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The Seven Beauties of Science Fiction

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  51 ratings  ·  10 reviews
As the world undergoes daily transformations through the application of technoscience to every aspect of life, science fiction has become an essential mode of imagining the horizons of possibility. However much science fiction texts vary in artistic quality and intellectual sophistication, they share in a mass social energy and a desire to imagine a collective future for t ...more
Hardcover, 323 pages
Published November 28th 2008 by Wesleyan University Press (first published 2008)
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Archaeologies of the Future by Fredric JamesonThe Encyclopedia of Science Fiction by John CluteThe Seven Beauties of Science Fiction by Istvan Csicsery-Ronay Jr.Critical Theory and Science Fiction by Carl Howard FreedmanThe Dreams Our Stuff is Made Of by Thomas M. Disch
Science Fiction Criticism
3rd out of 36 books — 18 voters
Reading by Starlight by Damien BroderickMicroworlds by Stanisław LemDeconstructing the Starships by Gwyneth JonesTrillion Year Spree by Brian W. AldissCritical Theory and Science Fiction by Carl Howard Freedman
Science Fiction Studies
11th out of 110 books — 16 voters

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Alexander Páez
Lo he terminé ayer. Estoy muy orgulloso de haberlo terminado, la lectura en inglés más complicada a la que me he enfrentado antes.
Le pongo un 3,5/5 por lo críptico y complicado de algunas explicaciones, pero la buena nota es por lo interesante de la obra, que sin duda me ha abierto mucho los ojos, además de las gratas explicaciones en los blogs donde se ha hecho la lectura conjunta.
Silvio Curtis
This book identifies seven ways science fiction can be pleasant to read and gives a detailed, thoughtful analysis of each one. (They are fictive neology, novums, future history, imaginary science, the science-fictional sublime, the science-fictional grotesque, and the "Technologiade" or basic cast of narrative roles that science fiction takes off from.) The author keeps justification and explanation to a minimum in order to make room for a rich density of ideas. Almost everything was relevant in ...more
Aug 26, 2015 Abby added it
Science fiction is a great, big, gaping hole in my life, as I discovered when I realized I'd not read any of the books or seen any of the movies referenced in this critical work. So there were a whole bunch of spoilers, but also a bunch of titles I am now interested in reading. Many of them are on my reading list for this class (c'mon--I'm crazy but I don't read sci fi lit crit for giggles).

I'm far from up to snuff on literary criticism, but this strikes me as a really good roundup. It's dense,
Karl Bunker
In chapter 5 of this book, author Csicsery-Ronay draws parallels between the "sense of wonder" in science fiction and the notion of "the sublime" in the philosophical writings of Emmanuel Kant and Edmund Burke. That one point of discussion is typical of the book, and I think it stands as a good way to encapsulate what the book is like and where it's coming from.

"Seven Beauties" is a piece of scholarly academic writing, and therefor is dense in style, laced with jargon, sometimes convoluted in se
Dense and difficult, yet Csisery-Ronay's work goes a long way towards explaining the structures by which science fiction operates. I cannot now read a work of science fiction without noticing its novums, its wordplay, or its ludic quality, or other structures; and noticing these structures in a way that aids interpretation.

Yet Csisery-Ronay's work buys into critical theories (including psychoanalysis and queer theory) heavily, relying not only on the mental models supplied by a theoretical appro
Oct 06, 2014 R added it
I decided lit-crit of SF would be an enlightening experience for me. Like eating bran for your brain. Not necessarily because it's a (wait for it) good read.

Update: now done
Book takes 7 major themes in SF, such as imaginary science and representations of the sublime, and traces them through SF history.

Bottom line: glad I read it. Doesn't fit into my use of star-ratings, so I am leaving it unstarred.
Absolutely essential stuff. Love and passion. Deep understanding of the genre characteristics. Most of my misty insights are beautifully outwritten here. Maybe it's a Marxist approach to the genre, which usually attracts negative associations in Polish reception (no surprise), but so lovely energetic and powerful at the same time! Beauty. The 8th.
I didn't read enough of this to really rate it. What I did read was unintelligible. Oh, academic writing. I had such high hopes for this book, too.
First Second Books
The strangest part so far was the digression into the importance of science fiction music – not something I’d even heard of before!
It's a majestic explanation of the genre's pleasures - and so well writ that it can only be consumed with concentrated focus.
Maureen Cohn
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Professor of English, DePauw University .

Co-Editor, Science Fiction Studies & Humanimalia: A Journal of Human/Animal Interface Studies
More about Istvan Csicsery-Ronay Jr....

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