The Big Book of Science Fiction (ed Vandermeerov)

The Big Book of Science Fiction (ed Vandermeerov)

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zakk

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The Big Book of Science Fiction (ed Vandermeerov)
« on: July 14, 2016, 07:28:26 PM »
BUILDING A BETTER DEFINITION OF
SCIENCE FICTION
ANN AND JEFF VANDERMEER ON THE HISTORY AND FUTURE OF THE GENRE

July 14, 2016

The following appears as part of the introduction to The Big Book of Science Fiction.

Mary Shelley, Jules Verne, and H. G. Wells. All three are useful entry points or origin points for science fiction because they do not exist so far back in time as to make direct influence seem ethereal or attenuated, they are still known in the modern era, and because the issues they dealt with permeate what we call the “genre” of science fiction even today.

We hesitate to invoke the slippery and preternatural word influence, because influence appears and disappears and reappears, sidles in and has many mysterious ways. It can be as simple yet profound as reading a text as a child and forgetting it, only to have it well up from the subconscious years later, or it can be a clear and all-consuming passion. At best we can say only that someone cannot be influenced by something not yet written or, in some cases, not yet translated. Or that influence may occur not when a work is published but when the writer enters the popular imagination—for example, as Wells did through Orson Welles’s infamous radio broadcast of War of the Worlds (1938) or, to be silly for a second, Mary Shelley through the movie Young Frankenstein (1974).

For this reason even wider claims of influence on science fiction, like writer and editor Lester del Rey’s assertion that the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh is the earliest written science fiction story, seem appropriative, beside the point, and an overreach for legitimacy more useful as a “tell” about the position of science fiction in the 1940s and 1950s in North America.

But we brought up our triumvirate because they represent different strands of science fiction. The earliest of these authors, Mary Shelley, and her Frankenstein (1818), ushered in a modern sensibility of ambivalence about the uses of technology and science while wedding the speculative to the horrific in a way reflected very early on in science fiction. The “mad scientist” trope runs rife through the pages of the science fiction pulps and even today in their modern equivalents. She also is an important figure for feminist SF.

Jules Verne, meanwhile, opened up lines of inquiry along more optimistic and hopeful lines. For all that Verne liked to create schematics and specific detail about his inventions— like the submarine in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870)—he was a very happy puppy who used his talents in the service of scientific romanticism, not “hard science fiction.”

H. G. Wells’s fiction was also dubbed “scientific romanticism” during his lifetime, but his work existed somewhere between these two foci. His most useful trait as the godfather of modern science fiction is the granularity of his writing. Because his view of the world existed at an intersection of sociology, politics, and technology, Wells was able to create complex geopolitical and social contexts for his fiction— indeed, after he abandoned science fiction, Wells’s later novels were those of a social realist, dealing with societal injustice, among other topics. He was able to quantify and fully realize extrapolations about the future and explore the iniquities of modern industrialization in his fiction.

The impulse to directly react to how industrialization has affected our lives occurs very early on in science fiction—for example, in Karl Hans Strobl’s cautionary factory tale “The Triumph of Mechanics” (1907) and even in the playful utopian visions of Paul Scheerbart, which often pushed back against bad elements of “modernization.” (For his optimism, Scheerbart perished in World War I, while Strobl’s “reward” was to fall for fascism and join the Nazi Party—in part, a kind of repudiation of the views expressed in “The Triumph . . .”)

Social and political issues also peer out from science fiction from the start, and not just in Wells’s work. Rokheya Shekhawat Hossain’s “Sultana’s Dream” (1905) is a potent feminist utopian vision. W. E. B. Du Bois’s “The Comet” (1920) isn’t just a story about an impending science-fictional catastrophe but also the start of a conversation about race relations and a proto-Afrofuturist tale. The previously untranslated Yem Zozulya’s “The Doom of Principal City” (1918) presages the atrocities perpetrated by the communism of the Soviet Union and highlights the underlying absurdities of certain ideological positions. (It’s perhaps telling that these early examples do not come from the American pulp SF tradition.)

This kind of eclectic stance also suggests a simple yet effective definition for science fiction: it depicts the future, whether in a stylized or realistic manner. There is no other definitional barrier to identifying science fiction unless you are intent on defending some particular territory. Science fiction lives in the future, whether that future exists ten seconds from the Now or whether in a story someone builds a time machine a century hence in order to travel back into the past. It is science fiction whether the future is phantasmagorical and surreal or nailed down using the rivets and technical jargon of “hard science fiction.” A story is also science fiction whether the story in question is, in fact, extrapolation about the future or using the future to comment on the past or present.

Thinking about science fiction in this way delinks the actual content or “experience” delivered by science fiction from the commodification of that genre by the marketplace. It does not privilege the dominant mode that originated with the pulps over other forms. But neither does it privilege those other manifestations over the dominant mode. Further, this definition eliminates or bypasses the idea of a “turf war” between genre and the mainstream, between commercial and literary, and invalidates the (weird, ignorant snobbery of) tribalism that occurs on one side of the divide and the faux snobbery (ironically based on ignorance) that sometimes manifests on the other.

Wrote the brilliant editor Judith Merril in the seventh annual edition of The Year’s Best S-F (1963), out of frustration:

“But that’s not science fiction . . . !” Even my best friends (to invert a paraphrase) keep telling me: That’s not science fiction! Sometimes they mean it couldn’t be s-f, because it’s good. Sometimes it couldn’t be because it’s not about spaceships or time machines. (Religion or politics or psychology isn’t science fiction—is it?) Sometimes (because some of my best friends are s-f fans) they mean it’s not really science fiction—just fantasy or satire or something like that. On the whole, I think I am very patient. I generally manage to explain again, just a little wearily, what the “S-F” in the title of this book means, and what science fiction is, and why the one contains the other, without being constrained by it. But it does strain my patience when the exclamation is compounded to mean, “Surely you don’t mean to use that? That’s not science fiction!”—about a first-rate piece of the honest thing.

Standing on either side of this debate is corrosive—detrimental to the study and celebration of science fiction; all it does is sidetrack discussion or analysis, which devolves into SF/ not SF or intrinsically valuable/not valuable. And, for the general reader weary of anthologies prefaced by a series of “inside baseball” remarks, our definition hopefully lessens your future burden of reading these words.
 

From The Big Book of Science Fiction by Jeff and Ann VanderMeer. Used with permission from Vintage Books. Copyright © Jeff and Ann VanderMeer, 2016.

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Miodrag Milovanovic

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Re: The Big Book of Science Fiction (ed Vandermeerov)
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2016, 07:40:49 PM »
Više šala-komika nego ozbiljan tekst...

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Lidija

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Re: The Big Book of Science Fiction (ed Vandermeerov)
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2016, 07:47:18 PM »
VanderMeer tandem su najveći političari u žanru... Ona i nije toliko loš urednik ali on je nesumnjivo mediocre pisac. 

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zakk

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Re: The Big Book of Science Fiction (ed Vandermeerov)
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2016, 11:06:33 PM »
Više šala-komika nego ozbiljan tekst...
Mislim da im je to i namera, da ponude lagan uvod i malo pojasne neinformisanom ljubitelju da ima tu nečega što se iza brda valja...

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Lidija

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Re: The Big Book of Science Fiction (ed Vandermeerov)
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2016, 07:23:53 AM »


Quite possibly the GREATEST science-fiction collection of ALL TIME—past, present, and FUTURE!
 
What if life was never-ending? What if you could change your body to adapt to an alien ecology? What if the Pope was a robot? Spanning galaxies and millennia, this must-have anthology showcases classic contributions from H.G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke, Octavia Butler, and Kurt Vonnegut alongside a century of the eccentrics, rebels, and visionaries who have inspired generations of readers. Within its pages, find beloved worlds of space opera, hard SF, cyberpunk, the new wave, and more. Learn the secret history of science fiction, from literary icons who wrote SF to authors from over 25 countries, some never before translated into English. In THE BIG BOOK OF SCIENCE FICTION, literary power couple Ann and Jeff VanderMeer transport readers from Mars to Mechanopolis, planet Earth to parts unknown. Read the genre that predicted electric cars, travel to the moon, and the modern smart phone. We’ve got the worlds if you’ve got the time.
 
Including:
· Legendary tales from Isaac Asimov and Ursula LeGuin!
· An unearthed sci-fi story from W.E.B. DuBois!
· The first publication of the work of cybernetic visionary David R. Bunch in 20 years!
· A rare and brilliant novella by Chinese international sensation Liu Cixin!

Plus:
· Aliens!
· Space battles!
· Robots!
· Technology gone wrong!
· Technology gone right!

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Miodrag Milovanovic

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Re: The Big Book of Science Fiction (ed Vandermeerov)
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2016, 11:20:31 AM »
Here’s the entire list of the stories that will be included.
Note: this isn’t the finalized table of contents, but a listing in alphabetical order.
[first translation = never in English before; new translation = a new translation of a previously translated story; translation = acquisition of an existing translation]

Yoshio Aramaki, “Soft Clocks” 1968 (Japan) – translated by Kazuko Behrens and stylized by Lewis Shiner
Juan José Arreola, “Baby H.P.” 1952 (Mexico) – new translation by Larry Nolen
Isaac Asimov, “The Last Question” 1956
J.G. Ballard, “The Voices of Time” 1960
Iain M. Banks, “A Gift from the Culture” 1987
Jacques Barbéri, “Mondo Cane” 1983 (France) – first translation by Brian Evenson
John Baxter, “The Hands” 1965
Barrington J. Bayley, “Sporting with the Chid” 1979
Greg Bear, “Blood Music” 1983
Dmitri Bilenkin, “Crossing of the Paths” 1984 – new translation by James Womack
Jon Bing, “The Owl of Bear Island” 1986 (Norway) - translation
Adolfo Bioy Casares, “The Squid Chooses Its Own Ink” 1962 (Argentina) - new translation by Marian Womack
Michael Bishop, “The House of Compassionate Sharers” 1977
James Blish, “Surface Tension” 1952
Michael Blumlein, “The Brains of Rats” 1990
Jorge Luis Borges, “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius” 1940 (Argentina) – translation by Andrew Hurley
Ray Bradbury, “September 2005: The Martian” 1949
David R. Bunch, “Three From Moderan” 1959, 1970
Octavia Butler, “Bloodchild” 1984
Pat Cadigan, “Variations on a Man” 1984
André Carneiro, “Darkness” 1965 (Brazil) – translation by Leo L. Barrow
Stepan Chapman, “How Alex Became a Machine” 1996
C.J. Cherryh, “Pots” 1985
Ted Chiang, “The Story of Your Life” 1998
Arthur C. Clarke, “The Star” 1955
John Crowley, “Snow” 1985
Samuel R. Delany, “Aye, and Gomorrah” 1967
Philip K. Dick, “Beyond Lies the Wub” 1952
Cory Doctorow, “Craphound” 1998
W.E.B. Du Bois, “The Comet” 1920
Jean-Claude Dunyach, “Paranamanco” 1987 (France) – translation by Sheryl Curtis
S. N. Dyer, “Passing as a Flower in the City of the Dead” 1984
Harlan Ellison, “‘Repent Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktock Man” 1965
Carol Emshwiller, “Pelt” 1958
Paul Ernst, “The Microscopic Giants” 1936
Karen Joy Fowler, “The Lake Was Full of Artificial Things” 1985
Sever Gansovsky, “Day of Wrath” 1964 (Ukraine) – new translation by James Womack
William Gibson, “New Rose Hotel” 1984
Angélica Gorodischer, “The Unmistakable Smell of Wood Violets” 1973 (Argentina) – first translation by Marian Womack
Edmond Hamilton, “The Star Stealers” 1929
Han Song, “Two Small Birds” 1988 (China) – first translation by John Chu
Alfred Jarry, “The Elements of Pataphysics” 1911 (re-translation by Gio Clairval; France)
Gwyneth Jones, “The Universe of Things” 1993
Langdon Jones, “The Hall of Machines” 1968
Kaijo Shinji, “Reiko’s Universe Box” 1981 (Japan) – translation by Toyoda
Takashi and Gene van Troyer
Gérard Klein, “The Monster” 1958 (France) – translation by Damon Knight
Damon Knight, “Stranger Station” 1956
Leena Krohn, “The Gorgonoids” 1992 (Finland) – translation by Hildi Hawkins
R.A. Lafferty, “Nine Hundred Grandmothers” 1966
Kojo Laing, “Vacancy for the Post of Jesus Christ” 1992 (Ghana)
Geoffrey A. Landis, “Vacuum States” 1988
Tanith Lee, “Crying in the Rain” 1987
Ursula K. Le Guin, “Vaster Than Empires and More Slow” 1971
Stanisław Lem, “Let Us Save the Universe” 1981 (Poland) – translation by Joel Stern and Maria Swiecicka-Ziemianek
Cixin Liu, “The Poetry Cloud” 1997 (China) – translation by Chi-yin Ip and Cheuk Wong
Katherine MacLean, “The Snowball Effect” 1952
Geoffrey Maloney, “Remnants of the Virago Crypto-System” 1995
George R.R. Martin, “Sandkings” 1979
Michael Moorcock, “The Frozen Cardinal” 1987
Pat Murphy, “Rachel in Love” 1987
Misha Nogha, “Death is Static Death is Movement” 1990
Silvina Ocampo, “The Waves” 1959 (Argentina) – first translation by Marian Womack
Chad Oliver, “Let Me Live in a House” 1954
Manjula Padmanabhan, “Sharing Air” 1984 (India)
Frederick Pohl, “Day Million” 1966
Rachel Pollack, “Burning Sky” 1989
Robert Reed, “The Remoras” 1994
Kim Stanley Robinson, “Before I Wake”1989
Joanna Russ, “When It Changed” 1972
Josephine Saxton, “The Snake Who Had Read Chomsky” 1981
Paul Scheerbart, “The New Abyss” 1911 (Germany) – first translation by Daniel Ableev and Sarah Kaseem
James H. Schmitz, “Grandpa” 1955
Vadim Shefner, “A Modest Genius” 1965 (Russia) –translation by Matthew J. O’Connell
Robert Silverberg, “Good News from the Vatican” 1971
Clifford D. Simak, “Desertion” 1944
Johanna Sinisalo, “Baby Doll” 2002 (Finland) – translation by David Hackston
Cordwainer Smith, “The Game of Rat and Dragon” 1955
Margaret St. Clair, “Prott” 1985
Bruce Sterling, “Swarm” 1982
Karl Hans Strobl, “The Triumph of Mechanics” 1907 (Germany) – first translation by Gio Clairval
Arkady & Boris Strugatsky, “The Visitors” 1958 (Russia) – new translation by James Womack
Theodore Sturgeon, “The Man Who Lost the Sea” 1959
William Tenn, “The Liberation of Earth” 1953
William Tenn, “Ghost Standard” 1994
James Tiptree, Jr., “And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill’s Side” 1972
Tatyana Tolstoya, “The Slynx” 2000 (Russia) – translation byJamey Gambrell
Yasutaka Tsutsui, “Standing Woman” 1974 (Japan) – translation by Dana Lewis
Lisa Tuttle, “Wives” 1979
Miguel de Unamuno, “Mechanopolis” 1913 (Spain) – new translation by Marian Womack
Élisabeth Vonarburg, “Readers of Lost Art” 1987 (Canada/Quebec) – translation by Howard Scott
Kurt Vonnegut, “2BRO2B” 1962
H.G. Wells, “The Star,” 1897
James White, “Sector General” 1957
Connie Willis, “Schwarzschild Radius” 1987
Gene Wolfe, “All the Hues of Hell” 1987
Alicia Yánez Cossío, “The IWM 1000” 1975 (Chile) – translation by Susana Castillo and Elsie Adams
Valentina Zhuravlyova, “The Astronaut” 1960 (Russia) – new translation by James Womack
Yefim Zozulya, “The Doom of Principal City” 1918 (Russian) – first translation by Vlad Zhenevsky

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Lidija

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Re: The Big Book of Science Fiction (ed Vandermeerov)
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2016, 11:32:45 AM »
Ovako: sve da i krenemo od pretpostavke da sa ovakvim “izborima” čovek skoro pa i ne može da omane, jer sve je to u najmanju ruku dobra proza, ali brate, ja ni uz najbolju volju u ovom izboru ne mogu da prepoznam nikakav očigledan kriterijum. Ali nikakav. Eto.  :o

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Miodrag Milovanovic

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Re: The Big Book of Science Fiction (ed Vandermeerov)
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2016, 12:39:29 PM »
Pa opravdanje bi se moglo naći u sveobuhvatnom prikazu SF-a dvadesegog veka. Mada, generalno bih se mogao složiti sa tobom...
Za mnoge priče pojedinih pisaca opravdanje se može naći u dužini...
Da meni neko kaže napavi sličan izbor, ne verujem da bih bio mnogo pametniji.
Ovo je stvar tipa "tamnog vilajeta"

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Lidija

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Re: The Big Book of Science Fiction (ed Vandermeerov)
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2016, 12:48:11 PM »
Mnjah… valjda. Ali obično u sličnim izborima mogu bar da naslutim nekakav obrazac, bilo da se išlo na generalno najuticajnije, ili na najreprezentatvnije po dobima ili strujama, ili slično tome… ali ovde ne vidim ama baš ništa, mene se ovo doima kao izvlačeno iz šešira…
« Last Edit: July 18, 2016, 12:49:57 PM by Lidija »

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zakk

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Re: The Big Book of Science Fiction (ed Vandermeerov)
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2016, 03:24:23 PM »
Malo sam izdvojio postove vezano ovu knjigu

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Lidija

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Re: The Big Book of Science Fiction (ed Vandermeerov)
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2016, 03:28:13 PM »
ima je na mobilizm...  ;)

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zakk

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Re: The Big Book of Science Fiction (ed Vandermeerov)
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2016, 03:36:37 PM »

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Ghoul

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Re: The Big Book of Science Fiction (ed Vandermeerov)
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2016, 10:57:22 PM »
ima je na mobilizm...  ;)

da, baš malopre sam je skinuo.

pošto me napadno nervira vandrmrova 'politika' i političarenje (malo je falilo pre 10ak dana da ga anfrendujem na FB, toliko mi ide na živce), rešio sam iz principa da za nj ne dajem pare; skinuo sam uredno i onu njegovu trilogiju, da bacim oko kad stignem.
jel to čito neko? annihilation itd?

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zakk

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Re: The Big Book of Science Fiction (ed Vandermeerov)
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2016, 04:55:11 PM »
Anfrenduj ga odma, nemoj to da trpiš.

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Lidija

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Re: The Big Book of Science Fiction (ed Vandermeerov)
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2016, 06:27:05 PM »
dobro zakoslave, daj nam više priznaj šta si to sve njegovog čitao... :)