modern science fiction and the gimme part 4 – on various genres and the gimme

THIS IS THE FOURTH of five es­says (all ti­tled “modern sci­ence fic­tion and the gimme part 4” or 3 or 1) ad­dressing as­pects of the ac­knowl­edged “laws” of plot­ting and story-telling in modern sci­ence fic­tion. It is not nec­es­sary to have read the first two parts to un­der­stand this part. [Continue reading]

SpeculativeFiction Castle FloatingRock 1500 1

modern science fiction and the gimme part 3

I CAME OF AGE as a reader of sci­ence fic­tion in the late 1960s and early ’70s. My ex­po­sure to what was hap­pening in sci­ence fic­tion was lim­ited, as I was never in­volved in any or­ga­nized fandom. For me, the early ’70s were spent turning on tuning in drop­ping out, protesting the war, ex­panding my con­scious­ness, and dis­cov­ering the dif­fer­ence be­tween girls and women. [Continue reading]

modern science fiction and the gimme part 2 – on the rule of the gimme

ALL FANTASTICAL LITERATURE de­pends on a state of being known as the ‘willful sus­pen­sion of dis­be­lief.’ That is, the reader en­ters the story pre­pared to toss all skep­ti­cism aside for the sake of the story! This term was coined by Samuel Taylor Co­leridge in 1817 in his Bi­ographia lit­er­aria (or ‘bi­o­graph­ical sketches of my lit­erary life’) and opin­ions he wrote:

“In this idea orig­i­nated the plan of the Lyrical Bal­lads; in which it was agreed, that my en­deav­ours should be di­rected to per­sons and char­ac­ters su­per­nat­ural, or at least ro­mantic, yet so as to transfer from our in­ward na­ture a human in­terest and a sem­blance of truth suf­fi­cient to pro­cure for these shadows of imag­i­na­tion that willing sus­pen­sion of dis­be­lief for the mo­ment, which con­sti­tutes po­etic faith.” [Continue reading]

modern science fiction and the gimme part 1 – on certain laws of science fiction

THIS IS THE FIRST OF FIVE in­ter­con­nected es­says on ‘modern’ sci­ence fic­tion and fan­tasy. They are in­tended to be read as a piece when all five are posted over the next week. This essay started off as an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into two as­pects of sci­ence fic­tion based on MY mem­o­ries con­cerning the field, most of them from the 1960s and ’70s. [Continue reading]


the most consistently able writer science fiction has yet produced

FREDERIK POHL—sci­ence fic­tion au­thor, for which he won a Hugo and a Nebula (Gateway, 1977) and the only Na­tional Book Award given in a one-year cat­e­gory for that genre (Gem, 1980); ed­itor (for which he won seven Hugos (Galaxy and If mag­a­zines, 1962-1969); lit­erary agent (who helped get Isaac Asi­mov’s first novel pub­lished); critic and historian—died on Sep­tember 2, 2013, at the age of 93. [Continue reading]