Speaking Science Fiction: Dialogues and Interpretations

Speaking Science Fiction: Dialogues and Interpretations

Speaking Science Fiction: Dialogues and Interpretations

Speaking Science Fiction: Dialogues and Interpretations

Synopsis

This wide-ranging volume explores the various dialogues that flourish between different aspects of science fiction: academics and fans, writers and readers; ideological stances and national styles; different interpretations of the genre; and how language and �1voices�2 are used in constructing SF. Introduced by the acclaimed novelist Brian W. Aldiss, the essays range from studies of writers such as Robert A. Heinlein, who are considered as the "heart" of the genre, to more contemporary writers such as Jack Womack and J. G. Ballard.

Excerpt

‘Speaking Science Fiction’ began as a way of celebrating the new life of the Science Fiction Foundation Collection at the University of Liverpool. the Collection, developed by the Science Fiction Foundation as a research library for the benefit of those engaged in the study and scholarship of sf, is now the largest publicly available collection of science fiction and material about science fiction in the uk, given new impetus by Liverpool's ma in Science Fiction, the first in the country. It contains material in many languages, as well as specific sub-collections such as the Myers Collection of Russian science fiction, and numerous manuscripts and collections of papers deposited by authors and editors such as Ramsey Campbell and Colin Greenland. Together with the Eric Frank Russell and Olaf Stapledon Archives, it forms one of the largest resources of sf-based material anywhere. We are grateful to the University of Liverpool and the Friends of Foundation for ensuring the survival of the Collection at a moment of crisis, to the Higher Education Council for England for funding a two-year cataloguing project, and to the Heritage Lottery Fund for recently enabling Liverpool University to purchase the John Wyndham Archive.

A library of science fiction is a library of Babel: a collection of fictions classified as ‘science fiction’ because someone, somewhere, has decided that they reflect, somehow, one of the many definitions of sf. One of the implied themes of ‘Speaking Science Fiction’, held in Liverpool in July 1996, was this underlying debate about the field: a debate which has in recent years become more intensified as more attention is given to the body of literature called—or miscalled—‘science fiction’. the conference was to some extent a celebration of Liverpool University's rescue of the Science Fiction Foundation Collection, but it came at an auspicious time. the previous year had seen one of the rare British hostings of a World sf Convention (Glasgow, 1995), and 1996 was also to see another major academic conference devoted to the field (Luton's ‘Envisaging Alternatives’). the following year was also to see the annual Easter sf Convention . . .

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