cover image Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction

Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction

Brian W. Aldiss, David Wingrove. Atheneum Books, $24.95 (511pp) ISBN 978-0-689-11839-5

Although the history of imaginative literature formerly was the province of academicians, practitioners of the genre have themselves now begun to turn their attention to their rootsJames Gunn, Frederik Pohl, Donald Wollheim and Brian Aldiss, who has written arguably the best work of the lot. With the help of Wingrove, Aldiss has expanded his 1973 Billion Year Spree and produced a book that is at once scholarly and witty, thoughtful and opinionated. He maintains his positions on several controversial points that drew criticism in the earlier study: specifically, that ""modern'' science fiction can with certainty be dated from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and that Hugo Gernsback, editor/publisher of the pioneering Amazing Stories magazine, did more harm for the field than good. This is an entertaining and lively work and, for those seriously interested in the subject, necessary. Illustrations not seen by PW. (November 26)