- Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 2 Sub edition (May 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312096186
- ISBN-13: 978-0312096182
- Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 18.8 x 6.6 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,247,677 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
For anyone wanting to develop a good course on science fiction , or anyone interested in how SF came to be what it is today, a perusal of these thematic entries on everything from ANTIGRAVITY to MUTANTS to UTOPIAS will yield a wealth of material concisely presented, profusely cross-referenced, and source material properly indicated. Often within these sections even an experienced long-time fan of the field will find works referenced that he hasn't heard of before but deserve a look.
Within the author entries you will find one of the works most useful features: a listing of all of that author's works that belong within a given series or author created world/universe, often with a good description of the salient features of these author worlds. Also very useful is a listing of all known pseudonyms for each author. Still another useful feature is the indication of every variant title a work has appeared under, which can end up saving the reader money by knowing that he already really has that title under a different name. But these entries are also the most problematic of the information presented in this volume, as the opinion of the writer of the piece (almost all of the author entries were done by John Clute) about the quality of each of the author's works clearly shows. While it is probably impossible to avoid having this type of opinion appear, what I found disappointing was the lack of indication that there are other opinions about some well known works (in some cases these other opinions run to millions of words and many a flame war on the internet), such as Heinlein's Starship Troopers. At the same time, these entries provide a wealth of biographical information and very complete bibliographies for every major and almost every minor writer who has ever written within the field, and this information seems to have been very solidly researched (at least I haven't been able to find any obvious errors, and I've been reading in the field for 40 years).
This is an expensive volume, but it is probably worth every penny of its price when you consider that it collects in one volume such a wealth of diverse information that prior to this work was scattered across hundreds of articles, essays, books, and research papers or had never been written about in any cohesive manner. Highly recommended for any serious student/fan of the field, and highly entertaining and informative reading for just about anyone.
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