Over on Kirkus Reviews, I have a bit of a roundup post that looks back over the posts that I’ve written, looking at the foundational stories of the genre, and how they all fit together in the bigger picture. You can read it over here. This isn’t it for my coverage of the Science Romance period: in early September, I’ll be going back and looking at Arthur Conan Doyle’s Professor Challenger books, but after that, we’ll be looking a bit at Horror and Fantasy, before moving on towards the Golden Age of Science Fiction, which should be very exciting.
This column has been a really fun thing to work with, both in the writing and researching components. Since starting this, I’ve relied heavily on the Kreitzburg Library for sources, and buying some books that I’ve been going back to time and time again.
The usual suspects that I generally go back to are the following works, and I really encourage anyone who’s got a passing interest in the overall history of the genre to do themselves a favor and check them out:
Billion / Trillion Year Spree, by Brian Aldiss: This fantastic look at the genre comes in two editions. The Billion Year Spree is all Aldiss, while the Trillion Year Spree adds in some other material. Aldiss covers the genre in exhausting detail, and at points, pulls in material that other books don’t touch, providing a really great look at science fiction and its formation.
History of Science Fiction, by Adam Roberts: Robert’s history is one that I’ve really enjoyed for years now, and he covers the genre as a speculative sort of history, going far back into antiquity for some of the really deep roots of the genre.
The Stuff Dreams are Made Of, by Thomas Disch: Disch’s book is a bit more on the popular history side of things, but what he does do is provide a great, high level snapshot of Science Fiction and it’s progression from author to author.
Survey of Science Fiction, edited by Frank Magill: This series has been an invaluble purchase for me: a critical survey of the genre from around the 1970s, collecting thousands of reviews of notable science fiction novels. It’s been a really good tool, especially for looking over books that I haven’t read, or read a long time ago.
To compliment the posting up on Kirkus, here’s a list of my source posts with additional sources specific to each author:
- Hugo Gernsback: Father of Science Fiction?
- Adapting Philip K. Dick
- Looking Far into the Future: Olaf Stapledon
- Jules Verne and the Moon
- H.G. Wells and the War of the Worlds
- Ray Bradbury, 1920-2012
- Edgar Allan Poe and Jules Verne
- A Meeting in Geneva: The Birth of ‘Frankenstein’