When World Views Collide: A Study in Imagination and Evolution

When World Views Collide: A Study in Imagination and Evolution

When World Views Collide: A Study in Imagination and Evolution

When World Views Collide: A Study in Imagination and Evolution

Synopsis

Science fiction has evolved and diverged in many ways and moods. When World Views Collide is the third and final volume in a history of the genre that began with Foundations of Science Fiction and continued in Great Themes of Science Fiction. The conflicts in science fiction are conflicts about world views, which Pierce defines as fundamental beliefs about the nature of man, the universe, and man's place in the universe. Pierce presents each world view in science fiction on its own terms, as expressed in the works of its partisans. This final volume of the trilogy thus examines science fiction as a way of defining and delimiting humanity and human values, which may well be the most important aspect of the genre today.

Excerpt

Some fifty years ago, when I first began writing science fiction, there were only a few magazines where that type of literature appeared. Very few new books of science fiction were published, and even the reprints of the classics by Wells and Verne were not easy to find. Science fiction wasn't even thought of as a category, and the word "genre" was yet to be applied, since scholarship neglected it almost completely. In fact, the idea that it was "ghetto" hadn't been given expression, though a later generation insisted that it had been exiled into one.

At that time, it was still possible to read everything that was being published in the field; indeed, secondhand magazine stores and used book outlets made it possible for a reader to become familiar with much that had been published before. Most of the small group of devoted fans and many of the writers in the field were familiar with all the current works and an extensive body of previous science fiction. Some were already beginning to make collections that would preserve the ephemeral magazines for the future.

Already, however, there had begun an evolution in the nature and ethos of science fiction, led by such early writers as Stanley G. Weinbaum and Raymond Z. Gallun. The simple gadget story was giving way to fiction with a more complex view of the attitudes behind science.

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