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Grimus and Midnight’s Children
Andrew Teverson

Any intellect which confines itself to mere structuralism is bound to rest trapped in its own webs. (Salman Rushdie, Grimus , 1975, G, 91) Back then I was partial to science fiction novels. (Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath Her Feet , 1999, GBF, 205) Scenarios borrowed from science fiction fantasy appear in several of Rushdie’s novels. Haroun and the Sea of Stories features a journey to a magical moon on an automaton bird, The Satanic Verses alludes to the genre self

in Salman Rushdie
A comparative study
Author: Neil Cornwell

This book takes four stories by the Russian Romantic author Vladimir Odoevsky to illustrate ‘pathways’, developed further by subsequent writers, into modern fiction. Featured here are: the artistic (musical story), the rise of science fiction, psychic aspects of the detective story and of confession in the novel. The four chapters also examine the development of the featured categories by a wide range of subsequent writers in fiction ranging from the Romantic period up to the present century. The study works backwards from Odoevsky's stories, noting respective previous examples or traditions, before proceeding to follow the ‘pathways’ observed into later Russian, English and comparative fiction.

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Author: James Peacock

This book takes as its starting point Lethem’s characteristic collisions and mutations of genres – detective fiction and science fiction; road narrative and science fiction; coming-of-age stories on extraterrestrial frontiers. It proceeds chronologically and takes as its main focus Lethem’s novels, with reference to related short stories. The chronological approach is appropriate because it shows how the bold, rather ostentatious genre clashes in early novels make way for more subtle genre mergings later on. It also indicates the shifts in tone and emphasis as Lethem moves from LA, where the early novels were written, to Brooklyn, his childhood home, and back again. The book analyses the specific purposes of Lethem’s genre experiments. Despite claiming in interview that he has never really grown up, and that he writes the way he does partly to make himself laugh, it is argued that he uses genre frameworks to question the organising principles through which individuals confront or avoid the complexities of their lives, principles which may require a reduction in freedom or individual self-expression. As such his subversion of genre is not simply postmodern game-playing, but in its own way politically motivated.

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Science fiction meets detection in Gun, With Occasional Music
James Peacock

science fiction its ontological counterpart (McHale, 1987 : 16), does the modification of the former by the latter in Lethem’s novel represent some kind of evolution of the detective genre, equipping it to navigate its way through and speak more eloquently to a world characterised by hybridity, fluidity, uncertainty, simulation and multiple subjectivities? This is a world, as Adam Roberts observes (Roberts, 2006 : 28

in Jonathan Lethem
Dana Phillips

, and while resilience can be a measure of the abiding strengths of natural systems, it can also result in new environmental woes in its own right (such as a preponderance of invasive Phragmites reeds, and the further decline of megafauna like elephants that I hinted at above). Science fiction, speculative fiction and the pre-posterous historical novel That all four of the terms I just spent some time defining are marked, in varying degrees, by ambiguity underscores their structural importance to the narratives in which they are employed as tropes, owing to a

in Literature and sustainability
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The rise of the ‘cosmic traveller’
Neil Cornwell

Much science fiction is pure Romance. Romance is the story of an elsewhere . (Umberto Eco, Reflections on The Name of the Rose ) Among examples in the relatively unusual genre of early works of Russian science fiction are to be found stories by Vladimir Odoevsky. 1 Two works of his are concerned with the impending catastrophic approach of a comet to the Earth. In an early story of just five pages, ‘Two

in Odoevsky’s four pathways into modern fiction
As She Climbed Across the Table
James Peacock

academic himself, says: ‘The theme of a closed community, outside the mainstream of modern life, has always had obvious attractions. It explains the appeal of much science fiction, which is concerned with closed communities, whether on a space ship or on an alien planet’ (Kenyon, 1980 : 83). Though his characterisation of science fiction might be rather stereotyped, the link Kenyon draws between it and

in Jonathan Lethem
Sustainability in Kim Stanley Robinson’s Science in the Capital trilogy
Chris Pak

societies shape themselves partly through the utopian potential of the images of the future that they construct. Science fiction (sf) has portrayed a variety of images of the future, from post-apocalyptic narratives of decline to techno-utopian futures and ecotopian images of sustainable societies. These narratives explore many instances of sustainable and unsustainable practices, but issues of energy, oil, water and the extraction of other resources have been persistent themes. Through portrayals of future worlds and societies that explore the embeddedness of individuals

in Literature and sustainability
Anglo-American attitudes in the English fiction of mid-century
Patrick Parrinder

specialised in fantasy scenarios of alien occupation – science fiction. British science fiction at the mid-century would not have existed had it not been for its authors’ ability to sell to the US market. For example, 1951 saw the publication of The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham, which became one of the best-known British fantasy novels of the century. From 1954 onwards, Penguin paperback editions of The Day of the Triffids included the following biographical information about the author: ‘From 1930–9 he wrote stories of various kinds under different names almost

in End of empire and the English novel since 1945
Susan Watkins

In 1979, Doris Lessing made the transition to new worlds, publishing Shikasta , the first novel in her Canopus in Argos: Archives quintet (1979–83) and her first novel written entirely in the speculative mode. Science fiction (SF) has always involved extrapolation, so in what ways is writing about new worlds a way of writing about our own? What is the best way of voicing the relation between the familiar and the unfamiliar? Does SF require a different voice or narration? If it does, how might that make a writer like Lessing rethink

in Doris Lessing