Synopses & Reviews
Few literary genres can expand the boundaries of our imagination as much as science fiction. The Science Fiction Handbook offers a comprehensive historical survey of literary works of science fiction and its most popular sub-genres. Beginning with a broad overview of science fiction's emergence as a literary genre, the Handbook goes on to provide detailed historical surveys of its distinct sub-genres, whose development often paralleled society's technological advances. These include works of time-travel and alternative history narratives; alien-invasion narratives; space exploration and space opera; post-apocalyptic and post-disaster narratives; works of utopian and dystopian science fiction; feminism and gender themes in science fiction; science fiction as satire; cyberpunk and post-human science fiction; and multicultural science fiction. The authors also offer brief biographies of several noted science fiction writers along with extended critical analyses of 20 of the genre's most significant works.
"This book represents an extremely useful pedagogical tool, that will find a home in both research libraries and undergraduate classrooms."--Phillip Wegner, University of Florida
The Science Fiction Handbook
offers a comprehensive and accessible survey of one of the literary world's most fascinating genres.
- Includes separate historical surveys of key subgenres including time-travel narratives, post-apocalyptic and post-disaster narratives and works of utopian and dystopian science fiction
- Each subgenre survey includes an extensive list of relevant critical readings, recommended novels in the subgenre, and recommended films relevant to the subgenre
- Features entries on a number of key science fiction authors and extensive discussion of major science fiction novels or sequences
- Writers and works include Isaac Asimov; Margaret Atwood; George Orwell; Ursula K. Le Guin; The War of the Worlds (1898); Starship Troopers (1959); Mars Trilogy (1993-6); and many more
- A 'Science Fiction Glossary' completes this indispensable Handbook
M. Keith Booker
is the James E. and Ellen Wadley Roper Professor of English and Director of the Program in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of Arkansas. He is the author of more than 30 books on literature, popular culture, and cultural theory.
Anne-Marie Thomas is Associate Professor of English at Austin Community College. She teaches literature and composition, including science fiction classes for the college’s Honors Program.
About the Author
"Science fiction has been an important force in English-language literature and publishing for well over one hundred years. The task of adequately summarizing it ... would seem daunting. Doing it adequately and in a manner that is both understandable to the lay reader and even at times entertaining might seem an impossibility. And doing all that in fewer than 350 pages . . . forget it. But Booker and Thomas have succeeded. Bravo. As Mr. Spock might say, with the lift of an eyebrow, 'Fascinating.' As is this handbook. Every decent library should have it, and every good science fiction fan should refer to it. I guarantee you'll learn something and have your horizons expanded." (Green Man Review
, September 2009)
?Booker and Thomas have produced a valuable work that manages to find a niche in a suddenly crowded market for resources on science fiction.? (CHOICE, October 2009)
"The book is ... rich, [and] diverse ... .If you are interested in science fiction ... you [should] run out and get a copy. Although the focus is on literature, movies and TV shows are also included. I highly recommend it. The book not only taught me and demonstrated its a potential as a reference work, it introduced me to works of science fiction that I had not read and left me wanting to go out and read them." (Exploring Our Matrix Blog, September 2009)
"In short, The Science Fiction Handbook is a fascinating reference work that puts science fiction subgenres into historical perspective while offering more detailed analyses of representative corresponding novels." (SF Signal, July 2009)
?In The Science Fiction Handbook, authors M. Keith Booker and Anne-Marie Thomas finally give the genre its due, and celebrate it, as well as help to distinguish it from other forms such as fantasy or horror.? (SFscope.com, April 2009)
Table of Contents
Part I: Introduction.
Science Fiction in Western Culture.
Part II: Brief Historical Surveys of Science Fiction Subgenres.
The Time-Travel Invasion.
The Alien Invasion Narrative.
The Space Opera.
Apocalyptic and Post-Disaster Narratives.
Dystopian Science Fiction.
Feminism, Science Fiction, and Gender.
Science Fiction and Satire.
Cyberpunk and Posthuman Science Fiction.
Multicultural Science Fiction.
Part III: Representative Science Fiction Authors.
Isaac Asimov (1920–1992).
Margaret Atwood (1939–).
Octavia Butler (1947–2006).
Samuel R. Delany (1942–).
Philip K. Dick (1928–1982).
William Gibson (1948–).
Nicola Griffith (1960–).
Joe Haldeman (1943–).
Robert A. Heinlein (1907–1988).
Nalo Hopkinson (1960–).
Ursula K. Le Guin (1929–).
Ian McDonald (1960–).
China Miéville (1972–).
George Orwell (1903–1950).
Marge Piercy (1936–).
Frederik Pohl (1919–).
Kim Stanley Robinson (1952–).
Neal Stephenson (1959–).
H. G. Wells (1866–1946).
Part IV: Discussions of Individual Texts.
H. G. Wells, The Time Machine (1895).
H. G. Wells, The War of the Worlds (1898).
George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949).
Isaac Asimov, I, Robot (1950).
Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kormbluth, The Space Merchants (1952).
Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers (1959).
Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968).
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed (1974).
Joe Haldeman, The Forever War (1974).
Marge Piercy, Woman on the Edge of Time (1976).
Samuel R. Delany, Trouble on Triton (1976).
William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984).
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale (1985).
Octavia Butler, “Xenogenesis” trilogy (1987–1989).
Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash (1992).
Nicola Griffith, Ammonite (1994).
Kim Stanley Robinson, “Mars” trilogy (1992–1996).
Nalo Hopkinson, Midnight Robber (2000).
China Miéville, Perdido Street Station (2000).
Ian McDonald, River of Gods (2005).