Guide Sense of Wonder: A Century of Science Fiction

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Robots , artificial humans, human clones , intelligent computers , and their possible conflicts with humans has been a major theme of science fiction since the publication of Frankenstein. Feminist science fiction poses questions about social issues such as how society constructs gender roles , the role reproduction plays in defining gender and the unequal political and personal power of men over women. Some of the most notable feminist science fiction works have illustrated these themes using utopias to explore a society in which gender differences or gender power imbalances do not exist, or dystopias to explore worlds in which gender inequalities are intensified, thus asserting a need for feminist work to continue.

Libertarian science fiction focuses on the politics and the social order implied by right libertarian philosophies with an emphasis on individualism and private property , and in some cases anti-statism. Climate fiction , or "cli-fi" deals with issues concerning climate change and global warming. Comic science fiction often satirizes and criticizes present-day society, as well as sometimes making fun of the conventions and cliches of serious science fiction. Science fiction is often said to generate a "sense of wonder.

TOC: ‘Sense of Wonder – A Century of Science Fiction’ Edited by Leigh Ronald Grossman | SF Signal

It is an appeal to the sense of wonder. Deep within, whether they admit it or not, is a feeling of disappointment and even outrage that the outer world has invaded their private domain. Science fiction is being written worldwide by a diverse population of authors. One notable award for science fiction films is the Saturn Award. There are national awards, like Canada's Prix Aurora Awards , regional awards, like the Endeavour Award presented at Orycon for works from the Pacific Northwest , special interest or subgenre awards like the Chesley Award for art or the World Fantasy Award for fantasy.

Magazines may organize reader polls, notably the Locus Award. Conventions in fandom, shortened as "cons" , are held in cities around the world, catering to a local, regional, national, or international membership. General-interest conventions cover all aspects of science fiction, while others focus on a particular interest like media fandom , filking , etc. Most are organized by volunteers in non-profit groups , though most media-oriented events are organized by commercial promoters.

The Lost Daughters

The convention's activities are called the "program", which may include panel discussions, readings, autograph sessions, costume masquerades, and other events. Activities that occur throughout the convention are not part of the program; these commonly include a dealer's room, art show, and hospitality lounge or "con suites". Conventions may host award ceremonies; Worldcons present the Hugo Awards each year.

SF societies, referred to as "clubs" except in formal contexts, form a year-round base of activities for science fiction fans. They may be associated with an ongoing science fiction convention, or have regular club meetings, or both. Most groups meet in libraries, schools and universities, community centers, pubs or restaurants, or the homes of individual members.

Long-established groups like the New England Science Fiction Association and the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society have clubhouses for meetings and storage of convention supplies and research materials.

Science fiction fandom is the "community of the literature of ideas SF fandom emerged from the letters column in Amazing Stories magazine. Soon fans began writing letters to each other, and then grouping their comments together in informal publications that became known as fanzines.


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In the s, the first science fiction conventions gathered fans from a wider area. The first science fiction fanzine, The Comet , was published in Distribution volumes rarely justify the cost of commercial printing. Modern fanzines are printed on computer printers or at local copy shops, or they may only be sent as email.

The best known fanzine or "' zine " today is Ansible , edited by David Langford , winner of numerous Hugo awards. Other fanzines to win awards in recent years include File , Mimosa , and Plokta.


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In the s, the development of the World-Wide Web exploded the community of online fandom by orders of magnitude, with thousands and then literally millions of web sites devoted to science fiction and related genres for all media. Fan fiction, or "fanfic", is non-commercial fiction created by fans in the setting of an established book, film , video game , or television series.

Examples of this would include the Goon Defective Agency stories, written starting in by Irish fan John Berry and published in his and Arthur Thomson 's fanzine Retribution. In the last few years, sites have appeared such as Orion's Arm and Galaxiki , which encourage collaborative development of science fiction universes.

In some cases, the copyright owners of the books, films, or television series have instructed their lawyers to issue "cease and desist" letters to fans.

TOC: ‘Sense of Wonder – A Century of Science Fiction’ Edited by Leigh Ronald Grossman

The study of science fiction, or science fiction studies , is the critical assessment, interpretation, and discussion of science fiction literature, film, new media, fandom, and fan fiction. Science fiction scholars take science fiction as an object of study in order to better understand it and its relationship to science, technology, politics, and culture-at-large.

Science fiction studies has a long history dating back to the turn of the 20th century, but it was not until later that science fiction studies solidified as a discipline with the publication of the academic journals Extrapolation , Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction , and Science Fiction Studies , and the establishment of the oldest organizations devoted to the study of science fiction, the Science Fiction Research Association and the Science Fiction Foundation , in The field has grown considerably since the s with the establishment of more journals, organizations, and conferences with ties to the science fiction scholarship community, and science fiction degree-granting programs such as those offered by the University of Liverpool and Kansas University.

Mary Shelley wrote a number of science fiction novels including Frankenstein , and is considered a major writer of the Romantic Age. Le Guin first asks: "Can a science fiction writer write a novel? The great novelists have brought us to see whatever they wish us to see through some character. Otherwise they would not be novelists, but poets, historians, or pamphleteers.

Tom Shippey asks: "What is its relationship to fantasy fiction, is its readership still dominated by male adolescents, is it a taste which will appeal to the mature but non-eccentric literary mind? Kornbluth 's The Space Merchants and concludes that the basic building block and distinguishing feature of a science fiction novel is the presence of the novum , a term Darko Suvin adapts from Ernst Bloch and defines as "a discrete piece of information recognizable as not-true, but also as not-unlike-true, not-flatly- and in the current state of knowledge impossible.

Orson Scott Card , an author of both science fiction and non-SF fiction, has postulated that in science fiction the message and intellectual significance of the work is contained within the story itself and, therefore, there need not be stylistic gimmicks or literary games; but that some writers and critics confuse clarity of language with lack of artistic merit. In Card's words: " Science fiction author and physicist Gregory Benford has declared that: "SF is perhaps the defining genre of the twentieth century, although its conquering armies are still camped outside the Rome of the literary citadels.

Clarke 's Rendezvous with Rama , stands as "a hidden tombstone marking the death of the hope that SF was about to merge with the mainstream. David Barnett has remarked: [] "The ongoing, endless war between "literary" fiction and "genre" fiction has well-defined lines in the sand. Genre's foot soldiers think that literary fiction is a collection of meaningless but prettily drawn pictures of the human condition. The literary guard consider genre fiction to be crass, commercial, whizz-bang potboilers.

Or so it goes. They are all most definitely not science fiction.


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  4. All of these novels use the tropes of what most people recognize as science fiction, but their authors or publishers have taken great pains to ensure that they are not categorized as such. Although perhaps most developed as a genre and community in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, science fiction is a worldwide phenomenon.

    Organisations devoted to promotion and translation in particular countries are commonplace, as are country- or language-specific genre awards. Mohammed Dib , an Algerian writer, wrote a science fiction allegory about his nation's politics, Qui se souvient de la mer Who Remembers the Sea? In South Africa , a movie titled District 9 came out in , an apartheid allegory featuring extraterrestrial life forms, produced by Peter Jackson.

    Afrofuturism is a genre of science fiction and speculative fiction which consists largely of the work produced by members of the African diaspora in the Americas. The term "afrofuturism" was coined in by Mark Dery in his essay "Black to the Future. Delany said in an interview with Dark Matter , recognizing, too, writers of "proto-science fiction" such as black nationalist Martin Delany and M. Shiel , a British writer of Creole descent. Since this story was intended as a political polemic, credit for the first science fiction story is often given to later Bengali authors such as Jagadananda Roy , Hemlal Dutta and the polymath Jagadish Chandra Bose.

    Eminent film maker and writer Satyajit Ray also enriched Bengali science fiction by writing many short stories as well as science fiction series, Professor Shonku see Bengali science fiction. Similar traditions exist in Hindi, Marathi, Tamil and English. In recent years authors in some other Indian languages have begun telling stories in this genre; for example in Punjabi IP Singh and Roop Dhillon have written stories that can clearly be defined as Punjabi science fiction. The latter has coined the term Vachitarvaad to describe such literature.

    Bangladesh has a strong science fiction literature. This story was later included in a compilation of Iqbal's work in a book by the same name. Iqbal later transformed his own science fiction cartoon strip Mohakashe Mohatrash Terror in the Cosmos into a novel. Nasim Sahnic is a science fiction writer in Bangladesh.

    His books are famous with the younger generation.