REVIEW: ‘Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction’ has ‘gems from giants’

Feb. 17, 2011 | 8:51 a.m.

Ed Park (the author of the novel “Personal Days“) recently reviewed  “The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction” for the Los Angeles Times. Here’s an excerpt…

If you’re still looking for a reading strategy for the new year, might I suggest reading a science fiction story a week? The best way to do this is to get “The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction” ( Wesleyan University Press: 767 pp., $39.95 paper), which conveniently offers 52 stories for your 2011 self-improvement regimen. It’s more than just an ideal survey of the genre, reaching from the 19th century (Hawthorne, Verne, Wells) through the pulps, new wave, cyberpunk and the too-soon-to-classify morsels of the decade that just ended. This big book is both a thrilling entertainment and a convincing argument for the way SF can refresh the mind, play boldly with form and reflect its era creatively — in other words, what all good literature should do.

Put together by the editors of the academic journal Science Fiction Studies, the Wesleyan anthology has a hand-holding function, beckoning those who might still sniff at the genre to take a closer look. (Hey, E.M. Forster’s in here — nothing to be afraid of!) Individual introductions give useful biographical information and connect each story to what’s called the “sf megatext,” a “fictive universe that includes all the sf stories that have ever been told … a place of shared images, situations, plots, characters, settings, and themes generated across a multiplicity of media.”

But for maximum enjoyment, just jump in. You might hit Kate Wilhelm’s Forever Yours, Anna” (1987) or Robert A. Heinlein’s All You Zombies “(1959), two extremely satisfying time-travel excursions; or Frederick Pohl’sDay Million” (1966), which levels a weirdly withering (yet exciting) tone at the modern reader: “Oh, I can see you now, you eaters of charcoal-broiled steak, scratching an incipient bunion with one hand and holding this story with the other.… You don’t believe a word of it, do you?” There are gems from giants…

THERE’S MORE, READ THE REST

– Ed Park

RECENT AND RELATED

 

PART 1: Philip K. Dick in O.C., stranger in a strange land

PART 2: Philip K. Dick in John Birch territory

PART 3: Philip K. Dick, an uneasy spy in ’70s suburbia

PART 4: Philip K. Dick finds God on the doorstep

PART 5: Philip K. Dick scans the darkness of O.C.

PART 6: Philip K. Dick and the maze of death

Bradbury: “Our country is in need of a revolution”

Isaac Asimov, traveling in time  and space

GUEST ESSAY: Searching for Bradbury

Heinlein book: Author was saved by sci-fi

Chabon on “writers who can dwell between worlds”

Colfer will give “Hitchhiker’s Guide” a new ride

Lovecraft and Hollywood, an unholy alliance?

Christopher Priest and “Inverted World,” revisited

Tim Powers sets sail with “Pirates” franchise

 

Comments


2 Responses to REVIEW: ‘Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction’ has ‘gems from giants’

  1. Kikstad says:

    I wish this book was available on the Kindle.

  2. @ginaunn says:

    i wish it is available in UNN bookshop

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