E.g. Brian Aldiss, ed., Introducing SF: a Science Fiction Anthology, p. 10, says
that the stimulus of a science fiction story comes from the fact that 'it is about
what is happening to you'; Ursula Le Guin, Introduction to her The Left Hand
of Darkness, no page, declares, 'Science fiction is metaphor'; Samuel Delany, The Jewel-Hinged Jaw: Notes on the Language of Science Fiction, p. 178, maintains
that 'Science fiction is the only area of literature outside poetry that is
symbolistic in its basic conception. Its stated aim is to represent the world
without reproducing it.' Aldiss, however, can also say, 'The images are what
attract me in science fiction, more even than the surprises and the ideas and
the crazy plots' (Aldiss, ed., Yet More Penguin Science Fiction, p. 9 et seq.).
I am thinking here particularly of David Ketterer's fine New Worlds for Old:
the Apocalyptic Imagination, Science Fiction, and American Literature.
Compare Mark Rose, Alien Encounters: Anatomy of Science Fiction, which is a
systematic account of the alien as metaphoric projection of the unknown or
the 'void' in our lives and our desire to overcome it.
As for example in Herbert's Dune, between the melange spice and oil. But to
read only in these terms is mistaken.
A sane and wide-ranging account of the history of science fiction can be
found in Brian Aldiss, Billion Year Spree: the True History of Science Fiction; see
also Robert Scholes and Eric S. Rabkin, 'A Brief Literary History of Science
Fiction', Science Fiction: History, Science, Vision, pp. 3-99. The nineteenth-
century development of the genre in Britain is well covered in Darko Suvin's Victorian Science Fiction in the U.K.: The Discourses of Knowledge and of Power: and
that in America by H. Bruce Franklin, Future Perfect: American Science Fiction of
the Nineteenth Century.
See also Susan Glicksohn, ' "A City of Which the Stars are Suburbs" ', in
Clareson ed., SF: the Other Side of Realism, pp. 341-5.
For a full account, see Mike Ashley, The History of the Science Fiction Magazine;
David Samuelson, Visions of Tomorrow: Six Journeys from Outer to Inner Space,
pp. 17-37; Frank Cioffi, Formula Fiction?: an Anatomy of American Science
Fiction, 1930-1940, ch. 1.
For an account of the characteristics of fantasy as compared to science
fiction, see my 'On the Nature of Fantasy', in Roger C. Schlobin, ed., The
Aesthetics of Fantasy Literature and Art, pp. 18-24, 29-31; Jaqueline Wynten-
broek, 'Science Fiction and Fantasy', Extrapolation, XXIII, pp. 321-32.
See W. Warren Wagar, Terminal Visions: the Literature of Last Things, esp.