Odd Genre: A Study in Imagination and Evolution

Odd Genre: A Study in Imagination and Evolution

Odd Genre: A Study in Imagination and Evolution

Odd Genre: A Study in Imagination and Evolution

Synopsis

This book provides a detailed study of the relationship between science fiction and other genres. After discussing the problems inherent in classifying works according to genre, Pierce notes how science fiction sometimes incorporates plots from other literary forms. He then explores the relationship between science fiction and related genres, such as fantastic romances and techno-thrillers. The book next examines those science fiction writers who have successfully written in other literary forms, as well as authors active in other genres who have turned to science fiction to treat particular themes. Pierce also discusses the literary and stylistic aspects of science fiction. Throughout the book, Pierce's coverage is encyclopedic in nature. He provides examples from numerous works, and the volume closes with a detailed bibliography.

Excerpt

Odd Genre was not originally conceived as a part of the history of science fiction called Imagination and Evolution. But neither is the present volume a mere afterthought.

Tales can, as J.R.R. Tolkien discovered, grow in the telling. So too can tales about tales. The subject matter of any history, of course, continues to grow; but that is not the reason, and surely not the justification, for Odd Genre. The reach of an author can often exceed his grasp. When accepted for publication, Imagination and Evolution was in a very incomplete state. Only the part that became Foundations of Science Fiction was finished; Great Themes of Science Fiction existed only in notes and partial first drafts, and When World Views Collide was in an even sketchier stage. We had meant to touch on the use of plots from other genres in Great Themes and to devote more attention to the purely literary (as opposed to ideological) aspects of sf in World Views. Alas, this proved to be impractical: contractual limitations on length of both books precluded inclusion of even some core material, and the cuts thus necessary were particularly painful for the latter volume. But even without those cuts, it became obvious, it would have been impossible to do justice to our original intentions.

Even sympathetic readers of Imagination and Evolution have expressed some misgivings about its balance and emphasis. It is impossible, of course, to be entirely comprehensive, especially in the coverage of recent sf--there is simply too much of it. Most of it, true, may be unworthy of critical notice; but even the work of writers like Kim Stanley Robinson and Octavia E. Butler, which deserves greater attention, cannot be more than touched upon within the scope of a history like this. Because our focus on science fiction has been thematic on one level or another throughout Imagination and Evolution, our approach has been to emphasize some authors who best represent the issues at hand, even though . . .

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