft, traces in detail the course of Lovecraft's life and shows how Lovecraft was engaged in the political, economic, social and intellectual currents of his time.

Rumors of War and Infernal Machines: Technomilitary Agenda-Setting in S-F

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 28

Charles E. Gannon

Rumors of War and Infernal Machines: Technomilitary Agenda-setting in American and British Speculative Fiction

This provocative and unique work reveals the remarkably influential role of futuristic literature on contemporary political power in America. Tracing this phenomenon from its roots in Victorian Britain, Rumors of War and Infernal Machines offers a fascinating exploration of how fictional speculations on emergent or imaginary military technologies profoundly influence the political agendas and actions of modern superpower states. Gannon convincingly demonstrates that military fiction anticipated and even influenced the evolution of the tank, the development of the airplane, and also the bitter political battles within Britain's War Office and the Admiralty.

In the United States, future-fictions and Cold-War thrillers were an officially acknowledged factor in the Pentagon's research and development agendas, and often gave rise_and shape_to the nation's strategic development of technologies as diverse as automation, atomic weaponry, aerospace vehicles, and the Strategic Defense Initiative ('Star Wars'). His book reveals a striking relationship between the increasing political influence of speculative military fiction and the parallel rise of superpower states and their technocentric ideologies.

With its detailed political, historical, and literary analysis of U.S. and British fascination with hi-tech warfare, this lively and revealing study will appeal to students, literary and cultural scholars, military and history enthusiasts, and general readers.

Attending Daedalus: Gene Wolfe, Artifice and the Reader

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 29

Peter Wright

This new study of the fiction of Gene Wolfe, one of the most influential contemporary American science fiction writers, offers a major reinterpretation of Gene Wolfe's four-volume The Book of the New Sun and its sequel The Urth of the New Sun. After exposing the concealed story at the heart of Wolfe's magnum opus, Wright adopts a variety of approaches to establish that Wolfe is the designer of an intricate textual labyrinth intended to extend his thematic preoccupations with subjectivity, the unreliability of memory, the manipulation of individuals by social and political systems, and the psychological potency of myth, faith and symbolism into the reading experience.

Transformations: The S-F Magazines from 1950 to 1970

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 30

Mike Ashley

This is the second volume, which charts the history of the science fiction magazine from the earliest days to the present. The first volume Time Machines traced the development of the sf magazine from its earliest days and the creation of the first specialist magazine, Amazing Stories. Transformations takes up the story to reveal a turbulent period that was to witness the extraordinary rise and fall and rise again of science. Britain's foremost sf historian, Mike Ashley charts the sf boom years in the wake of the nuclear age that was to see the 'The Golden Age' of Science Fiction with the emergence of magazines such as Galaxy, Startling Stories and Fantastic, as well as authors like Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick and Frank Herbert. He then goes on to explore the bust years of 1954-1960 followed by the renaissance in the 1960s led by the new wave of British authors like Michael Moorcock and J.G. Ballard and the rise in interest of fantasy fiction, encouraged by Lord of the Rings and the Conan books of Robert E. Howard. Transformations concludes with an examination of the new found interest in sf magazines during the late 1960s and the incredibly influential roles Star Treck , the film 2001: A Space Odyssey and, above all, the first manned Moon landing played in transforming the sf magazine.

The Country You Have Never Seen: Essays and Reviews

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 31

Joanna Russ

In 1959, at the age of 22, Joanna Russ published her first science fiction story, "Nor Custom Stale," in The Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy. In the forty-five years since, Russ has continued to write some of the most popular, creative, and important novels and stories in science fiction. She was a central figure, along with contemporaries Ursula K. Le Guin and James Tiptree, in revolutionizing science fiction in the 1960s and 1970s, and her 1970 novel, The Female Man, is widely regarded as one of the most successful and influential depictions of a feminist utopia in the entire genre.

The Country You Have Never Seen gathers Joanna Russ's most important essays and reviews, revealing the vital part she played over the years in the never-ending conversation among writers and fans about the roles, boundaries, and potential of science fiction. Spanning her entire career, the collection shines a light on Russ's role in the development of new wave science fiction and feminist science fiction, while at the same time providing fascinating insight into her own development as a writer.

Visions and Revisions: (Re)constructing Science Fiction

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 32

Robert M. Philmus

Renowned science fiction scholar Robert M. Philmus offers in Visions and Revisions a fresh and provocative literary analysis of science fiction writing. He critically examines the works of some of the most prominent writers to have written in the genre--including Evgeny Zamiatin, Karel Capek, Jorge Luis Borges, Italo Calvino, and Stanislaw Lem, along with English-language authors from H.G. Wells to Ursula Le Guin--and reveals how their works illustrate the fundamental elements of science fiction writing.

The former editor of Science Fiction Studies, Philmus casts his expert eye on a diverse range of short stories and novels by the premier arbiters of the craft, with close readings that draw upon the theories of New Criticism as well as post-Modern. Featuring essays such as "Stanislaw Lem's Futurological Congress as a Metageneric Text," "Kurt Vonnegut: Historiographer of the Absurd: The Sirens of Titan," "Ursula K. Le Guin and Time's Dispossession," and "Time Out of Joint: The World(s) of Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle," the volume provides an in-depth textual examination that reveals why science fiction is a "revisionary genre." Visions and Revisions will be of immense value to scholars of literature and science fiction studies.

Shadows of the New Sun: Wolfe on Writing / Writers on Wolfe

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 33

Peter Wright

Gene Wolfe is one of the most important American writers to emerge in the latter half of the twentieth century. The fact that he publishes in the field of fantastic literature (which includes horror, science and speculative fiction) has meant that his significance has been largely unacknowledged beyond and, at times, even within the genre. Nevertheless, he remains the author of some of the most stylistically distinct, structurally complex, and intellectually invigorating imaginative fiction of recent years. This collection of interviews and essays places under one cover an amazing selection of difficult-to-find resources for the avid Gene Wolfe reader and scholar. Essays concern the nature of writing, including character, structure and the profession of the writer. Also included are a series of interviews with Wolfe and the holy grail of 'New Sun' aficionados: Books in the Book of the New Sun, previously only available in a rare small-press volume. This collection will inspire fans and scholars alike to commit themselves to debating new interpretations of Wolfe's fiction.


  • 1 - Introduction (Shadows of the New Sun: Wolfe on Writing / Writers on Wolfe) - (2007) - essay by Peter Wright
  • 11 - Gene Wolfe: An Interview - (1973) - interview of Gene Wolfe - interview by Malcolm Edwards
  • 24 - An Interview with Gene Wolfe - (1981) - interview of Gene Wolfe - interview by Joan Gordon
  • 36 - An Interview with Gene Wolfe - (1981) - interview of Gene Wolfe - interview by Melissa Mia Hall
  • 44 - Interview: Gene Wolfe: 'The Legerdemain of the Wolfe' - (1983) - interview of Gene Wolfe - interview by Robert Frazier
  • 56 - Riding a Bicycle Backwards: An Interview with Gene Wolfe - (1984) - interview of Gene Wolfe - interview by Colin Greenland
  • 66 - Gene Wolfe in Conversation - (1985) - interview of Gene Wolfe - interview by Nancy Kress and Calvin Rich
  • 73 - An Interview with Gene Wolfe - (1986) - interview of Gene Wolfe - interview by Elliott Swanson
  • 79 - On Encompassing the Entire Universe: An Interview with Gene Wolfe - (1988) - interview of Gene Wolfe - interview by Larry McCaffery
  • 101 - Gene Wolfe Interview - (2007) - interview of Gene Wolfe - interview by James B. Jordan
  • 132 - Gene Wolfe Interview - (1994) - interview of Gene Wolfe - interview by Brendan Baber
  • 139 - Peter and the Wolfe: Gene Wolfe In Conversation - (2007) - interview of Gene Wolfe - interview by Peter Wright
  • 167 - Suns New, Long, and Short: An Interview with Gene Wolfe - (1998) - interview of Gene Wolfe - interview by Lawrence Person
  • 177 - A Magus of Many Suns: An Interview with Gene Wolfe - (2002) - interview of Gene Wolfe - interview by Nick Gevers
  • 184 - Some Moments with the Magus: An Interview with Gene Wolfe - (2003) - interview of Gene Wolfe - interview by Nick Gevers and Michael Andre-Driussi and James B. Jordan
  • 193 - The Books in The Book of the New Sun - (1984) - essay by Gene Wolfe
  • 203 - Wolfe's Rules: What You Must Do To Be a Writer - essay by Gene Wolfe
  • 204 - Balding, Avuncular Gene's Quick and Dirty Guide to Creating Memorable Characters - essay by Gene Wolfe
  • 206 - Wolfe's Irreproducible Truths about Novels - essay by Gene Wolfe
  • 208 - Nor the Summers as Golden: Writing Multivolume Works - essay by Gene Wolfe
  • 214 - What Do They Mean, SF? - (1980) - essay by Gene Wolfe
  • 219 - The Special Problems of Science Fiction - essay by Gene Wolfe
  • 224 - How to Be a Writer's Family - essay by Gene Wolfe
  • 228 - Libraries on the Superhighway - Rest Stop or Roadkill? - essay by Gene Wolfe
  • 238 - The Handbook of Permissive English - (2007) - essay by Gene Wolfe
  • 241 - More than Half of You Can't Read This - essay by Gene Wolfe
  • 243 - Wolfe's Inalienable Truths About Reviewing - essay by Gene Wolfe
  • 244 - A Fantasist Reads The Bible and Its Critics - essay by Gene Wolfe

Gateways To Forever: The S-F Magazines from 1970 to 1980

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 34

Mike Ashley

This third volume in Mike Ashley's study of the science-fiction magazines, focuses on the turbulent years of the 1970s, when the United States emerged from the Vietnam War into an economic crisis. It saw the end of the Apollo moon programme and the start of the ecology movement. This proved to be one of the most complicated periods for the science-fiction magazines. Not only were they struggling to survive within the economic climate, they also had to cope with the death of the father of modern science fiction, John W. Campbell, Jr., while facing new and potentially threatening opposition. The market for science fiction diversified as never before, with the growth in new anthologies, the emergence of semi-professional magazines, the explosion of science fiction in college, the start of role-playing gaming magazines, underground and adult comics and, with the success of Star Wars, media magazines. This volume explores how the traditional science-fiction magazines coped with this, from the death of Campbell to the start of the major popular science magazine Omni and the first dreams of the Internet.

Science Fiction and Empire

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 35

Patricia Kerslake

This book is about the human desire to experiment with empire. In the past it was done with real soldiers and expeditions and slaves and trade and misery and force. In the future it will be done with generation ships and off-world pioneers, robots and invasion, electronic sheep and people who just don't want to be pushed around any more.

Beginning with a discussion of who 'we' are (hopefully, the good guys) and who 'they' are (anyone who isn't us), this narrative scans the lights of science fiction looking at the places where humans try to touch a variety of futures. Is SF designed to purge our dark imperialistic fantasies, or is it a laboratory of mind-experiments: carefully considered trials of political, social and economic scenarios? Which tomorrow are we more likely to accept - where the blood of empire is red or read ?

Examining such classic SF texts as Lasswitz's Two Planets and Wells' The War of the Worlds, this book investigates Asimov's Robots and Heinlein's Moon, as well as Robinson's Mars and Banks' postcolonial Culture. We see the rise-and-fall of empire through the eyes of Miller, Clarke and Wyndham, and the apparently inevitable failure of the imperial project as discussed in Solaris, The Dispossessed and The Forever War.

This book offers an insight into the darkest power abuses of mankind; where the oppression, silencing and marginalisation of those who are not-us continues and flourishes. Who are the monsters of our future - the Others invading from another planet, or the unseen and unrecognised Other within?

H. G. Wells, Modernity and the Movies

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 36

Keith Williams

This book investigates Wells's interest in cinema and related media technologies, by placing it back into the contemporary cultural and scientific contexts giving rise to them. It plugs a gap in understanding Wells's contribution to exploring and advancing the possibilities of cinematic narrative and its social and ideological impacts in the modern period.

Previous studies concentrate on adaptations: this book accounts for the specifically (proto)cinematic techniques and concerns of Wells's texts. It also focuses on contemporary film-making 'in dialogue' with his ideas. Alongside Hollywood's later transactions, it gives equal weight to neglected British and continental European dimensions.

Chapter 1 shows how early writings (The Time Machine and short stories) feature many kinds of radically defamiliarised vision. These constitute imaginative speculations about the forms and potentials of moving image and electronic media.

Chapter 2 discusses the power of voyeurism, 'absent presence' and the disjunction of sound-image reproduction implied in The Invisible Man and its topical politics, updated in notable screen versions.

Chapter 3 extends this to dystopian warnings of systematic surveillance, broadcasting of celebrity personae and 'post-literate' video culture in When the Sleeper Wakes, a crucial template for urban futures on film.

Chapter 4 analyses Wells's belated return to screenwriting in the 1930s. It accounts for his 'broadbrow' ambition of mediating between popular and avant-garde tendencies to promote his cause and its mixed results in Things to Come, The Man Who Could Work Miracles, etc.

Chapter 5 finally surveys Wells's legacy on both small and large screens. It considers whether, as well as being raided for scenarios for spectacular effects, his subtexts still nourish an evolving tradition of alternative SF, which duly critiques the innovations and applications of its host media.

Queer Universes: Sexualities in Science Fiction

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 37

Joan Gordon
Veronica Hollinger
Wendy Gay Pearson

Contestations over the meaning and practice of sexuality have become increasingly central to cultural self-definition and critical debates over issues of identity, citizenship and the definition of humanity itself. In an era when a religious authority can declare lesbians antihuman while some nations legalise same-sex marriage and are becoming increasingly tolerant of a variety of non-normative sexualities, it is hardly surprising that science fiction, in turn, takes up the task of imagining a diverse range of queer and not-so-queer futures.

The essays in Queer Universes investigate both contemporary and historical practices of representing sexualities and genders in science fiction literature. Queer Universes opens with Wendy Pearson's award-winning essay on reading sf queerly and goes on to include discussions about 'sextrapolation' in New Wave science fiction, 'stray penetration' in William Gibson's cyberpunk fiction, the queering of nature in ecofeminist science fiction, and the radical challenges posed to conventional science fiction in the work of important writers such as Samuel R. Delany, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Joanna Russ. In addition, Queer Universes offers an interview with Nalo Hopkinson and a conversation about queer lives and queer fictions by authors Nicola Griffith and Kelley Eskridge.

Plan for Chaos

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 38

John Wyndham

Plan for Chaos is a never-before published novel by post-apocalyptic British science fiction writer John Wyndham (1903-69), best known for his "cozy catastrophe" novel about a venomous class of fictional plants, The Day of the Triffids. Written simultaneously with that well-known volume, which has been in print continuously since its publication in 1951, Plan for Chaos makes a fascinating companion to the author's most famous work and offers a new angle on a writer often considered the direct descendent of the legendary H.G. Wells and an influence on such innovators as Ray Bradbury and Margaret Atwood.

In a city that could well be New York, a series of identical women are found dead in suspicious circumstances. Magazine photographer Johnny Farthing, who is reporting on the suspected murders, is chilled to discover that his fiancée looks identical to the victims too - and then she disappears. As his investigations spiral beyond his control, he finds himself at the heart of a sinister plot that uses cloning to revive the Nazi vision of a world-powerful master race... Part detective noir, part dystopic thriller, Plan for Chaos reveals the legendary science fiction novelist grappling with some of his most urgent and personal themes.

Animal Alterity: Science Fiction and the Question of the Animal

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 39

Sherryl Vint

Animal Alterity uses readings of science fiction texts to explore the centrality of animals for our ways of thinking about human. It argues that the academic field of animal studies and the popular genre of science fiction share a number a critical concerns: thinking about otherness and the nature of human being; desiring communication across species difference; and interrogating the social and ethical consequences of changes in science and technology.

We are living in a complex set of contradictory and conflicting relations with non-human animals. This book maps this complex terrain, arguing that we are better able to perceive options for a transformed politics if we perceive our various material relations with non-human animals within a deeper understanding of the functions of the category 'animal'.

Race, Ethnicity and Nuclear War: Representations of Nuclear Weapons and Post-Apocalyptic Worlds

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 40

Paul Williams

Ranging across novels and poetry, critical theory and film, comics and speeches, Race, Ethnicity and Nuclear War: Representations of Nuclear Weapons and Post-Apocalyptic Worlds explores how writers, thinkers, and filmmakers have answered the following question: are nuclear weapons 'white'?

Many texts respond in the affirmative, and arraign nuclear weapons for defending a racial order that privileges whiteness. They are seen as a reminder that the power enjoyed by the white western world imperils the whole of the Earth. Furthermore, the struggle to survive during and after a speculated nuclear attack is often cast as a contest between races and ethnic groups.

Race, Ethnicity and Nuclear War listens to voices from around the Anglophone world and the debates followed do not only take place on the soil of the nuclear powers. Filmmakers and writers from the Caribbean, Australia, and India take up positions shaped by their specific place in the decolonizing world and their particular experience of nuclear weapons.

The texts considered in Race, Ethnicity and Nuclear War encompass the many guises of representations of nuclear weapons: the Manhattan Project that developed the first atomic weapons, the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, nuclear tests taking place around the world, and the anxiety surrounding the superpowers' devastating arsenals. Of particular interest to SF scholars are the extensive analyses of films, novels, and short stories depicting nuclear war and its aftermath.

New thoughts are offered on the major texts that SF scholars often return to, such as Philip Wylie's Tomorrow! and Pat Frank's Alas Babylon, and a host of little known and under-researched texts are scrutinized too.

Gothic Science Fiction: 1980-2010

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 41

Emily Alder
Sara Wasson

This timely book explores what might be termed 'Gothic science fiction' from 1980 to 2010. This designation may at first appear contradictory, as the Gothic's connotations of the irrational and supernatural seem to conflict with the rational foundations of science fiction. However, this collection demonstrates that the two categories in fact overlap and intersect in creatively and critically fruitful ways. Understanding texts of this period by means of this hybrid category allows a fresh examination of their engagement with the dramatic socio-economic changes - in communication technology, medical science, globalization, and global politics - that have transformed the way we live, and for which Gothic science fiction texts provide compelling narrative modes.

The essays in this collection reflect the current willingness among researchers to explore interpretations across genre, form, and discipline, as well as revealing a buoyant field of research in contemporary Gothic and science fiction studies. The collection ranges across narrative media (including literature, film, graphic novels and trading card games) and across genres, taking in horror, science fiction, the Gothic, the New Weird and more. The essays explore questions of genre, medical science, gender, biopower and capitalism, demonstrating the ways in which Gothic science fiction texts stage contemporary concerns around power, anxiety, resistance and capital.

Future Wars: The Anticipations and the Fears

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 42

David Seed

The subject of this timely book is that body of fiction which speculates in narrative form about the nature of wars likely to break out in the near or distant future. Although earlier instances occur, the origins of this mode lie primarily in the late nineteenth century but writing about future wars continues to this day with notable fiction on the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ranging widely across periods and conflicts real and imagined, and boasting contributions from the late I. F. Clarke, H. Bruce Franklin and Patrick Parrinder, Future Wars explores the fascinating process of interaction between politics and literature, science fiction and war in a range of classic texts. Individual essays explore Reagan's 'star wars' project, nuclear fiction, Martian invasion, and the Pax Americana among other topics. The use of future war scenarios in military planning dates back to the nineteenth century. Future Wars concludes with an assessment by an officer in the U.S. Army of the continuing usefulness of future wars fiction.

Solar Flares: Science Fiction in the 1970s

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 43

Andrew M. Butler

Science fiction produced in the 1970s has long been undervalued, dismissed by Bruce Sterling as "confused, self-involved, and stale". The New Wave was all but over and Cyberpunk had yet to arrive. The decade polarised sf - on the one hand it aspired to be a serious form, addressing issues such as race, Vietnam, feminism, ecology and sexuality, on the other hand it broke box office records with Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Alien and Superman: The Movie.

Beginning with chapters on the First sf and New Wave authors who published during the 1970s, Solar Flares examines the ways in which the genre confronted a new epoch and its own history, including the rise of fantasy, the sf blockbuster, children's sf, pseudoscience and postmodernism. It explores significant figures such as Joanna Russ, Samuel R. Delany and Octavia Butler. From Larry Niven's Ringworld to Thomas M. Disch's On Wings of Song, from The Andromeda Strain to Flash Gordon and from Doctor Who to Buck Rogers, this book reclaims seventies sf writing, film and television - alongside music and architecture - as a crucial period in the history of science fiction.

Locating Science Fiction

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 44

Andrew Milner

Locating Science Fiction is a ground breaking and potentially paradigm-shifting book, a major intervention into contemporary theoretical debates about SF.

Academic literary criticism has tended to locate SF primarily in relation to the older genre of utopia; fan criticism primarily in relation to fantasy and SF in other media, especially film and television; popular fiction studies primarily in relation to other contemporary genres such as the romance and the thriller. This bold new synthesis relocates SF in relation to each of these other genres and media and also to the historical and geographic contexts of its emergence and development.

Locating Science Fiction effects a series of vital shifts in the way SF theory and criticism has conceptualised its subject, away from prescriptively abstract dialectics of cognition and estrangement and towards the empirically grounded understanding of what is actually a messy amalgam of texts, practices and artefacts. Inspired by Raymond Williams's cultural materialism, Pierre Bourdieu's sociology of culture and Franco Moretti's application of world systems theory to literary studies, Locating Science Fiction draws on the disciplinary competences of Comparative Literature, Cultural Studies, Critical Theory and Sociology to produce a powerfully persuasive mode of analysis, engagement and argument.

Singularities: Technoculture, Transhumanism, and Science Fiction in the 21st Century

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 45

Joshua Raulerson

In a time of protracted economic crisis, failing political systems, and impending environmental collapse, one strand in our collective cultural myth of Progress - the technological - remains vibrantly intact, surging into the future at ramming speed. Amid the seemingly exponential proliferation of machine intelligence and network connectivity, and the increasingly portentous implications of emerging nanotechnology, futurists and fabulists look to an imminent historical threshold whereupon the nature of human existence will be radically and irrevocably transformed. The Singularity, it is supposed, can be no more than a few years off; indeed, some believe it has already begun. Technological Singularity - a trope conceived in science fiction and subsequently adopted throughout technocultural discourse and beyond - is the primary site of interpenetration between technoscientific and science-fictional figurations of the future, a territory where longstanding binary oppositions between science and fiction, and between present and future, are rapidly dissolving.

In this groundbreaking volume, the first to mount a sustained and wide-ranging critical treatment of Singularity as a subject for theory and cultural studies, Raulerson draws SF texts into a complex dialogue with contemporary digital culture, transhumanist movements, political and economic theory, consumer gadgetry, gaming, and related vectors of high-tech postmodernity. In theorizing Singularity as a metaphorical construct lending shape to a range of millennial anxieties and aspirations, Singularities also makes the case for a recent and little-understood subgeneric formation -- postcyberpunk SF -- as a cohesive body of work, engaged in a shared literary project that is simultaneously shaping, and shaped by, purportedly nonfictional technoscientific discourses.

Stanislaw Lem: Selected Letters to Michael Kandel

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 46

Peter Swirski
Stanislaw Lem

Stanislaw Lem died on 26 March, 2006. No one can literally bring back his mortal engine to life. But his voice can be heard afresh for the benefit of all those who believe that, with his passing, a quintessential element of twentieth-century artistic and intellectual heritage has come to an end.

Peter Swirski's edited and annotated translation of Lem's fifteen-year correspondence with his principal American translator offers an unparalleled testimony to the raw intellectual powers, smouldering literary passions, and abiding personal concerns from the central period of the writer's life and career. Even as they reposition Lem as a consummate litterateur and an intellectual oracle, the letters reveal tantalizing glimpses of the man behind the giant. Fighting depression, at times hitting the bottle, plagued by ill health, obsessed by his legacy, driven to distraction by lack of appreciation in the United States, Lem the arch-rationalist emerges here at his most human, vulnerable, and... likeable.

The Liverpool Companion to World Science Fiction Film

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 47

Sonja Fritzsche

The Liverpool Companion to World Science Fiction Film offers critical insights into SF far beyond the more common Anglo-American narratives. Contributors take either a national or transnational approach, and stretch the geographic and conceptual boundaries of science fiction cinema. Recurrent themes include genre discussions, engagement with Hollywood, and the international subgenre of science fiction parody. Chapters contain a variety of perspectives and styles: from gender and race studies, to the eco-critical, and the post-colonial; from the avant-garde, to socialist realism, and the Hammer film.

Edited by Sonja Fritzsche, the collection contains fourteen chapters written by specialists from around the world. Film traditions represented include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, China, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United States plus a chapter on digital shorts.

From the dinosaur myth that became Godzilla to Brazilian science fiction comedy, from China's Death Ray to Kenya's Pumzi, this book will broaden the horizons of scholars and students of Science Fiction.

Irish Science Fiction

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 48

Jack Fennell

Irish Science Fiction revisits a critical paradigm that has often been overlooked or dismissed by science fiction scholars - namely, that science fiction can be understood in terms of myth. Science fiction springs from pseudo-science rather than 'proper' science, because pseudo-science is more easily converted into narrative; in this book it is argued that different cultures produce distinct pseudo-sciences, and thus, unique science fiction traditions.

Fennell's innovative framework is used to examine Irish science fiction from the 1850s to the present day, covering material written both in Irish and in English. Considering science fiction novels and short stories in their historical context, Irish Science Fiction analyses a body of literature that has largely been ignored by Irish literature researchers. This is the first book to focus exclusively on Irish science fiction, and the first to consider Irish-language stories and novels alongside works published in English.

Lemography: Stanislaw Lem in the Eyes of the World

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 49

Peter Swirski
Waclaw M. Osadnik

Lemography is a unique collection of critical essays on Stanislaw Lem, writer and philosopher. Its aim is to introduce aspects of his work hitherto unknown or neglected by scholarship and evaluate his influence on twentieth-century literature and culture - and beyond. The book's uniqueness is enhanced by the global makeup of the contributors who hail from Canada, United States, Great Britain, Germany, Croatia, Poland, Sweden and Finland. In all cases, these are scholars and translators who for many years have pursued, and in some cases defined, Lem scholarship. Rather than study Lem as a science fiction writer, each essay commands a wider sphere of reference in order to appraise Lem's literary and philosophical contributions. Each focuses on a different novel (or set of novels) from the writer's opus, examining them critically. Between them, the essays cover virtually all phases of Lem's multidimensional career, ensuring comprehensive coverage.

Surrealism, Science Fiction and Comics

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 50

Gavin Parkinson

Although the self-definition of Surrealism and the initial defining of science fiction as a genre both took place in the 1920s and the links between the two are manifest, no full study has appeared till now on Surrealism and SF.

Across ten original essays, Surrealism, Science Fiction and Comics looks at how the Surrealist movement in France and the USA used, informed, contributed to, and criticised SF from that moment, whilst including discussion of the related genre of comics.

Among its aims are a reassessment of Jules Verne in the light of Surrealism and an analysis of the debate in the 1950s on the 'new' Anglo-American literature arriving in France. This received, in fact, a mixed reception from the Surrealists of that decade even though writers and intellectuals close to the movement in the 1920s were directly responsible for its success.

The book includes further essays on the subsequent impact of Surrealism on SF novelists J.G. Ballard and Alan Burns, and features essays that argue for Salvador Dalí's closeness to SF in the 1960s and his disagreement with the earlier scientific romance defined by Verne.

The chapters that bring in comics range from theoretical discussions of the relation between the original comic strips of Rodolphe Töpffer and the key Surrealist technique of automatism, used in art and writing, through the cybernetic implications of the proto-SF Surrealist ciné-roman 'M. Wzz...' of 1929, which has never discussed in any detail before, to the 1948 Vache paintings by René Magritte, inspired by Louis Forton's strip Les Pieds nickelés. This pioneering set of essays shows how Surrealism from the 1920s to the 1970s did not just receive and adapt SF but impacted the genre in its later manifestations.

Stanislaw Lem: Philosopher of the Future

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 51

Peter Swirski

Stanislaw Lem: Philosopher of the Future brings a welter of unknown elements of Lem's life, career, and literary legacy to light.

Part One traces the context of his cultural influence, telling the story of one of the greatest writers and thinkers of the century. It includes a comprehensive critical overview of Lem's literary and philosophical oeuvre which comprises not only the classics like Solaris, but his untranslated first novels, realistic prose, experimental works, volumes of nonfiction, latter-day metafiction, as well as the final twenty years of polemics and essays.

The critical and interpretive Part Two examines a range of Lem's novels with a view to examining the intellectual vistas they open up before us. It focuses on several of Lem's major but less studied books. "Game, Set, Lem" uses game theory to shed light on his arguably most surreal novel, the Kafkaesque and claustrophobic Memoirs Found in a Bathtub (1961). "Betrization Is the Worst Solution... Except for All Others" takes a close look at the quasi-utopia of Return From the Stars (1961) and at the concept of ethical cleansing and mandatory de-aggression. "Errare Humanum Est" focuses on the popular science thriller The Invincible (1964) in the context of evolution. "A Beachbook for Intellectuals" is a critical fugue on Lem's medical thriller cum crime mystery, The Chain of Chance (1976).

Stanislaw Lem: Philosopher of the Future closes with a two-part coda. "Fiasco" recapitulates and reflects on the literary and cognitive themes of Lem's farewell novel, and "Happy End of the World!" reviews The Blink of an Eye, Lem's farewell book of analyses and prognoses from the cusp of our millennium.

Science Fiction Double Feature: The Science Fiction Film as Cult Text

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 52

Gerald Duchovnay
J. P. Telotte

Critical discussion of cult cinema has often noted its tendency to straddle or ignore boundaries, to pull together different sets of conventions, narrative formulas, or character types for the almost surreal pleasure to be found in their sudden juxtapositions or narrative combination. With its own boundary-blurring nature - as both science and fiction, reality and fantasy - science fiction has played a key role in such cinematic cult formation. This volume examines that largely unexplored relationship, looking at how the sf film's own double nature neatly matches up with a persistent double vision common to the cult film. It does so by bringing together an international array of scholars to address key questions about the intersections of sf and cult cinema: how different genre elements, directors, and stars contribute to cult formation; what role fan activities, including "con" participation, play in cult development; and how the occulted or "bad" sf cult film works. The volume pursues these questions by addressing a variety of such sf cult works, including Robot Monster (1953), Zardoz (1974), A Boy and His Dog (1975), Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989), Space Truckers (1996), Ghost in the Shell 2 (2004), and Iron Sky (2012). What these essays afford is a revealing vision of both the sf aspects of much cult film activity and the cultish aspects of the whole sf genre.

Science Fiction Rebels: The S-F Magazines from 1981 to 1990

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 53

Mike Ashley

Mike Ashley's acclaimed history of science-fiction magazines comes to the 1980s with Science-Fiction Rebels: The Story of the Science Fiction Magazines from 1981 to 1990. This volume charts a significant revolution throughout science fiction, much of which was driven by the alternative press, and by new editors at the leading magazines. The period saw the emergence of the cyberpunk movement, and the drive for, what David Hartwell called, 'The Hard SF Renaissance', which was driven from within Britain. Ashley plots the rise of many new authors in both strands: William Gibson, John Shirley, Bruce Sterling, John Kessel, Pat Cadigan, Rudy Rucker in cyberpunk, and Stephen Baxter, Alistair Reynolds, Peter Hamilton, Neal Asher, Robert Reed, in hard sf. He also shows how the alternative magazines looked to support each other through alliances, which allowed them to share and develop ideas as science-fiction evolved.

Hard Reading: Learning from Science Fiction

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 54

Tom Shippey

The fifteen essays collected in Hard Reading argue, first, that science fiction has its own internal rhetoric, relying on devices such as neologism, dialogism, semantic shifts, the use of unreliable narrators. It is a "high-information" genre which does not follow the Flaubertian ideal of le mot juste, "the right word", preferring le mot imprévisible, "the unpredictable word". Both ideals shun the facilior lectio, the "easy reading", but for different reasons and with different effects.

The essays argue further that science fiction derives much of its energy from engagement with vital intellectual issues in the "soft sciences", especially history, anthropology, the study of different cultures, with a strong bearing on politics. Both the rhetoric and the issues deserve to be taken much more seriously than they have been in academia, and in the wider world. Each essay is further prefaced by an autobiographical introduction. These explain how the essays came to be written and in what ways they (often) proved controversial. They, and the autobiographical introduction to the whole book, create between them a memoir of what it was like to be a committed fan, from teenage years, and also an academic struggling to find a place, at a time when a declared interest in science fiction and fantasy was the kiss of death for a career in the humanities.

Terraforming: Ecopolitical Transformations and Environmentalism in Science Fiction

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 55

Chris Pak

This book explores the emergence and development of terraforming in science fiction from H.G. Wells's The War of the Worlds (1898) to James Cameron's blockbuster Avatar (2009). Terraforming is the process of making other worlds habitable for human life. Its counterpart on Earth - geoengineering - has begun to receive serious consideration as a way to address the effects of climate change.

This book asks how science fiction has imagined the ways we shape both our world and other planets and how stories of terraforming reflect on science, society and environmentalism. It traces the growth of the motif of terraforming in stories by such writers as H.G. Wells and Olaf Stapledon in the UK, American pulp science fiction by Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, the counter cultural novels of Frank Herbert, Ursula K. Le Guin and Ernest Callenbach, and Pamela Sargent's Venus trilogy, Frederick Turner's epic poem of terraforming, Genesis, and Kim Stanley Robinson's acclaimed Mars trilogy. It explores terraforming as a nexus for environmental philosophy, the pastoral, ecology, the Gaia hypothesis, the politics of colonisation and habitation, tradition and memory.

This book shows how contemporary environmental awareness and our understanding of climate change is influenced by science fiction, and how terraforming in particular has offered scientists, philosophers, and many other readers a motif to aid in thinking in complex ways about the human impact on planetary environments. Amidst contemporary anxieties about climate change, terraforming offers an important vantage from which to consider the ways humankind shapes and is shaped by their world.

Biopunk Dystopias: Genetic Engineering, Society and Science Fiction

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 56

Lars Schmeink

Biopunk Dystopias contends that we find ourselves at a historical nexus, defined by the rise of biology as the driving force of scientific progress, a strongly grown mainstream attention given to genetic engineering in the wake of the Human Genome Project (1990-2003), the changing sociological view of a liquid modern society, and shifting discourses on the posthuman, including a critical posthumanism that decenters the privileged subject of humanism. The book argues that this historical nexus produces a specific cultural formation in the form of "biopunk", a subgenre evolved from the cyberpunk of the 1980s.

The analysis deals with dystopian science fiction artifacts of different media from the year 2000 onwards that project a posthuman intervention into contemporary socio-political discourse based in liquid modernity in the cultural formation of biopunk. Biopunk makes use of current posthumanist conceptions in order to criticize contemporary reality as already dystopian, warning that a future will only get worse, and that society needs to reverse its path, or else destroy all life on this planet.

As Rosi Braidotti argues, "there is a posthuman agreement that contemporary science and biotechnologies affect the very fibre and structure of the living and have altered dramatically our understanding of what counts as the basic frame of reference for the human today". The proposed book analyzes this alteration as directors, creators, authors, and artists from the field of science fiction extrapolate it from current trends.

Excavating the Future: Archaeology and Geopolitics in Contemporary North American Science Fiction Film and Television

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 57

Shawn Malley

Well-known in science fiction for tomb-raiding and mummy-wrangling, the archaeologist has been a rich source for imagining 'strange new worlds' from 'strange old worlds.' But more than a well-spring for SF scenarios, the genre's archaeological imaginary invites us to consider the ideological implications of digging up the past buried in the future. A cultural study of an array of very popular, though often critically-neglected, North American SF film and television texts - running the gamut of telefilms, pseudo-documentaries, teen serial drama and Hollywood blockbusters - Excavating the Future explores the popular archaeological imagination and the political uses to which it is being employed by the U.S. state and its adversaries.

By treating SF texts as documents of archaeological experience circulating within and between scientific and popular culture communities and media, Excavating the Future develops critical strategies for analyzing SF film and television's critical and adaptive responses to post 9/11 geopolitical concerns about the war on terror, homeland security, the invasion and reconstruction of Iraq, and the ongoing fight against ISIS.

Sport and Monstrosity in Science Fiction

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 58

Derek J. Thiess

Sport and Monstrosity in Science Fiction examines fantastic representations of sport in science fiction, both cataloguing this almost entirely unexamined literary tradition and arguing that the reason for its neglect reflects a more widespread social suspicion of the athletic body as monstrous. Combining scholarship of monstrosity with a biopolitically focused philosophy of embodiment, this work plumbs the depths of our abjection of the athletic body and challenges us to reconsider sport as an intersectional space. In this latter endeavour it contradicts the image presented by both the most dystopian films such as Deathrace and Rollerball as well as social criticism of sport that limits its focus to an essentially violent masculinity.

The book traces an alternative tradition of sport sf through authors as diverse as Arthur C. Clarke, Steven Barnes, and Joan Slonczewski, exploring the way the intersectional categories of gender, race, and age in these works are negotiated in, for example, a solar wind sailing race or futuristic anti-gravity boxing. These complex athletic bodies display the social mobility that sport allows and challenge us to acknowledge our own monstrously animal bodies and our place in a "cycle of living and dying."

Sideways in Time: Critical Essays on Alternative History Fiction

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 59

Glyn Morgan
Charul Palmer-Patel

Alternate history is a genre of fiction that, although connected to science fiction, has its own rich history and lineage. With its roots in the writings of ancient Rome, alternate history matured into something close to its current form in the essays and novels of the nineteenth century. In more recent years a number of highly acclaimed novels have been published as alternate histories, by authors ranging from bestselling science fiction writers to Pulitzer prize-winning literary icons. The popularity of the genre is reflected in its success on television, where original concepts have been developed alongside adaptations of classic texts such as Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle.

This collection of essays, by both leading scholars in the field and rising stars, seeks to redress an imbalance between the importance and quality of alternate history texts and the available critical scholarship on the genre. The essays acknowledge the long and distinctive history of alternate history whilst also revelling in its vitality, adaptability, and contemporary relevance.

Dread Trident: Tabletop Role-Playing Games and the Modern Fantastic

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 60

Curtis D. Carbonell

Dread Trident examines the rise of imaginary worlds in tabletop role-playing games (TRPGs), such as Dungeons and Dragons. With the combination of analog and digital mechanisms, from traditional books to the internet, new ways of engaging the fantastic have become increasingly realized in recent years, and this book seeks an understanding of this phenomenon within the discourses of trans- and posthumanism, as well as within a gameist mode.

The book explores a number of case studies of foundational TRPGs. Dungeons and Dragons provides an illustration of pulp-driven fantasy, particularly in the way it harmonizes its many campaign settings into a functional multiverse. It also acts as a supreme example of depth within its archive of official and unofficial published material, stretching back four decades. Warhammer 40k and the Worlds of Darkness present an interesting dialogue between Gothic and science-fantasy elements. The Mythos of HP Lovecraft also features prominently in the book as an example of a realized world that spans the literary and gameist modes.

Realized fantasy worlds are becoming ever more popular as a way of experiencing a touch of the magical within modern life. Reworking Northrop Frye's definition of irony, Dread Trident theorizes an ironic understanding of this process and in particular of its embodied forms.

Final Frontiers: Science Fiction and Techno-Science in Non-Aligned India

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 61

Upamanyu Pablo Mukherjee

This is the first book-length study of the relationship between science fiction, the techno-scientific policies of independent India, and the global non-aligned movement that emerged as a response to the Cold War and decolonization. Today, we see the trend of science fiction writers being used by governments as advisors on techno-scientific policies and defence industries. But such relationships between literature, policy and geo-politics have a long and complex history.

Glimpses of this history can be seen in the case of the first generation of post-colonial Indian science fiction writers, the policies of scientific and technological development in independent India, and the political strategy of non-alignment advocated by India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, who proposed that Third World nations should maintain an equal distance between Washington and Moscow. Such a perspective reveals the surprisingly long and relatively unknown life of Indian science fiction, as well as the critical role played by the genre in imagining alternative pathways for scientific and geo-political developments to those that dominate our lives now.

Science Fiction and Psychology

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 62

Gavin Miller

The psychologist may appear in science fiction as the herald of utopia or dystopia; literary studies have used psychoanalytic theories to interpret science fiction; and psychology has employed science fiction as an educational medium. Science Fiction and Psychology goes beyond such incidental observations and engagements to offer an in-depth exploration of science fiction literature's varied use of psychological discourses, beginning at the birth of modern psychology in the late nineteenth century and concluding with the ascendance of neuroscience in the late twentieth century.

Rather than dwelling on psychoanalytic readings, this literary investigation combines with history of psychology to offer attentive textual readings that explore five key psychological schools: evolutionary psychology, psychoanalysis, behaviourism, existential-humanism, and cognitivism. The varied functions of psychological discourses in science fiction are explored, whether to popularise and prophesy, to imagine utopia or dystopia, to estrange our everyday reality, to comment on science fiction itself, or to abet (or resist) the spread of psychological wisdom. Science Fiction and Psychology also considers how psychology itself has made use of science fiction in order to teach, to secure legitimacy as a discipline, and to comment on the present.

Science Fiction and Climate Change: A Sociological Approach

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 63

J. R. Burgmann
Andrew Milner

Despite the occasional upsurge of climate change scepticism amongst Anglophone conservative politicians and journalists, there is still a near-consensus amongst climate scientists that current levels of atmospheric greenhouse gas are sufficient to alter global weather patterns to disastrous effect. The resultant climate crisis is simultaneously both a natural and a socio-cultural phenomenon and in this book Milner and Burgmann argue that science fiction occupies a critical location within this nature/culture nexus. Science Fiction and Climate Change takes as its subject matter what Daniel Bloom famously dubbed 'cli-fi'. It does not, however, attempt to impose a prescriptively environmentalist aesthetic on this sub-genre. Rather, it seeks to explain how a genre defined in relation to science finds itself obliged to produce fictional responses to the problems actually thrown up by contemporary scientific research.

Milner and Burgmann adopt a historically and geographically comparatist framework, analysing print and audio-visual texts drawn from a number of different contexts, especially Australia, Britain, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Japan and the United States. Inspired by Williams's cultural materialism, Bourdieu's sociology of culture and Moretti's version of world systems theory, the book builds on Milner's own Locating Science Fiction to produce a powerfully persuasive study in the sociology of literature.

Biology and Manners: Essays on the Worlds and Works of Lois McMaster Bujold

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 64

Regina Yung Lee
Una McCormack

This volume of essays continues the establishment of Lois McMaster Bujold as an important author of contemporary science fiction and fantasy. It argues persuasively that Bujold's corpus spans the distance between two full arcs of US feminism, and has anticipated or responded to several of its current concerns in ways that invite or even require theoretical exploration.

The fourteen essays collected here provide wide-ranging scholarly analyses of Bujold's work and worlds so far, covering not only the science fiction and fantasy series, but taking into account the wealth of ancillary material inspired by her works, such as fan fiction and role-playing games. Examining the major series through a range of perspectives, including feminist readings, queer theory, and disability studies, this volume aims to establish beyond doubt the seriousness of intent behind Bujold's various artistic projects and provide a set of rich readings of this engaging, experimental, playful, and popular author.

The Culture of "The Culture": Utopian Processes in Iain M. Banks's Space Opera Series

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 65

Joseph Norman

In a career that spanned over thirty years, Iain M. Banks became one of the best-loved and most prolific writers in Britain, with his space opera series concerned with the pan-galactic utopian civilisation known as "the Culture" widely regarded as his most significant contribution to science fiction.

The Culture of "The Culture" is the first critical monograph to focus solely on this series, providing a comprehensive, thematic analysis of Banks's Culture stories from Consider Phlebas to The Hydrogen Sonata. It explores the development of Banks's political, philosophical and literary thought, arguing that the Culture offers both an image of a harmonious civilisation modelled on an alternative socialist form of globalisation and a critique of our neo-liberal present.

As Joseph Norman explains, the Culture is the result of an ongoing utopian process, attempting through the application of technoscience to move beyond obstacles to progress such as imperialism, capitalism, the human condition, religious dogma, patriarchy and crises in artistic representation.

The Culture of "The Culture" defines Banks's creation as culture: a utopian way of doing, of being, of seeing: an approach, an attitude and a lifestyle that has enabled, and is evolving alongside, utopia, rather than an image of a static end-state.

Futuristic Cars and Space Bicycles: Contesting the Road in American Science Fiction

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 66

Jeremy Wither

Given the extensive influence of the 'transport revolution' on the past two centuries (a time when trains, trams, omnibuses, bicycles, cars, airplanes, and so forth were invented), and given science fiction's overall obsession with machines and technologies of all kinds, it is surprising that scholars have not paid more attention to transportation in this increasingly popular genre. Futuristic Cars and Space Bicycles is the first book to examine the history of representations of road transport machines in nineteenth-, twentieth-, and twenty-first-century American science fiction.

The focus of this study is on two machines of the road that have been locked in a constant, often bitter, struggle with one another: the automobile and the bicycle. With chapters ranging from the early science fiction of the pulp magazine era in the 1920s and 1930s, to the postcyberpunk of the 1990s and more recent media of the 2000s such as web television, zines, and comics, this book argues that science fiction by and large perceives the car as anything but a marvelous invention of modernity. Rather, the genre often scorns and ridicules the automobile and instead promotes more sustainable, more benign, more restrained technologies of movement such as the bicycle.

Fighting for the Future: Essays on Star Trek: Discovery

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 67

Sabrina Mittermeier
Mareike Spychala

The first two seasons of Star Trek: Discovery, the newest instalment in the long-running and influential Star Trek franchise, received media and academic attention from the moment they arrived on screen. Discovery makes several key changes to Star Trek's well-known narrative formulae, particularly the use of more serialized storytelling, appealing to audiences' changed viewing habits in the streaming age - and yet the storylines, in their topical nature and the broad range of socio-political issues they engage with, continue in the political vein of the series' megatext.

This volume brings together eighteen essays and one interview about the series, with contributions from a variety of disciplines including cultural studies, literary studies, media studies, fandom studies, history and political science. They explore representations of gender, sexuality and race, as well as topics such as shifts in storytelling and depictions of diplomacy. Examining Discovery alongside older entries into the Star Trek canon and tracing emerging continuities and changes, this volume will be an invaluable resource for all those interested in Star Trek and science fiction in the franchise era.

Space for Peace: Fragments of the Irish Troubles in the Science Fiction of Bob Shaw and James White

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 68

Richard Howard

Science fiction might not be the first thing that springs to mind when we think of Irish literature. But in the post-war period in Belfast, two authors, Bob Shaw and James White, began producing science fiction stories, eventually selling them to international markets and gaining the respect of luminaries such as Arthur C. Clarke, Brian Aldiss and Stanley Kubrick.

Although lauded in the international science fiction scene for their innovations in the genre, Shaw and White's work has been relatively ignored within Irish Studies. This book connects the emergence of science fiction in Belfast with the position of the city as the locus of technological development on the island of Ireland, and the development of a corresponding technological imaginary. Breaking new ground in the study of Irish modernity, Richard Howard draws parallels between the narratives of Shaw and White and the persistent influence of historical narratives embodied by the two-traditions paradigm in the region, as well as exploring the figure of the alien both in science fiction and in the history of Northern Ireland. He also considers the works of Shaw and White as utopian gestures against the backdrop of the Irish Troubles, finding both repressive and redemptive elements therein. The book makes an important contribution to the growing conversation about Irish science fiction and our understanding of modernity in Ireland.

After Human: A Critical History of the Human in Science Fiction From Shelley to Le Guin

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 69

Thomas Connolly

From its earliest beginnings in Shelley's Frankenstein, science fiction has been concerned with defining - and redefining - what it means to be human and has explored the human relationship to technology and the natural world in far-reaching ways. Throughout these works, the human emerges as a liminal site where a range of anxieties and beliefs concerning subjectivity, embodiment, agency, and individuality come into play.

This book examines the history of the human in science fiction and the genre's complex engagements with humanism and posthumanism. Beginning with the nineteenth-century works of Shelley, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells, it ranges from well-known authors such as Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Ursula Le Guin to less widely studied texts by authors such as Arthur Conan Doyle, Jack London, and E.E. 'Doc' Smith. The human that emerges from this tradition is a complex figure that ultimately comes to reflect the assumptions, beliefs, fears, and ambitions of a diverse range of authors and contexts, while science fiction itself can be seen as a radically - if problematically - posthuman mode of literature.

'This wide-ranging and original study convincingly shows how science fiction has (almost) always been posthuman. Thomas Connolly's critical and cultural history of "the human" in Anglo-American sf ranges from the nineteenth century through the 1970s, constructing an expansive pre-history of the posthuman before the cyberpunk explosion of the 1980s. This is an exciting new story about the history of science fiction.'

Veronica Hollinger, co-editor of Science Fiction Studies