Saturday, August 13, 2011

My Critical Reading List

While I'm list-making, I thought that I might also make a post detailing the critical works related to genre that I've read and still need to read. Lists like these definitely seem to help me focus when I'm staring at my to-read piles and asking myself, "What should I read next?" I hope that other folks will find them useful too. (The dates on many of these may be inaccurate--in some cases I may have dates from a later edition instead of original publication.) In the comments, feel free to suggest works to add or works that can be skipped. I've marked the ones I think (or suspect) are especially useful/important with **.

To Read
  • Pilgrims Through Space and Time: Trends and Patterns in Scientific and Utopian Fiction, J. O. Bailey [1947]
  • Of Worlds Beyond: The Science of Science Fiction Writing, ed. Lloyd Arthur Eshbach [1947]
  • Modern Science Fiction: Its Meaning and its Future, ed. Reginald Bretnor [1953]
  • The Science Fiction Novel: Imagination and Social Criticism [1959]
  • **In Search of Wonder: Essays on Science Fiction, Damon Knight [1960]
  • Heinlein in Dimension: A Critical Analysis, Alexei Panshin [1968]
  • Science Fiction Today and Tomorrow, ed. Reginald Bretnor [1974]
  • The Craft of Science Fiction, ed. Reginald Bretnor [1976]
  • **The Jewel-Hinged Jaw, Samuel R. Delany [1977]
  • Robert A. Heinlein: America as Science Fiction, H. Bruce Franklin [1980]
  • Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction, Ursula K. LeGuin [1982]
  • David Lindsay, Gary K. Wolfe [1982]
  • **How to Suppress Women's Writing, Joanna Russ [1983]
  • The Rhetoric of Fiction, Wayne Booth [1983]
  • Benchmarks: Galaxy Bookshelf, Algis Budrys [1985]
  • **Trillion Year Spree, Brian Aldiss [1986]
  • The John W. Campbell Letters, John W. Campbell [1986]
  • The Tale that Wags the God, James Blish [1987]
  • The Motion of Light in Water, Samuel R. Delany [1988]
  • Grumbles from the Grave, Robert A. Heinlein [1989]
  • Strategies of Fantasy, Brian Attebery [1992]
  • Reading by Starlight, Damien Broderick [1995]
  • Outposts: Literatures of Milieux, Algis Budrys [1996]
  • The Dreams our Stuff is Made Of: How Science Fiction Conquered the World, Thomas Disch [1998]
  • Critical Theory and Science Fiction, Carl Freedman [2000]
  • Concordance to Cordwainer Smith, Anthony R. Lewis [2000]
  • The Science Fiction of Cordwainer Smith, Karen L. Hellekson [2001]
  • Decoding Gender in Science Fiction, Brian Attebery [2002]
  • Astrofuturism: Science, Race, and Visions of Utopia in Space, De Witt Douglas Kilgore [2003]
  • **x, y, z, t: Dimensions of Science Fiction, Damien Broderick [2004]
  • Finding Serenity: Anti-Heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's Firefly, ed. Jane Espenson [2004]
  • A Sense of Wonder: Samuel R. Delany, Race, Identity, and Difference, Jeffrey Allen Tucker [2004]
  • Bound to Please, Michael Dirda [2005]
  • Book by Book: Notes on Reading and Life, Michael Dirda [2005]
  • My Mother was a Computer, N. Katherine Hayles [2005]
  • Daughters of the Earth: Feminist Science Fiction in the Twentieth Century, Justine Larbalestier [2006]
  • Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction, John C. Rieder [2008]
  • The Art and Science of Stanislaw Lem, Peter Swirski [2008]
  • On Joanna Russ, ed. Farah Mendlesohn [2009]
  • A Short History of Fantasy, Farah Mendlesohn [2009]
  • The Secret Feminist Cabal, ed. Helen Merrick [2009]
  • Chicks Dig Timelords, ed. Lynne Thomas and Tara O'Shea [2010]
  • The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism [2010]
  • Twenty-First Century Gothic, ed. Daniel Olson [2010]
  • Pardon this Intrusion, John Clute [2011]
  • **The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature, ed. Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn [2011, pending]

Already Read
  • Immortal Storm: A History of Science Fiction Fandom, Sam Moskowitz [1954]
  • New Maps of Hell, Kingsley Amis [1960]
  • **The Issue at Hand: Studies in Contemporary Magazine Science Fiction, William Atheling, Jr. (James Blish) [1964]
  • More Issues at Hand: Critical Studies in Contemporary Science Fiction, William Atheling, Jr. (James Blish) [1970]
  • The Futurians, Damon Knight [1970]
  • **The Known and the Unknown: the Iconography of Science Fiction, Gary K. Wolfe [1979]
  • Metamorphoses of Science Fiction, Darko Suvin [1979]
  • Isaac Asimov: The Foundations of Science Fiction, James Gunn [1982]
  • **Starboard Wine, Samuel R. Delany [1984]
  • Critical Terms for Science Fiction and Fantasy, ed. Gary K. Wolfe [1986]
  • The World Beyond the Hill: Science Fiction and the Quest of Transcendence, Alexei Panshin [1989]
  • I. Asimov, Isaac Asimov [1995]
  • Age of Wonders: Exploring the Worlds of Science Fiction, David Hartwell [1996]
  • Literary Theory, Terry Eagleton [1997]
  • **How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics, N. Katherine Hayles [1999]
  • Edging into the Future, ed. Veronica Hollinger [2002]
  • **The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction, Justine Larbalestier [2002]
  • **Queer Theory, Gender Theory: An Instant Primer, Riki Wilchins [2004]
  • Soundings: Reviews 1992 - 1996, Gary K. Wolfe [2005]
  • The SEX Column and Other Misprints, David Langford [2005]
  • Polder: A Festschrift for John Clute and Judith Clute, ed. Farah Mendlesohn [2006]
  • **About Writing: Seven Essays, Four Letters and Five Interviews, Samuel R. Delany [2006]
  • **James Tiptree Jr: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon, Julie Philips [2006]
  • **The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction, ed. Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn [2006]
  • **The Country You Have Never Seen, Joanna Russ [2007]
  • Writing the Other, Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward [2008]
  • The Seven Beauties of Science Fiction, Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, Jr. [2008]
  • What it is We Do When We Read Science Fiction, Paul Kincaid [2008]
  • **Rhetorics of Fantasy, Farah Mendlesohn [2008]
  • A Companion to Science Fiction, ed. David Seed [2008]
  • How Fiction Works, James Wood [2009]
  • Hope-in-the-Mist, Michael Swanwick [2009]
  • The Inter-Galactic Playground: A Critical Study of Children's and Teens' Science Fiction, Farah Mendlesohn [2009]
  • Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands, Michael Chabon [2009]
  • Canary Fever: Reviews, John Clute [2009]
  • Bearings: Reviews 1997 - 2001, Gary K. Wolfe [2010]
  • **Evaporating Genres, Gary K. Wolfe [2011]


The Erudite Ogre said...

I see a number of works that I have read, and many others to put on my own list! Did you find POLDER useful? It seems hard to get ahold of. I also really want to read Clute's little book on horror (the name of which eludes me right now). JEWEL-HINGED JAW has been very useful to me of late.

Karen Burnham said...

Polder isn't really a terribly useful book for critics, it's more an honoring of the Clutes by their friends. Actually, I tried to read it but couldn't make much sense of it until I'd actually been to their flat in Camden.

Clute's book on horror is The Darkening Garden, and is very highly praised. Also a bit difficult to get a hold of, though.

Farah Mendlesohn said...

You could also add The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy :-)

Due out at the end of this year.

Karen Burnham said...


Looking forward to it!

chris said...

Oh i see. I should read more than one book a year.
There are a lot of interesting books in your list. :-)