This month in Blasphemous Geometries: has the intentional fallacy had its day as a critical tool? Should we roll back the stone from the tomb of The Author?
Jonathan McCalmont suggests that genre fiction fan-writers and critics should cautiously embrace biographical criticism, and examine books and other works in the context of their creator’s mindset.
Continue reading How to Dismantle the Wall Between an Author and Their Work
This month in Blasphemous Geometries: has the ‘Web 2.0’ phenomenon been a boon to science fiction fandom?
Or, asks Jonathan McCalmont, has it simply accentuated its slide from intelligent discussion into naked commercialism? And if so, how can we reverse the trend?
Continue reading The Failure of Web 2.0 (with regards to science fiction)
The latest issue of online sf criticism zine Fruitless Recursion – curated by Jonathan “Blasphemous Geometries” McCalmont, no less – is online and awaiting your eyeballs.
You can read Jonathan’s editorial/introduction to start with, or you can dive right into the articles:
- Paul Kincaid‘s review of Mike Ashley’s Gateways to Forever: The Story of Science Fiction Magazines from 1970 to 1980.
- Alvaro Zinos-Amaro‘s review of Gabriel McKee’s The Gospel According to Science Fiction: From the Twilight Zone to the Final Frontier.
- Niall Harrison‘s review of Michael Chabon’s Maps and Legends.
- Jonathan McCalmont‘s review of Studies in Modern Horror, edited by NGChristakos.
Back in black like an Australian hard rock band long past its sell-by date, it’s Blasphemous Geometries.
This month, Jonathan McCalmont addresses the issue of believability in science fiction – is the truth of a text based in its scientific accuracy, or somewhere else?
Continue reading The Many Roads – and Solitary Path – to Believable Science Fiction
Novelist Ian Sales makes an interesting point – a lot of the stories and novels held up as classics of the science fiction genre are actually very bad adverts for the modern form:
I’ve complained before about the undeserving admiration given to many science fiction novels and short stories of earlier decades. Such reverence frequently results in fans recommending these works to people wanting to try the genre. And that’s not a good thing. Readers new to the genre are not served well by recommendations to read Isaac Asimov, EE ‘Doc’ Smith, Robert Heinlein, or the like. Such fiction is no longer relevant, is often written with sensibilities offensive to modern readers, usually has painfully bad prose, and is mostly hard to find because it’s out of print. A better recommendation would be a current author – such as Richard Morgan, Alastair Reynolds, Iain M Banks, Ken MacLeod, Stephen Baxter, and so on.
I think Sales has a good point there. I came to science fiction through the authors publishing in the eighties, and as such I’ve found that a lot of the classics are, while interesting from a historical perspective, pretty unfulfilling reads. And hell knows being made to read some of Dickens’ more tedious works at school gave me a knee-jerk reaction to literary classics, too. [Murray Leinster cover scanned by J Levar]
Which authors would you recommend to a reader wanting to dip their toes into the genre, and why?