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Science Fiction

(New Critical Idiom)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  146 ratings  ·  20 reviews

Science Fiction is a fascinating and comprehensive introduction to one of the most popular areas of modern culture. This second edition reflects how the field is rapidly changing in both its practice and its critical reception. With an entirely new conclusion and all other chapters fully reworked and updated, this volume includes:

* a concise history of science fiction and

Paperback, 204 pages
Published August 8th 2000 by Routledge (first published January 1st 2000)
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3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  146 ratings  ·  20 reviews

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Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: educational
Helpful in my dissertation. The book defines sci fi, references an array of topics to give a sense of history of said genre, talks about gender and race as well as technology and its metaphor.

For a book that is easily pocketable (easy to carry around) it is dense with information. And it's easy to read, unlike some fancy schmancy books.

Essentially, 'science fiction is scientific fictionalising.' (p.8)
Peter Baran
Reading fifteen year old critical genre studies intros are interesting. The underpinnings are all here (what is SciFi, race, gender, history) but it feels like so much of this conversation has moved on whilst leaving one of the core questions which the book feels is settled by the wayside. That is literally that most science fiction is written badly. Now it is true that much of the better written science fiction has come out after this book was published, but to have it almost as a tenet of the ...more
David Wing
This book covers the main areas of science fiction discourse but fails to answer it's own questions. Admittedly, the question of when sci-fi began is hard to pin down, I felt the author circled the question and every question without really committing.
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A few interesting points now and then, mostly ruined by a mind numbing and hoity toity concluding chapter.
Jan 31, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was disappointing. I wasn’t expecting entertainment, I read it for class. The first two chapters thoroughly explored multiple perspectives but as soon as it came to discussing gender and race in the genre, it fell completely flat. Roberts was apparently entirely unwilling to actually admit and acknowledge the sexism and racism inherent in early SF and much of SF in general, especially the texts considered to be of the “Golden Age” and part of the “megatext”. His analysis on these point ...more
Gareth Beniston
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a clear, rather excellent introduction to SF theory with effective, intriguing case studies. The last chapter in particular, where Roberts draws on the work of Samuel Delaney and Paul Ricoeur to think about metaphor is something I will return to again and again, I suspect, as I try to figure out its implications. Highly recommended.
Tommye Turner
A useful introduction to the genre. I've been reading it for an essay on Science Fiction as a genre and discussing whether the books in this genre can be classified at literature. Like I said, good as an introduction to the genre but you'll need to read some more in depth books (looking at specific areas of the genre) for a deeper understanding.
Jan 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting overview of science fiction as a genre and insightful analyses of specific SF texts. I enjoyed the read and learned a lot. Science fiction is pretty damn cool, in my opinion.
Jan 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clear and concise introduction to the history and scope of science fiction as a genre. Includes case studies of Dune, Star Wars, The Left Hand of Darkness, Men in Black, and Neuromancer.

On origins:
"...two broad approaches to the question of origins, and the difference between these two approaches focuses different ways of understanding the nature of SF. Stress the relative youth of the mode, and you are arguing that SF is a specific artistic response to a very particular set of historical and c
Arthur Martin
This is a book that occasionally offers an interesting idea but more often than not stumbles around Science Fiction more than providing an introduction to the study. At times it seems like the author is more interested in name dropping books and authors than providing a coherent thought. Naturally, most of these authors and books appear with little explanation with why they should be mentioned. The author tends to have a single tracked mind even when he tries to provide multiple points of view o ...more
Robert Wood
Roberts provides a decent introduction to the genre, providing a thumbnail sketch of the history of the genre and its literary criticism. Beyond that, the text provides chapters on a number of themes, ranging from race to gender to technology. It also provides a glossary of terms. I had mixed results using it in my class, but I thought it was an interesting read, even if some of the reading of Suvin is problematic.
May 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Concise introduction to sf criticism touching upon all the relevant genre specifics.

Good illustration of sf being more than young adult masculine fixations and second-grade entertainment text. Especially enjoyed the genre and race chapters.

Curious how Roberts went from arguing about SF modernity to later research of antiquity that can be seen in later publications.
Laura Walin
These books written for academic courses are difficult to rate. Because you need to read they anyway, good or bad. This was a relatively straightforward presentation of SF, outlining the history and the major tropes handled Witheria the genre. The conclusions weren't convincegly based in the text though, and therefore remained a bit superfluous. Thoughtprovoking anyway, which is good.
Jeffy Joseph
Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this one. Its a well written introduction to the history of science fiction. The author introduces us to the different sub-genres and their literary significance in addressing social issues. He does it without being pedantic about it. The case studies helps to reiterate his views.
Sep 03, 2015 rated it liked it
A good starting guide, with basic notions and useful for quick reference. Pretty useful for me in the moment. :)
May 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What makes an SF story SF? Roberts takes all the jargon and explains it so comprehensively and so clearly that even I understood it.
Mar 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
NOthing startling here, critically, but did recommend Left Hand of Darkness, for which I am grateful.
Dec 20, 2014 marked it as read-enough-of  ·  review of another edition
Disappointingly mushy and insubstantial.
Jennifer Marie
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terrific book. Some of the most interesting literature I've ever had to read for class, and sort of a backgrounder I would recommend for any scifi fan.
Mar 31, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: f-sf, reading
easy to read summary of literary criticism about science fiction with plenty of the author's own opinions. much better than 'science fiction roots and branches' which i couldn't parse.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Adam Roberts (born 1965) is an academic, critic and novelist. He also writes parodies under the pseudonyms of A.R.R.R. Roberts, A3R Roberts and Don Brine. He also blogs at The Valve, a group blog devoted to literature and cultural studies.

He has a degree in English from the

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New Critical Idiom (1 - 10 of 18 books)
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