Articles

This section includes original articles and collections of excerpts from primary source material which highlight various important editors in the science fiction genre, as well as any additional content that does not fit in a specific author section.

Literature of Science Fiction Lecture Series (2017-10-06)

The Gunn Center For the Study of Science Ficion at the University of Kansas was founded in 1982 by James E. Gunn. Gunn was a professor at the University and offered one of the first courses in the study of science fiction as early as 1969. Annually, the institute presents both the John W. Campbell Memorial Award and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. They offer vast resources of science fiction books, articles and videos.

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Excerpts from Dream Makers (2017-04-30)

Charles Platt was born in London and relocated to the United States in 1970. He has had a varied career as a writer, journalist and computer programmer. The subject of this particular article is his Hugo-nominated Dream Makers, published by Berkley in 1980. For this collection, Platt has interviewed some heavy-weight science fiction authors, taken the transcripts and added a narrative to them, creating an easy to read, insightful and descriptive image of the authors and their lives. Originally my intention was to add portions of these interviews to the "notes" sections on the respective author pages, but upon reading the work, I realized the narrative style does not lend itself to this application. Instead, I have decided to create this article entry with excerpts from the work so that it can be more completely understood in context of what Platt was trying to achieve.

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Excerpts from Hell's Cartographers (2017-03-26)

Drawn to this work because it features 2 of my preferred SF authors (Harry Harrison and Frederik Pohl) discussing their lives and careers, I found the entire book entertaining and enlightening. I learned many details about these six authors that I had not discovered before.

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The Doubles - Speculative Fiction with Dos--dos Binding (2017-03-25)

Ace Books started printing novels with Dos--dos binding in 1952. The idea was to pair a known author with a new writer to expose pulp readers to a larger array of styles and titles, thus promoting sales and readership. The series lasted primarily from 1952 until 1973, but Ace did continue to issue special doubles until 1978, when the format was retired for good.

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SF Horizons - A Journal of Science Fiction Criticism (2016-10-31)

S F Horizons was a critical journal conceptualized and organized by Brian Aldiss and Harry Harrison. It saw two issues published, in 1964 and 1965. It was an extremely good example of early science fiction criticism and it is an outright shame the project was discontinued. Following are excerpts from the journal, which I hope everyone enjoys. While copies of the original are quite difficult to find, the digest was reprinted in one volume by Arno Press in 1975.

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Scientifiction: Gernsback's Legacy (2016-04-03)

Hugo Gernsbacher was born in Luxembourg in 1884, at a time of scientific innovation. That same year, Charles Goodyear patented vulcanized rubber and Samuel Morse tapped out the first Morse code. The world was still experimenting with electricity, and when Hugo was a small child this became his chief fascination. When he was around six years old, a handyman at his father's winery taught him how to hook up a battery, wire and an electric bell. Soon after, Hugo was earning money installing door buzzers and intercoms in his neighbors' homes. This interest led him to pursue a formal technical education.

When Hugo was nine years old, he was given a copy of Percival Lowell's Mars as the Adobe of Life. According to legend, this made such an impression on him that he "lapsed into delirium" and was sent home "raving about strange creatures, fantastic cities, and masterly engineered canals of Mars for two full days and nights, while a doctor remained in almost constant attendance." His imagination was further fueled when, while attending boarding school in Brussels, he discovered the works of Mark Twain and stories of the American West. This instilled in him a strong desire to emigrate to the United States to pursue adventure and innovation.

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Excerpts from Paul Walker's Speaking of Science Fiction (2016-04-01)

A few years ago I purchased a book for myself called Speaking of Science Fiction by author and journalist Paul Walker. It's a wonderful collection of interviews with major authors of the time, published in 1971. I wanted to share some of the bits I found inside, so following are excerpts. I recommend this book for anyone who is interested in the thoughts and motivations of science fiction authors. These are only bits from some of the interviews. I have in no way tried to bring forth the entirety of the book. Beyond what you see here are interviews with: R.A. Lafferty, Philip Jose Farmer, Fritz Leiber, Roger Zelazny, James Schmitz, Keith Laumer, Horace L. Gold, Terry Carr, Harry Harrison (on John W. Campbell), Michael Moorcock, Joanna Russ, Anne McCafferty, Andre Norton, Zenna Henderson, Robert Silverberg, Harlan Ellison, Alfred Bester, John Brunner, Robert Bloch, Edmond Hamilton, Leigh Brackett, Jack Williamson and Brian W. Aldiss.

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John W. Campbell: Father of the Golden Age (2015-06-16)

John Wood Campbell, Jr. was born in New Jersey in 1910. Although little is known about his childhood, his mother Dorothy was said to be a warm person. She had an identical twin however, who did not like John. He was unable to tell the two apart, and often felt rebuffed by the aunt he would frequently mistake for his mother. Campbell's father was an electrical engineer, who is described as "cold, impersonal and unaffectionate."

Although he travelled around some, Campbell spent the majority of his life in New Jersey, first marrying Donna Stuart in 1931, then Margaret "Peg" Winter in 1950. He was father to three daughters: Mrs. James Hammond, Mrs. James Randazzo and Mrs. Ian Robertson, and had two grandchildren. He studied at MIT, but after failing German, dropped out and eventually finished his physics degree at Duke University in 1932. Upon his graduation he found that there was little call for physicists in the workforce, and instead turned his attentions toward becoming one of the first professional science fiction writers. Before Campbell, science fiction tended to be more of a hobby; John turned it into his life's work.

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