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Understanding Contemporary American Science Fiction: The Formative Period, 1926-70 (Understanding Contemporary American Literature) [Paperback]

Thomas D. Clareson

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Book Description

31 Dec 1990 0872498700 978-0872498709 New edition
During the past 50 years American science fiction has become one of the most popular forms of fiction throughout the world. It provides the best index to the impact of all fields of science, as well as technology, on the literary and popular imaginations. Indeed, it has helped to shape the dreams that lie behind the worldwide interest in space exploration, while at the same time it has provided the cutting edge of social and political criticism and satire. Understanding Contemporary American Science Fiction undertakes an overview of the field during those crucial decades when it evolved from a form of fiction in the pulp magazines to one of the most popular forms of the contemporary novel. Clareson traces the principal thematic strains of the field, from the view of a technologically triumphant humanity that foresaw nuclear holocaust and an earthy dystopia, to the rich diversity of the 1960s. Writers such as Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, John W. Campbell, Ray Bradbury, Marjorie Nicolson, Max Ehrlich, Judith Merril, and Kurt Vonnegut are featured.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 307 pages
  • Publisher: University of South Carolina Press; New edition edition (31 Dec 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872498700
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872498709
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 13 x 2 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,553,276 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
To appreciate the complexities and significance of contemporary American science fiction, one must immediately clear away a number of problems which cloud even such central issues as the definition of the field. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Clear Examination of the Development of Science Fiction 10 April 2008
By Keith W. Harvey - Published on Amazon.com
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Clareson has created an entertaining examination of the development of American Science Fiction from the pulp magazines in the twenties and thirties to ground breaking and innovative novels existent at the end of the sixties. He shows the progression of modern science fiction and fantasy by exploring and developing the genesis of current tropes taken as a given by the modern reader. In the process of developing his themes, he revives the memory of writers now forgotten and out of print. After reading this work, I sought out the novels of Mack Reynolds, Cordwainer Smith, Samuel R. Delaney, Leigh Brackett, and Poul Anderson. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that many of the ideas and themes of Iain Banks, Charles Stross, and Neal Asher had been explored many years before. All in all, Clareson's text is interesting, eye opening, informative, and a rich resource for anyone interested in the formative years of Science Fiction.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Neat History of Formative Period 22 Feb 2009
By C. Akova - Published on Amazon.com
Clareson gives a good answer to those who take SF lightly. With its brilliant language, UCASF is a neat, organized history of the Formative Period of Science Fiction in the USA.
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