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There used to be a truism -- I heard it first from my then agent Terry Carr in 1964 -- that the golden age of science fiction is twelve, the age we begin to read SF and are wonderstruck. That truism is no longer true, for science fiction has come to permeate our culture to such a degree that its basic repertory of images -- rocket ships and robots, aliens and dinosaurs -- are standard items in the fantasy life of any preschooler. As for the twelve-year-olds of our own era, nothing science-fictional is alien to them.
Admittedly, theirs is not the science fiction of the printed page, for today's twelve-year-olds have been warped away from the Guttenberg galaxy. Instead of graduating from comic books to pulp magazines, as Terry and I did, the brighter children of the 1990s transfer their attention from the TV screen to the computer monitor as they mature. In both media, it is increasingly difficult to distinguish between science fiction and assorted neighboring realities. The dinosaurs in the movies look as real as elephants or camels; toddlers' toys morph into weapons; grown-ups on talk shows discuss their UFO abductions, while on the next channel a dull documentary recounts the history of space exploration. One has to be sent to school to begin to sort out what's real and what's Hollywood.
Science fiction is one of the few American industries that has never been transplanted abroad with any success. Japan may have zapped Detroit, but most sci fi still bears the label "Made in America," and the future represented by SF writers continues to be an American future. It isn't only Oz that is Kansas in disguise; the whole Galactic Imperium is simply the American Dream (or Nightmare) writ large. British SF writers decorated their stories with American slang just as their rock stars imitated American accents. When French film directors like Truffaut and Besson make SF movies, they set them in American cities.
The American SF dream first began to coalesce, as an institution and an industry, some seventy years ago, with the appearance ofAmazing Stories,the first pulp magazine specializing in "scientifiction," as Hugo Gernsback christened the then nameless genre. From its inception, American SF has been a naive, ungainly hybrid, full of inconsistencies and obvious absurdities, written to appeal to an audience of adolescent boys by writers only slightly older. Although its manufacture would eventually command the most sophisticated resources of the entertainment industry, SF's essential appeal and target audience have not changed. The SF movies that have been most successful -- such Top Ten moneymakers asE.T.,theStar Warstrilogy,Terminator 2,andIndependence Day-- have been those that have most scrupulously honored the Boys' Own Adventure formulas of the genre's humble beginnings.
This fact alone does not account for science fiction's position for so long as the leper of literary genres. That can be explained in part by a quick survey of typical SF movie posters of the '50s and '60s, when SF meant low-budget drive-in movies designed to attract male adolescents conflicted about their sexual appetites who thrilled to imagine themselves metamorphosed into teenage werewolves, lustful robots, and other beings with strange kinds of skin, the very sight of whom would cause young starlets to scream and run. For many years, such monster movies were what people had in mind when they dimissed science fiction, with a knowing smile, as the intellectual equivalent of acne -- a disfiguring but temporary affliction.
Even today, the schoolmarms among us tend to look down their noses at anything bearing the stigmata of sci fi, though now it would beStar Trekthey would condescend to. Even then, their contempt would be hedged by a sense that SF is sometimes respectable, for its basic modus operandi has spread through the intellectual environment like a computer virus. Among mainstream writers of both middle- and highbrow who have recently published science-fiction novels, one may cite Doris Lessing, Gore Vidal, Margaret Atwood, Peter Ackroyd, Ira Levin, P. D. James, Paul Theroux, and, preeminently, Michael Crichton.
Since the publication ofThe Andromeda Strainin 1969 until today, asThe Lost Worldsets new box office records, Crichton has been, in a commercial sense, the most consistently successful SF writer of the late twentieth century. In large part this is because he has not been labeled as an SF writer, and thus unworthy of adult attention. The plots of his best-sellers have featured viral plagues from outer space, lost tribes in darkest Africa, electronic behavioral control, berserk robots, UFOs crashed in the ocean, and dinosaurs terrorizing modern cities -- all venerable SF tropes, but somehow not SF when Crichton handles them. Why is this? Because they aren't set on spaceships or other planets but in a plausible present, modified in only the one particular the book focuses on. Even then the novelty he offers is something his audience already half-believes in. When the film ofJurassic Parkfirst appeared, all the media hype was designed to make it seem that science was on the brink of resurrecting dinosaurs, for Crichton, and the marketing machinery behind him, realizes that telling a whopper is not enough. People want tobelievesuch fictions. Hence, the authenticating "science" in the compound "science fiction," with its implicit guarantee that this dream might come true, as against the surreal or supernatural events of fantasy and fable.
Rocket ships are SF and magic carpets are fantasy, even though those who ride them might be similarly costumed and having almost the same adventures. Stories of time travel are accounted SF, as are tales of telepathy and other psychic powers -- this despite the fact that time travel is almost surely an impossibility, and psychic powers belong to the realm of imposture and not science. A few SF writers of a rationalistic bent -- so-called hard-core SF writers -- have tried to define the genre in such a way as to exclude stories that traffic in scientific impossibilities, but even these writers finally give in to fiction's need for flying carpets in the form of faster-than-light rocket ships, without which SF could not freely venture beyond our own solar system.
Is it then the case that SF is entirely a matter of labeling rather than content? It often would seem so. Some years ago at a PEN Conference in New York City, I was approached by the writer and academic Morris Dickstein, who asked me, in a puzzled way, whether I considered George Orwell's1984a work of science fiction -- a heresy he'd just encountered. When I assured him that I did, he wrinkled his nose, as though taking a pinch of invisible snuff, and said, "Really!" To Dickstein, an accredited intellectual of Orwell's magnitude could not, by definition, have written science fiction. Never mind that Orwell was writing about a future England, drastically transformed from the England of 1948 but logically extrapolated from existing historical trends, with an appropriate new technology (interactive television). If Orwell wrote it, it was literature, and could not therefore be called science fiction.
It can be galling, for those who have dwelled within the ghetto walls, to be reminded, as Dickstein that day reminded me, that they are not first-class citizens, but there are associated benefits. Just as laboratory rats who are never fed to satiety tend to live longer (albeit hungrier) lives, so science fiction writers, unheeded beyond the ghetto walls, are often uncommonly productive. Survival, for genre writers, depends on productivity -- at least a book a year. Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein continued at that pace, or better, to the brinks of their graves, and Frederik Pohl and Arthur Clarke, both in their late seventies, are still certifiable workaholics. Those who can't hold to that pace lose their place on the assembly line and are forgotten.
Often, as I came up through the ranks of SF professionals, I had the instructive experience of meeting the SF equivalent of Norma Desmond -- once-idolized writers no longer productive but still haunting SF conventions for the sake of the recognition to be wrung from those who could remember reading their books. The late Alfred Bester was the most minatory example. In the '50s he'd written two books,The Demolished ManandThe Stars My Destination,that had secured for him a reputation as the most literary SF writer of his time. Then Bester graduated to a mainstream job as an editor forHolidaymagazine. His fiction dwindled and lost its edge; at last, after an attempted comeback had come to nothing, he retreated from Manhattan to the boonies. When he died in 1987, he named his bartender the heir to his home and his literary estate.
Bester's mistake was growing up. If the golden age of science fiction is twelve, it follows that SF writers will be successful in proportion as they can maintain the clarity and innocence of wise children. Writers as diverse as Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Anne McCaffrey, Piers Anthony, and Orson Scott Card all owe a good part of their popularity to their Peter Pannishness. Characteristically, their stories do not pay much heed to those matters of family and career that are the usual concern of mature, responsible adults and the mature, responsible novelists who write for them, like John Updike and Anne Tyler. Many classic novels and stories of the genre are about children of exceptional wisdom and power: A. E. Van Vogt'sSlan,Theodore Sturgeon'sMore Than Human,Orson Card'sEnder's Game.In my own golden age, such tales did wonders for my self-esteem, and when I became an SF writer myself, I passed along the torch in more than one book that featured children or youths of preternatural ability.
"Neoteny" is what biologists call it: the retention of larval or immature characteristics in adulthood. It is an essential element of the creative process across the board. Think of the abstract expressionists smearing their giant canvases with oozy oil paints, like divinely inspired kindergartners. Rock stars turning temper tantrums into song. Dancers cavorting in tights and tutus. Art is a kind of play, and those who forget how to be playful are likely to produce art that is ever more mature and responsible and ponderous. Science fiction did not invent the wise-child protagonist. Dickens, Twain, Cather, and Salinger have all produced classics in the same vein. The difference is that for SF that vein has become a main artery. Even when a tale's protagonist is not a legal minor, his or her attitudes, actions, and audience appeal are more likely to be in the spirit of Captain Marvel than of Andrew Marvell.
Science fiction can be neoteric in many ways, from the immortal dopiness of a Flash Gordon movie serial or Ed Wood'sPlan Nine from Outer Spaceto the superb dioramas of Arthur Clarke's sagas of the exploration of the solar system, with their detailed depictions of technologies not yet invented and landscapes no man has ever seen. Reading Clarke's SF of the '50s and '60s was like going to a natural history museum that featured spaceships instead of dinosaurs, the future instead of the past. Children and adolescents also have their own distinctive ideas concerning humor, sex, politics, and prose, and their tastes in these matters may strike older readers as sophomoric, gauche, ill informed, or just dead wrong. Conversely, the young have a way of noticing that good manners can be oppressive, that the past is often irrelevant, and that emperors are sometimes naked. In short, the young are not lesser beings; they're just different.
One of the most salient differences is their relationship to the past and the future. Grown-ups have experienced at least a bit of the past; children must imagine it just as they (and grown-ups, too) must imagine the future. A few years can make a profound difference in one's zeitgeist, our sense of how the present meshes with history. I was born in 1940 and remained unconscious of the greatest event of the century as it was happening. Anyone only a few years older would have incorporated the terrors and triumphs of World War II into their soul's fiber. By the same token, for those born after 1970, Hiroshima and theApollomoon landing are not epochal events but ancient history.
For the young, all history is ancient, something that must be learned in school, like the multiplication tables. It is the warehouse in which the culture stores its myths, and while some of the figures in these myths -- cowboys, knights in armor, pirates, and other violent offenders with distinctive wardrobes -- are exciting enough not to require enforced attendance, as at Sunday school, most historical personages have been so thoroughly denatured and sanitized that the past presented to us in the classroom is justly regarded with indifference or suspicion. The story about George Washington and the cherry tree was not only an invention, it was a plagiarism, borrowed by Washington's biographer, Parson Weems, from an earlier work of cheap fiction. History, as Henry Ford observed, is bunk.
The future is another matter entirely. The past by definition is over and done with, a photo album filled with pictures of dead people and buildings that have been torn down. The future, however, like Christmas, is waiting for us to arrive. The young know they're going to go there, and so they furnish it with their wishes. In the 1920s and 1930s, when American SF was aborning, its menu of future wonders was a national letter to Santa Claus listing the toys that boys like best -- invincible weapons and impressive means of transportation. When the future began to arrive, in the '50s and '60s -- that is, when the dreams of the SF magazines began to be translated into the physical realities of the mature consumer culture by a generation of designers and engineers who'd come of age in the pulp SF era -- cars were streamlined to resemble rocket ships. In fact, the car was revealed as the secret meaning of the rocket ship -- a symbol, at gut level, of absolute physical autonomy.
The complex equation of car and rocket ship epitomizes the relationship between SF and the surrounding culture. There is no more persuasive example of the power of "creative visualization" than the way the rocket-ship daydreams of the early twentieth century evolved into NASA's hardware. Between them, the SF pulps and such kindred publications asPopular ScienceandMechanix Illustrated,in which the new technologies of the burgeoning industrial state were set forth in terms any bright twelve-year-old could understand, produced the blueprints for the building of the land of Oz and the home of Ozzie and Harriet.
Inevitably there will be discrepancies between any set of blueprints and what finally gets built. Some preliminary sketches are transparent fictions, which the architect never intended to be taken seriously. Therewon'tbe a heliport on every skyscraper, despite all the great illustrations in the old pulps and the set designs in Luc Besson'sThe Fifth Element.The traffic control problems would be too great. On the other hand, within a single generation, between 1950 and 1970, jumbo jets did supplant trains and buses in providing long-distance mass transportation, so that at least in an allegorical sense, anyone who keeps track of Frequent Flyer bonuses does have a home heliport.
This "allegorical" sense is often SF's acutest receptor. SF writers often score prophetic bull's-eyes while getting all the details wrong, as Orwell did in1984.They can also be uncannily accurate at microprediction and still miss the big picture. Aldous Huxley'sBrave New Worldseems more prophetic every decade. Technology keeps getting closer to creating true test tube babies, and human cloning looms ahead. Today's blockbuster movies are as mindless, thrilling, and overtly pornographic as his feelies. The Deltas and Gammas of the lower classes are sustained by sex, sports, and drugs, just as in his novel. But in our reality drugs are illegal, the streets are dangerous, and human nature has managed to defeat most efforts at social programming. The hedonic utopia that Huxley saw latent in the America of the 1930s remains a latency.
This book provides a key to the allegories of science fiction and chronicles the genre's impact on American, and, eventually, global, culture. That impact is not always so straightforwardly causal, as in the case of the rocket ship. Some of SF's most enduring and recurrent images, such as its obsession with robots that run amok, have been very wide of the prophetic mark. We live in a world swarming with robots, which we generally take for granted or are blind to. They pilot planes, operate elevators, cook dinner, build cars, record TV shows when we can't do it ourselves, and rarely run amok, though they may misfunction. These "robotic" by-products of the computer age, although they have transformed our lives in myriad ways, lack the anthropomorphic robot glamour of "iron men," the pathos of being intelligent but soulless, and the high drama of rebellion against one's creator. The natural penchant of any storyteller for high drama over mere logic led even such capable extrapolators as Isaac Asimov to write about robots that were "almost human" and thereby to fail to foresee the cybernetic future until it was already upon them.
This does not mean, however, that SF's long-time preoccupation with robots amounts to no more than a failure of foresight. The robots of the sci-fi imagination have a different significance, which can be seen in their first appearance on the literary stage, in the 1920 playR.U.R.by Czech author Karel Capek. Capek coined the wordrobot,from a Czech root meaning "serf labor." His robots are a nightmare vision of the proletariat seen through middle-class eyes at the historical moment of the first Bolshevik success in Russia. They are manufactured, and therefore property (as Russian's serfs had been). Being the cheapest possible source of labor, they allow the privileged humans of the play to enjoy lives of sybaritic splendor until the moment the robots, realizing their own strength, rebel and wipe out their manufacturers. Capek's sympathies waver between indignation on behalf of the exploited robots (which sometimes seem to have souls) and fear of the impending day of judgment that will bring middle-class privilege to an end. The SF device of substituting robots for human workers allowed Capek to express, in the telegraphy of allegory, the moral truth that the industrial system treated human laborers as though they were machines, sowing thereby the seeds of an inevitable and just rebellion.
Many plays and novels and tracts have been written to express the truth that the working class are people just like "us": Emile Zola'sGerminal,George Bernard Shaw'sPygmalion,John Steinbeck'sThe Grapes of Wrath,and others. WhatR.U.R.is able to communicate that none of those other works can permit themselves to suggest is the ethically incorrect horror of a proletarian revolution that would put the rabble in charge. Capek is telling us something about ourselves we would rather not know: that deep down we don't believe in the humanity of those whose labor we exploit. And not just the proles in sweatshops and factories, for in Capek's time virtually every middle-class household had its own staff of "robots" in the form of cooks, maids, and scullions.
This vision of the essential inequity of all servant-master relationships eventually supplanted a more familiar and benign view of the nineteenth century: that servants, because they lived in the same house and shared some of its comforts, felt a family-like loyalty to those they served. This is the myth embodied inGone with the Wind, in the TV seriesUpstairs, Downstairs,and in P. G. Wodehouse's fables of Jeeves and Bertie Wooster. The myth can be controverted without resorting to the distancing devices of SF, but usually in such countermyths the servant enjoys an underdog victory, as in Beaumarchais' Figaro plays or and J. M. Barrie'sThe Admirable Crichton,in which a butler, shipwrecked on a desert island with his employers, becomes their overlord by virtue of his greater native endowments. Only if workers and servants can be shown to be something other than human is it possible to express, guiltlessly, a disdain for, as milord would have it, the canaille.
This uneasiness with regard to keeping servants, and keeping them in their place, became especially acute in the United States, both because it was, from its inception, a democracy in which all men were supposed to be equal, and because at the very dawn of the modern industrial era, it went through the traumatizing experience of the Civil War, which was fought over the issue of slavery.R.U.R.appeared on Broadway in 1922, only two years after its Czech premiere, and America at once assimilated the idea of the robot. Only a few years later, the poet Kenneth Fearing was filled with identical forebodings:
Only Steve the side-show robot, knows content; only Steve, the mechanical man in love with a photo-electric beam remains aloof; only Steve, who sits and smokes or stands in salute, is secure;
Steve, whose shoebutton eyes are blind to terror, whose painted ears are deaf to appeal, whose welded breast will never be slashed by bullets, whose armature soul can hold no fear.
The most terrible fears are often those we are not allowed to express and which must therefore be displaced to a permitted bogey. The witch who enslaves and imprisons Hansel and Gretel is not, heaven forfend, their mother, or even their wicked stepmother, but an Other. And the Steve whom Fearing fears is not some stevedore working the New York docks (for Fearing accounted himself a leftist and first won recognition in the pages of magazines likeNew Masses);rather he is an Other, not human, a robot whose blind eyes and deaf ears even a leftist might regard with consternation.
The robot has been employed for as wide a variety of dramatic purposes as there are Others to be worried about. We will encounter many other Others in these pages: aliens with green skin instead of green cards; body-snatching aliens inhabiting our neighbors' borrowed flesh; androids and cyborgs (robots in disguise); Artificial Intelligences, or AIs (robots who have shuffled off all mortal coils, metalandflesh); assorted gods and demigods (most notably Valentine Michael Smith, the hero of Robert Heinlein'sStranger in a Strange Landand Charles Manson's fatal role model); and, last but not least, those most Significant Others, women.
Women were usually neglected by SF writers of the earliest era, except when there was a need for their Lois Lane capacity as damsels in distress. However, ever sinceR.U.R.,there have been some notable female robots. Lester del Rey, a minor SF writer who would later give his name to a major SF imprint, wrote a story in 1938, "Helen O'Loy," that is a classic example of "Golden Age" (i.e., prepubescent) sexual psychology, in which two chums share the love of a mail-order, ready-to-assemble mechanical bride. "She was beautiful, a dream in spun plastics and metals, something Keats might have seen dimly when he wrote his sonnet." Further, "Helen was a good cook; in fact she was a genius, with all the good points of a woman and a mech combined." That's about it, in terms of characterization, but the seed had been planted that would become, in 1972, Ira Levin'sThe Stepford Wives,and, in 1974, a classic movie that put a feminist spin on del Rey's basic equation, Housewife = Robot.
Housewives are, after all, the last domestic servants -- or so it seemed in the early '70s, at the zenith of the American consumer culture, when every kitchen had its little battalion of labor-saving appliances. The Stepford wives were not scullions but rather, like del Rey's Helen O'Loy, succubae catering to the hedonist requirements of their lords and masters. Like Helen, they could pass as human. Their robot nature was a secret they shared with their husbands -- at least, until the movie made their name a byword for marriage as the most intimate form of alienation.
From the start, science fiction has had a double nature. At its crudest it is the ringmaster for monsters from the Id, bubbling with crude wish-fulfilling fantasies, as in "Helen O'Loy." But such fantasies can be very potent. They will capture the attention not only of a naive audience but of all those alert to such fiction's primal meaning: to grown-up writers like Ira Levin or Margaret Atwood who can recognize their own features in the comic book grotesqueries of naive sci fi and who then do their own sophisticated recensions of the crude originals.
This dialogic process has been going on so long, among so many different writers, that the confusion of realms between highbrow and low, between naive and knowing, has become a cultural fait accompli. The machineries of Hollywood pour millions of dollars into creating ever more artful re-creations of comic book heroes, from Superman to Caspar the Friendly Ghost, while the hacks who writeStar Trektie-ins and Marvel Comics take their cues, as often as not, from the writings of Michel Foucault and Camille Paglia. Newt Gingrich has a stable of collaborators for both his fiction and nonfiction who are seasoned sci-fi professionals.
In short, science fiction has come to permeate our culture in ways both trivial and/or profound, obvious and/or insidious. And its effects have not been limited to the sphere of "culture," in the narrow sense of one art form's influencing others. The influence of science fiction, as we shall witness abundantly in the pages ahead, can be felt in such diverse realms as industrial design and marketing, military strategy, sexual mores, foreign policy, and practical epistemology -- in other words, our basic sense of what is real and what isn't.
It is my contention that some of the most remarkable features of the present historical moment have their roots in a way of thinking that we have learned from science fiction -- to wit: the razing of the Berlin wall; the rise of millennial cults with homicidal agendas; Oliver North's testimony before Congress and his campaign for a Senate seat; Madonna's wardrobe and Sinead O'Connor's hair style; celebrity murder trials; compassion "burnout" for refugees in Rwanda; the deaths of theChallengerastronauts; toxic waste cover-ups; and much too much more.
In 1938, the year that "Helen O'Loy" appeared, the poet Delmore Schwartz, age twenty-four (two years younger than Lester del Rey), published his first collection,In Dreams Begin Responsibilities.That title alone secured his immortality. This book is an amplification of that pregnant truth.
A few words about my own connections with SF.
If American science fiction begins with the first issue of Hugo Gernsbach'sAmazing Storiesin 1926, then I have been a professional science-fiction writer for just about half the time the genre has been in existence, and I've been reading the stuff for two-thirds of that time.
Of the one hundred to two hundred writers of the genre whose by-lines are likely to register among avid readers of SF, I have met a majority. In 1980 and 1983 the British SF writer Charles Platt brought out two anthologies of interviews with well-known SF writers,Dream MakersandDream Makers, Vol. II.Of the thirty writers in the first book, I'd met all but two; of the twenty-eight in Volume II, I'd met nineteen. I'd roomed with some, dined with most, had business dealings with many, reviewed their work and been reviewed by them, debated with some in public, and gossiped with all of them about the others.
In my experience moving from one literary frogpond to another, I have never encountered a group of writers so intensely and intricately interconnected as the SF community. Poetry comes closest, but poetry is balkanized into dozens of hostile or indifferent clans. The various bands of the multicultural rainbow tend to be separatist both socially and aesthetically. When old and young do intermingle, it is in the institutional setting of a classroom or a summer workshop. But the chief difference is this: poets have a few centuries of other poets' work to catch up on. A poet can avoid reading contemporaries altogether and still read widely, deeply, and relevantly.
By contrast, most of the science fiction that is worth reading has been written by the writers I've met -- some of whom, like Theodore Sturgeon and Robert Heinlein, began publishing in the late '30s. As recently as 1981, when I wrote a foreword for the SF volume ofGale's Dictionary of Literary Biography,I could declare that all the great SF writers were essentially contemporaneous, alive and well, and merrily cross-pollinating across the usual gaps of age, gender, and ideology. Since then, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and nine more of the sixty SF writers Platt interviewed have died. Even so, there are few other fields of endeavor -- quantum mechanics, computer design, genetic engineering -- in which so large a proportion of its most illustrious figures still figure in reference books with only a single date in the parentheses after their name. And there are even fewer fields that have had so brief a history in proportion to the extent of their cultural impact.
This book is about that impact. It is not a literary history. Some of the science fiction I value most highly as literature -- books by John Crowley, Gene Wolfe, and Paul Park -- is dealt with only in passing, because the impact has been slight. These works are admired by discerning readers within the field, but being inimitable, they have not been imitated. By contrast, some of the most influential and widely imitated writers in the field -- Asimov, Heinlein, Herbert, Pournelle, Card -- vaunt themselves on their artlessness and lack of literary polish, or at least that is the John-Wayne persona they affect. They are simple "tellers of tales."
I also have no intention of "debunking" science fiction, though I'm sure I will give offense to many of the writers discussed (and their admirers) -- and even graver offense to those not discussed at all. That much SF is written for the very young and/or the uninstructed is a fact of publishing demographics. Indeed, the SF that reaches the largest audiences -- earns the biggest grosses, and establishes its archetypes most firmly in the collective mind not just of the nation but of the globe -- is not published at all; it is broadcast over TV and screened in movie theaters. One could dismiss such work as being aimed at the "lowest common denominator," but one could dismiss the Gospels on the same grounds. Blessed are the poor in spirit? Well, then, blessed are the Trekkies, too. Theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Having lived in the world of SF so long and having known so many of the players, it would be a false modesty to exclude my own personal witnessings from this account. That said, I must add that this book is not a memoir, nor an apologia for some one set of aesthetic principles, my own. Indeed, there is no such set, for my taste in SF has been indiscriminate. At one time or another I loved it all. I have doted on E.C. comic books; on Asimov serials in
Excerpted from The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of: How Science Fiction Conquered the World by Thomas M. Disch
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