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New Maps Of Hell: A Survey Of Science Fiction

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  76 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Kingsley Amis. New Maps of Hell. New York: Harcourt, Brace, [1960]. First edition, first printing. Octavo. 161 pages.
Hardcover, 161 pages
Published by Arno Press (first published January 1st 1960)
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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
10th out of 111 books — 16 voters
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2nd out of 18 books — 3 voters

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Jun 28, 2007 Joseph added it
anybody that likes Lit Crit (and that's everybody, right?) hs got to read this. Then read the books he touches on, then read his own novels....
Printable Tire
The first truly critical analysis of science fiction by an author better known for his work outside the science fiction field. Amis begins with a brief history of science fiction and its origins in the pulp magazines and brings the reader up to date (for the time). Along the way he gives synopsis of science fiction stories he approves of, and more often than not ones he does not approve of. He then differentiates the types of science fiction stories, one of which is the "universal" (my term) sci ...more
Karl Bunker
This 1960 book is an interesting and engaging work in the history of science fiction studies. Kingsley Amis (1922 - 1995) was a noted English novelist, poet, critic, and teacher; he was the author of Lucky Jim , The Green Man, and much more. A life-long science fiction fan, he decided with this book to act as something of an emissary, attempting to bring a better understanding and appreciation of science fiction to mainstream readers. "Science fiction is not tomfool sensationalism," he says earl ...more
Nov 03, 2010 Cindy marked it as to-read
Shelves: sci-fi, british
From Brilliant SF books that got away:

"Robert May, former UK chief scientific adviser: “This is the book that made science fiction grow up. It’s a scholarly review that takes science fiction seriously – which is how I think it should be.”

Though best-known for his mainstream novels, Kingsley Amis was an avid science fiction reader, and his literary criticism on the genre, New Maps of Hell, was published in 1960. Spanning the works of masters like Jules Verne and H. G. Wells, as well as topics suc
Sample quote (on how the magazines in which SF stories were typically published might be off-putting to many potential readers): "Those awful covers and crackpot advertisements give an uneasy sense of the gum-chewing adolescents and lower-class laboratory-floor-sweepers who must like the stuff, and I myself fully appreciate the destructive force of an unflattering notion of one's fellow readers whenever I pick up Jane Austen or DH Lawrence."

Amis was being consciously a bit unconventional in choo
Bill FromPA
Kingsley Amis is a man looking for sex in all the wrong places, that is to say in the SF of the 1950s. He first introduces the subject in chapter 3, only to quickly conclude that, “No wife who finds her husband addicting himself to science fiction need fear that he is in search of an erotic outlet, anyway not an overt one.” In spite of the chapter’s title, “New Light on the Unconscious” Amis does not attempt any explication of the non-overt sexuality in SF. Instead he launches, for some reason, ...more
An entertainingly written early (1960) survey of science fiction by an author not normally associated with the genre. While I can't say that his critical insights were all that profound (or frequent), this does have some historical importance as one of the first attempts (at least that I am aware of) to take the genre seriously. And Amis' style is certainly witty and quintessentially British in its remarkable use of understatement.
This book about science fiction is probably aimed more at people who are interested in SF but have never really read any of it, rather than at true SF aficionados. But I think the author has interesting things to say on the subject for all audiences. I was particularly intrigued by the way Amis compares SF to jazz, as a medium or genre with an underground appeal that the mainstream and establishment were a bit sniffy about.

The book is very early so it is somewhat limited in what it looks at, bu
In some ways, this is very dated because Sci-Fi has moved on so much, and yet it still reads true because the spirit and attitude of the genre remains what it always was, and a lot of what I read seemed to describe exactly how the subculture has developed into the 21st century.
A really interesting study of science fiction before genre fiction was widely accepted into the literary canon. Amis' style is engaging and his enthusiasm is very evident throughout.
Frederick Gault
Interesting but dated.
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Sir Kingsley William Amis, CBE was an English novelist, poet, critic, and teacher. He wrote more than twenty novels, three collections of poetry, short stories, radio and television scripts, and books of social and literary criticism. He fathered the English novelist Martin Amis.

Kingsley Amis was born in Clapham, Wandsworth, Couty of London (now South London), England, the son of William Robert Am
More about Kingsley Amis...
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