August Books 7) A Very British Genre

7) A Very British Genre: A Short History of British Fantasy and Science Fiction, by

A nice short book, ten years old now, looking at the history of sf in Britain, though the title is contradicted by the first sentence, “Science Fiction is not a distinctly British genre.” I found this useful as a contextualisation of a lot of the stuff I’ve already read and as a pointer for other writers I might enjoy -indeed, am surprised by the large number of writers singled out as significant who I haven’t yet tried. Paul makes a lot of sweeping statements (Wells “perhaps the single most important writer in the history of science fiction”, Aldiss “probably the most literarily varied and inventive writer since Wells”) which I struggled with for a moment or two before deciding that I actually agree with him. One or two omissions – Dan Dare gets a mention, but no other comics, and I’d have thought 2000AD (and the Dave Gibbons Doctor Who strips) are significant in this. Also because of the concentration on the UK, Flann O’Brien is left out, but is in. And when one chapter began with the deaths of Aldous Huxley and C.S. Lewis on the same day as John F. Kennedy, I was hoping that it might end with a reference to another significant event in the history of British sf the following day; but it didn’t. Still, you can’t really complain; 41 pages of text, and (particularly appreciated) a comprehensive reading list and index at the back.

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1 Response to August Books 7) A Very British Genre

  1. nwhyte says:

    Did I say Mother of Plenty was an anthology?

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