Saturday, August 27, 2011

A science fiction bibliography

I've recently been appointed as an external supervisor for a graduate student working on Greek mythology and science fiction novels. I'm very excited by the project, and having my first graduate student since 1998 (I'd long assumed I wouldn't get any more). As part of the initial work for my student, I prepared a core bibliography of sf academic/critical works, which I thought I would share with you all.

I wouldn't necessarily expect any serious sf academic to have read all of these books cover to cover - I certainly haven't. But I would expect any Ph.D. proposal to make reference to at least two or three of them, and I would hope that a book-length work would make reference to most of them.

They are:

Brian W. Aldiss and David Wingrove, Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction (New York: Athenaeum, 1986)
Mark Bould, Andrew M. Butler, Adam Roberts and Sherryl Vint (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Science Fiction (Abingdon: Routledge, 2009)
John Clute, Pardon This Intrusion: Fantastika in the World Storm (Harold Wood: Beccon Publications, 2011)
John Clute, David Langford and Graham Sleight (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (third online edition due soon - see; the second edition, ed. John Clute and Peter Nicholls, London: Orbit, 1993, corrected paperback 1999, is also worth consulting)
Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, Jr., The Seven Beauties of Science Fiction (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2008)
Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003)
Roger Luckhurst, Science Fiction (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2005)
Adam Roberts, The History of Science Fiction (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005)
David Seed, Science Fiction: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011)
David Seed (ed), A Companion to Science Fiction (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2005)

The following works are not perhaps so essential - some of them are primarily about fantasy, but have useful insights for sf, others are on subsidiary areas of sf. But they do come highly recommended (and not just by me):

Michael Ashley, Out of this World: Science Fiction, but not as we know it (London: British Library, 2011)
John Clute and John Grant (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Fantasy (London: Orbit, 1997)
Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011 [not yet published])
Paul Kincaid, A Very British Genre: A Short History of British Science Fiction and Fantasy (London: British Science Fiction Association, 1995)
Paul Kincaid, What it Is We Do When We Read Science Fiction (Harold Wood: Beccon Publications, 2008)
Farah Mendlesohn, Rhetorics of Fantasy (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2007)
Farah Mendlesohn, The Inter-Galactic Playground: A Critical Study of Children's and Teens' Science Fiction (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2009)

I'm open to comments here. Are there any obvious texts I've missed? I won't invite you to argue that there are works I've included that shouldn't be on this list, because I think they all should be.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'd recommend the introductions (both Asimov's and Harlan Ellison's) to the first Dangerous Visions volume.