Billion Year Spree

Billion Year Spree : History of Science Fiction

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Product details

  • Paperback | 404 pages
  • 120 x 180mm
  • Random House Children's Publishers UK
  • Corgi Childrens
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • Ill.
  • 0552098051
  • 9780552098052

Review Text

An idiosyncratic history of science fiction which will both entertain and infuriate the fans. Its thesis purports to be that modern SF grew out of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and that the theme of Man as creator, forced to confront himself in a society disintegrating because he has usurped the power of God, has continued to inform the genre. However, the book is never really successful in imposing order on SF's billion-year spree (a fine phrase), partially because Aldiss (with Gibson) skips from thought to notion, bedding down genuine insights next to trivial or even wrong-headed assumptions, but mostly because SF has grown like Topsy and doesn't lend itself to such ordering. Aldiss is a critic of some facility, but characteristically he does not develop his points. This book is as broad in scope as one of E. E. Smith's galaxy spanning space operas; it is constantly depositing an intriguing analysis in your path and then sweeping you off into another solar system before you've really seen where you've been. The helterskelter pace often leads him to state his conclusions without proving them (and some are very arguable; for example, his dismissal of C. S. Lewis' That Hideous Strength). His treatment of current writers is self-admittedly unbalanced - a line or two for Delany and Zelazy, several pages on Harry Harrison. But this is a personal book, one man's thoughts on a literature that some sneer at and others take perhaps too seriously. (Kirkus Reviews)show more