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The Seven Beauties of Science Fiction

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  87 ratings  ·  15 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 (first published 2008)
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4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  87 ratings  ·  15 reviews

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Silvio Curtis
Jan 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Alexander Páez
Jun 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Full review here:

“…science fiction is more than a literary genre or a social passion. It is a way of organizing the mind to include the contemporary world…SF is an art that delights in vision, intelligence, and the infinite possibilities of change.”

My overall impression of this book was that it was trying so hard to be exclusive and elite that it almost became nonsensical. Yes, I understand that it contributes to a larger conversation. However, if you lo
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. Instead of discussing the genre historically, it focuses on its characteristics and analyses it in a clear, concise way that at the same time demonstrates the author's vast knowledge of the topic.
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
Karl Bunker
Dec 22, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Aug 04, 2015 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,
Jul 19, 2009 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.
Feb 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Be sure that you have your phone fully charged when you start reading this. You are going to google more words than you ever have in your entire life, and likely kill your battery doing it. But despite its denseness in vocabulary it is a fully comprehensive guide to reading science fiction academically. I have met the author through my school and can also add that he is a very personable guy and can break down the density of these pages for. I don't know why academics are writing like this.
Apr 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Nov 30, 2016 rated it it was ok
While a very interesting subject, it was a very hard read. The introduction said that he was trying to write for a non-academic audience but then found that he couldn't, and it showed. A dictionary of a must for this book.
Maureen Cohn
Nov 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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!
Jun 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It's a majestic explanation of the genre's pleasures - and so well writ that it can only be consumed with concentrated focus.
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.
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Professor of English, DePauw University .

Co-Editor, Science Fiction Studies & Humanimalia: A Journal of Human/Animal Interface Studies