Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction

Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction Britain S Most Illustrious SF Writer, Brian Aldiss, Provides A Witty And Perceptive History Of This Extraordinary Phenomenon, Set In Its Social And Literary Context Crammed With Fascinating Insights, This Generous Spree Takes Us Through Decades Of Treats For The Imagination Escape To Other Dimensions, Flights To Other Planets, Lost Worlds, Utopias, Mechanical Creatures And Intelligent Aliens Amusing, Intelligent And Authoritative, It Takes Us On A Tour Through That Zone Where Literature And Science Engage In An Eternal Flirtation Examining The Great Writers SF Has Produced, And The Images That Have Become The Cultural Wallpaper Of The Present Day, This Comprehensive Expedition Is For Buffs And Tenderfoots Alike

Jael Cracken, Peter Pica, John Runciman,

☆ [PDF / Epub] ★ Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction By Brian W. Aldiss ✩ –
  • Hardcover
  • 511 pages
  • Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction
  • Brian W. Aldiss
  • English
  • 27 October 2019
  • 9780689118395

10 thoughts on “Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction

  1. says:

    JOIN ME AND TOGETHER WE CAN RULE THE GALAXY The tenacity of poor SF is renowned It has unfortunately formed the hallmark of the genre.THE QUICK VERSION FOR THOSE IN A HURRYThis could be a rather long review so for those with time pressure here s a summary This is a splendid history of SF from whenever it started disputed up to the mid of the 1980s It was an update of his earlier Billion Year Spree, and I am only sorry that Brian Aldiss hasn t done a Gazillion Year Spree yet He is still with us now aged 91 so really there s no excuse Come on Brian Get off your backside I can t see any other useful history of SF out there You the man MY PROBLEM WITH SFI could write you a list of my favourite sf short stories as long as your arm but I still wouldn t call myself a fan because such a large amount of sf, especially sf novels, is obsessed withwar What is it good for Absolutely nuthin Except providing the plot for every other damned SF novel.Usually between or withinGalactic Empires And I m like Yawwwwwwnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn FORTRESS ROUND MY ARTIn the olden days Frankenstein and Jules Verne and HG Wells and RL Stevenson and Olaf Stapledon were not recognized as science fiction because the genre did not formally exist Then it was invented in in 1926 by Hugo Gernsback who called it scientifiction and launched the magazine Amazing Stories which amazingly enough is still in existence online since 2006 Brian calls Hugo One of the worst disasters ever to hit the science fiction fieldbecause by creating a magazine which published nothing but SF he created a ghetto And as an editor he was without literary understanding and set dangerous precedents which have been blindly followed Brian says that when he made these remarks in the first edition of this book he thought they merely expressed a truth apparent to any reasonable mind Instead they aroused fury My book was widely condemned So SF built itself a ghetto an American ghetto and all the magazines which followed and authors who filled them up were considered by non fans as the worst kind of pulp and totally ignored Pornography got a better press It took 30 years for SF to climb out of its self imposed isolation A great novel like 1984 was not published as science fiction In 1960 Walter Miller s brilliant A Canticle for Leibowitz was published and was immediately greeted with the warmest praise by reviewers i.e they said it was so good it couldn t possibly be SFAldiss is a wonderful commentator on every aspect of the long history of SF because he doesn t hold back, he s waspish and sometimes irascible Here are a few of his opinions which pleased me ALDISS ON ISAAC ASIMOVWhat does one say in his praise that Asimov himself has not already said He is a great producer He enjoys enormous popularity He has become monstrous.ALDISS ON FOUNDATION Aldiss describes the Galactic Empire, the Foundation and the concept of psychohistory Neither of these ideas bears a minute s serious investigation Yet upon these structures Asimov builds his huge house of cards what Asimov presents us with is Rome in Space an epic in true Hollywood tradition, with extras hired for the day, rather wooden actors and plastic props ALDISS ON ASIMOV S MERGING TOGETHER OF THE ROBOT NOVELS AND THE FOUNDATION NOVELS INTO ONE GIANT SERIESWhat can one say about this painful obsession ALDISS ON HEINLEINHe is not a particularly good storyteller and his characters are often indistinguishable.ALDISS ON THE LATER A E VAN VOGT HAVING LAVISHED PRAISE ON THE EARLIER Van Vogt produced a number of novels in the seventies, few of which made any real sense ALDISS ON PHILIP K DICKBetween life and death lie the many shadow lands of Dick, places of hallucination, perpetual sumps, cloacae of dim half life, paranoid states, tomb worlds and orthodox hells All his novels are one novel, a fatidical A la recherche du temps perfide fatidical, fa tid ik al, adj having power to foretell future events prophetical ALDISS ON STAR WARSIt was apparent from the first that Star Wars was an outsize elephant with the brains of a gnat Having said that he then goes on to shower praise on it ALDISS ON THE 1980sEven a cursory examination of the mass of SF currently being published reveals one striking phenomenon immediately Much of it is not SF It is fantasy ALDISS ON FANTASY I paraphrase The fate of the world depends on some poor slave girl and a man of low birth with mystic powers and an amulet And by the way, why are so many fantasy novels set in a feudal culture Because the authors have no knowledge of economics And also, they re writing for adolescent boys who have no knowledge of economics A TYPICAL STORY OF INJUSTICE Dimension of Miracles 1968 was Robert Sheckley s best novel in the 60s It puts the Big Questions as perhaps they ought to be put comically Some of us grieved when Douglas Adams came along with his Hitchhiker s Guide to the Galaxy 1979 and grew rich doing the Sheckleyan things which appeared to keep Sheckley poorSECOND STAR TO THE RIGHT, AND STRAIGHT ON TIL MORNINGI finished this with a weighty sensation of the vast amounts of SF written up to the 1980s, and this was before SF REALLY took off and began to eat everything else I felt like Spiderman in issue number 33 The Final Chapter , 1966 In this analogy, I am Spiderman crushed by the weight of all the unread SF.Then add another 25 years of the stuff..But perhaps the problem is not so big, if you exclude all the GALACTIC EMPIRE rubbish AND SF which is really fantasy, PLUS all the unreadable technophile stuff which can only be read by people who actually know something about science not me, not me maybe you re only left with 17 books I could manage that.

  2. says:

    If you re at all interested in SF, this is a must read Absolutely the best history of the genre that I know, written by an insider who is passionate about the subject.Aldiss has a broad take on the question of what science fiction is, and there is a strange, eerie theme running through the book a fascination with ice Anna Kavan s Ice, a novel I have still not read, but which Aldiss describes with passion Dante s traitors, buried in the ice of the innermost circles of Hell And this stanza from the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, which he quotes with approval as constituting the very essence of great science fiction And through the drifts the snowy cliftsDid send a dismal sheen Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken The ice was all between.

  3. says:

    It s no easy task to write a history of science fiction, as amorphous a publishing category as there is, so I hesitate to call this book a failure on those terms alone What it attempts to do, it does handily and usefully it brings to light a strand that stretches from Mary Shelley s Frankenstein to William Gibson s Neuromancer, the darling of the 1980s when this book was published Along the way it pauses long enough to note certain knots in the strand that have made it stronger woah, I m really stretching that metaphor out a kilter, aren t I Aldiss who wrote the original version of this book, Billion Year Spree and Wingrove smartly spend most of the book before the 1960s, focusing on the twin progenitors of modern SF the intellectual, philosophical style that came from the U.K from writers like H.G Wells and Aldous Huxley with the pulp, mechanistic format favored by America and championed by Hugo Gernsback.However, and likely due to the fact that both authors here are also creators, this is not necessarily the most objective critical treatise on the field Aldiss comes across as someone miffed by the American ascendency in a field that was born with an English authoress, in a kind of literary reflection of the change in world hegemony after the second world war He shoots a fish in a barrel when he rightly points out that Harlan Ellison s introduction to Dangerous Visions was marketing controversy, counterpointing it with a quite understated and humble editorial by Michael Moorcock from New Worlds But this one example doesn t mean that Moorcock wasn t himself involved in flaunting convention for attention, nor the true power behind some of the stories championed by Ellison including some of Ellison s own writing That is, Aldiss s obvious bias, likely stemming from where his own publications appeared, is this huge mote that sticks in the reader s eye once he hits the 1960s, and it s hard to remove it for the rest of the book It s unfortunately, because I think he s not too far off in his analysis of many of the at the time of writing recent authors, including noting that Gibson was style than substance The funny thing about the latter opinion is that he had just spent the entire chapter on New Worlds praising the New Wave s addition of style to what had been a gee whiz gizmo literature beforehand Perhaps if Aldiss had confronted his bias head on in no section does he remind the reader that he is, himself, the Aldiss that he mentions in passing in several chapters , it might have been palatable, or maybe I m just used to Gardner Dozois method of commentary that appears in the introduction to his Year s Best volumes where, once he comes to the magazine which he himself edited, he simply lists the authors there without comment Trouble is, for Aldiss not to comment on that section of the book would have made for a much shorter work A conundrum indeed.What I enjoyed most here was learning a bit about authors whom I may have read, but didn t know as much about their history, such as H.G Wells, Edgar Rice Burroughs, A.E Van Vogt, and Michael Moorcock As a voracious reader of SF in the 70s and 80s, I thought I had a fairly good grounding in the classics, but this book revealed some of my deficiencies, albeit none that I m necessarily interested in correcting at this late date It did remind me of why I was attracted to science fiction in the first place, and given me an idea of what I ve been finding missing in the few titles I ve read recently Finally, this is the first book that I ve read in a long time that has ever tempted me to re read novels and stories, to view them with new critical eyes having obtained a new perspective from Aldiss on them, such as Tim Powers s The Anubis Gates, Frederick Pohl s Gateway, and Gene Wolfe s The Shadow of the Torturer.A final note I ordered this book from Mark Ziesing, whom I used to order books from regularly not to mention briefly writing a book review column for his print catalog, which he still produces When I received this book, it had a tipped in review slip from the publisher and Mark had written on a post it note, Hi, Glen I thought you d enjoy knowing this was Damon Knight s copy It s a silly thing, but that little bit of knowledge made me feel a part of that science fictional strand that Aldiss wrote about here.

  4. says:

    My book shelves are liberally peppered with science fiction novels Right now, in front of my eyes, I can see a William Gibson trilogy peeking back at me mischievously Pattern Recognition Spook Country.Zero History.I taught Art and Design in India for 12 years These books must become part of the curriculum of any cutting edge art and design school across the world, I think to myself But, not many will care Because, firstly, are there any Gen X or Gen Y kids who read Should they read at all As for that older generation that wants to teach them , who reads science fiction They have the lines blurred between SF and Fantasy unable to discern between the two and the changing of both times and the guard, they throw out the baby with the bathtub, water, scented oils, soaps, bubbles, towels and all.Stop Think All that talk of Futurology and Sustainability and New Age Pedagogy that disturbs you, not to mention the students, is driven subtly from behind the scenes by the Iluminatii and, horror of horrors, what if I told you that these are the writers of SF Gibson is a cyberpunk , or so I have heard some say despisingly, as if he was meant to be Shakespeare Do they know their genres What about Bruce Sterling From his fictional Schismatrix to his non fiction work Shaping Things, he has emerged as a design guru Both Gibson and Sterling are intuitively and learnedly drawn to the influences and convergences of art, design, science and technlogy, psychology and business on the shaping and the making of human futures and the mutation or expansion of the species vision and capabilities in the coming phase of entropy extropy, Utopia Dystopia Trans or Post humanism.But then I pause, for instance, to ask myself Where did all this begin or rather Where did all this emerge from And so it was that by means of synchronicity one of my unknown to the world book loving and reading friends placed into my hands this erudite book by Brian Aldiss Hey Presto I found myself travelling back and forth through the swing doors of the Past and the Future via the Present, through an intricate tapestry of the notions and networks of Amazing Stories and writers from across several centuries woven into a semantic web with SF inscribed across its nodes of a breadth and depth that held me in its thrall.What s , this particular history of SF has been written by one who is not exactly a genre conservative but comes, as it were, from the deeper and interior spaces of the ghost in the machine involved in combinatorial conspiracies with those grappling with paradoxes relating to la condition humaine in terms of form and content driving the process of the generative art that is writing SF.I particularly laud this earlier extraordinary contribution to understanding the impulse to SF and it s role in mainstream literature and even scientific speculation, simulation, discovery and innnovation in the light of having come across a recent anthology of Amazing Stories titled The Secret History of Science Fiction, edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel 2009 Tachyon Publications.The case that Brian Aldiss makes in Trillion Year Spree subtly is provided a megaphone in The Secret History of Science Fiction Aldiss has the subtlety and sensitivity to both identify and articulate the soul, nerves, circulatory systems, bones and flesh of what constitutes SF with a generous, bountiful and deeper understanding of the larger Purusha of literature with a capital L Kelly and Kessel are driving the definite agenda of a rapprochement between what they perceive as the deliberate building of a Great Wall between SF as a genre and Mainstream Literature Their concern is the facilitation of the breaking down of such boundaries The loss of the future as home ground for sf has bothered some writers, readers, and critics who embrace sf culture It seems to us that one of the consequences of the rapprochement between sf and the literary mainstream is this move to set stories in the present, and to reduce the extrapolative element in favor of experimental structure or emphasis on characterization, they assert The argument is on the side of those writers who came to use the materials of sf for their own purposes, writing fiction that is clearly science fiction, but not identified by that name and an appeal to genre conservatives to abandon their preconceived ideas of and definitions of SF.While the anthology Kelly and Kessel have produced is nothing less than exquisite to illustrate their argument, Aldiss doesn t bother to enter this game So I say it would be wise to read Aldiss before entering the space of the argument put forth by Kelly and Kessel.What is it that Aldiss is attempting He lays out the panoramic landscape of SF and takes one on a leisurely walk through it and points out the various landmarks, milestones, the castles, the moors, the fences, the cattle on the hillsides, the trees and the seasons It is a stroll through the history of SF not just chronologically, but touching upon the lives and thoughts, dreams and deeds of the actors upon the stage, mapping out the layers, the mosaic, the similarities and differences in approach from era to era or movement to movement, the shifting paradigms and yet continuously coming upon and perhaps even deliberately evading the one ring to bind them all.To cut the longish review in my mind to a short one in word processor social media space, I will mention that the book is a whopping 512 pages What s , while one takes the Nautilus into the depths of the sea of central ideas that enabled, over time, the creation and concretisation of the SF genre, one also comes to terms with the even powerful undercurrents that drive good literature So one is able to suddenly, with new eyes, traverse known landscapes like Gulliver s Travels, Robinson Crusoe, Erewhon, Beowulf, the Odyssey, the Book of Ezekiel or Revelation, and so on and so forth, and recognize them as close kin and contributors to the emerging body of literature known as SF.And tongue in cheek Aldiss describes ordinary fiction as hubris clobbered by mimesis while SF is fiction that is hubris clobbered by nemesis As for those who engage with and or are addicted to SF of the pulp fiction variety, I suppose that is hubris clobbered by pop but the genre is inclusive of such too, since it piggybacked to fame upon the shoulders of such before heavier discussions took place as to its stature and future and its comparative advantages or disadvantages vis a vis mainstream literature.The point is, if you have read thus far, it is most likely you will pick up a copy of this book and its younger, questioning companion, and settle down to a week of fascinating reading Why so Because Aldiss will cue you into this strange world with a certain ease and finesse while the stories in Kelly s and Kessel s anthology will better prove his point that SF and great literature are inevitably intertwined What destiny has put together, let no man cast asunder I emphasise this point, because the world in which we are embedded is coming together in ways which are being imagined, shaped and made, especially for the vast ignorant masses, by seers who dare forsee the expediting of their SF dreams and nightmares If you want to really draw a connection between SF imagination and technological innovation, just surf to Don t be too surprised The list of seers is Leviathan Mary Shelley and her monster Frankenstein, Erasmus Darwin genetically forwarding Charles Darwin down the tunnel of time in memetic mode, William Gibson and console cowboys , Bruce Sterling and Spimes, Arthur C Clarke and the yet to be Rendezvous with Rama in Space, the Final Frontier , Isaac Asimov who laid a different Foundation from Philip K Dick s in the Valis Trilogy, Timothy Leary, Robert Anton Wilson and Terence McKenna sending forth their psychedelic consciousness altered altering projections, Doris Lessing and the combining of space and spirit travel across planets and zones, and on and on and on.This is the Trillion Year Spree a roller coaster ride that does not end a Hitchhiker s Guide to the SF Galaxy.

  5. says:

    If you love SF, you will at least like this book.Aldiss researched and wrote the first version of his history, Billion Year Spree , in the 70s Back then there was a popular belief that science fiction began with the American SF magazines edited by Hugo Gernsback the Hugo Awards, the Oscars of the SF world, are named after Mr Gernsback Aldiss found this belief annoying he wrote his history as a corrective, and it was one of, if not the, first major single volume history of science fiction The history was revised in the 80s and re released as Trillion Year Spree.SF arose out of Gothic storytelling the oldest SF story that we know of is Frankenstein 1618 by Mary Shelley, a story about forward looking science replacing the old ways of learning and giving humans dangerous godlike powers creating life Aldiss also looks at SF s honourable ancestors works that have some similarity to SF, because of their major influence on the genre, but which lack any awareness of the scientific worldview which is integral to the genre.The first half, Out of the Gothic , covering SF from its honourable ancestors to Frankenstein through to the end of the 1940s, is great Aldiss shows us a strong European SF tradition through Shelley, Verne, Wells, Stapledon, Huxley, Conan Doyle, and many others who have been forgotten and his enthusiasm for the SF classics is infectious He thinks of SF having two poles the critical pole, authors and stories which aim for intellectual satisfaction such as Huxley and Wells , and the dreaming pole, those which aim for emotional satisfaction, producing terror or excitement or a sense of wonder such as Edgar Rice Burroughs and Lovecraft SF stories and authors sit somewhere between these two poles Aldiss reckons Shelley s Frankenstein is somewhere in the middle, for example.While European SF was mostly an upper class affair, full of social criticism and anxiety about the future, American SF arose out of pulp novels, which arose out of dime novels thus, American SF was predominantly about fun action adventure produced for the masses, rather than literary merit The oldest American SF story is The Huge Hunter, Or, the Steam Man of the Prairies, about a steam powered mechanical man who fights Native Americans and outlaws on the American frontier The stories of early American SF magazines were extremely propagandistic they showed the glorious future that awaited technological man British SF, on the other hand, has generally been pessimistic about the future.Visions of the future age faster than stories set in the present day SF takes elements of the present and extrapolates them into an imagined future novels set in the contemporary world look back on history to explore the present SF is for the now, looking forward Aldiss thinks the best pessimistic SF as a prodromic effect anxieties expressed in SF provide an early warning, giving us chance of preventing that future from coming about Orwell s 1984 is an anti prophetic book the less reality matches it, the successful in its purpose In the final pages of her feminist classic The Female Man, Russ states that the book will have achieved its purpose when the writing loses its sting and becomes irrelevant to reality SF is occasionally accurate with its prophecies In the two decades leading up to the First World War, the Future War subgenre of SF was flourishing There were myriad novels and stories about a major European War destroying the continent Reality outdid these predictions WW1 killed that subgenre In 1943, Cleve Cartmill thought it would be cool to write a story about the Allies developing a futuristic super bomb He researched nuclear fission using publically available science journals The story was published in a 1944 issue of Astounding Stories it described the science behind the atomic bomb in detail, and the crux of the story was the scientists arguing about whether the bomb should be used FBI agents investigated the magazine and authors associated with it, fearing espionage or a security breach, because the story was eerily similar to what was actually going on in the Manhattan project, but eventually accepted the similarities to reality were coincidence.The second half, Into The Big Time , covering SF from the 50s to the 80s, is weaker SF flourished from the 50s, grew into a mass market It s impossible to fit all of the developments into a single book the chapter on the 50s contains long passages which are just lists of authors and titles, giving an impression of how much was written in that period In the post war world, American SF also became pessimistic, gone was the age of science propaganda Modern society was dehumanizing, and could destroy us all In the 60s, SF changed to focus on lifestyle changes in the future, reflecting the interests of the hippie movement Sex, drugs, and literary style entered SF the New Wave movement, championed by Michael Moorcock and Harlan Ellison, pushed the boundaries, courting controversy and moving SF forward Norman Spinrad was called a degenerate in the House of Commons for publishing an SF story featuring swearing, sex, and words such as cunnilingus Aldiss gives a brief survey of SF in film, TV, and video games Since there was so much written SF produced in this time, Aldiss struggles to pick out which are the most important bar the obvious ones such as Dick and LeGuin, etc The chapters on the 70s and 80s are weakest it is too close to Aldiss present, at time of writing He discusses authors who have fallen into total obscurity in the 30 years since the publication of Trillion Year Spree, and who made less of an impact than Aldiss thought It s harder to see general trends looking back without much temporal distance These chapters, while still entertaining, are too much like a list of stuff Aldiss Wingrove read recently this book is good, this author is OK, this one is pretty impressive but has flaws, I like this one, this one is overrated, etc It is here that the book s age 30 years old shows most clearly nowadays we would be able to see the trends, the major influences, etc, in the 70s and 80s There s also 30 years of new SF since then the 90s space opera boom led by Simmons Hyperion and Banks Culture series, 21st century SF, etc.My 5 star rating covers the history up to and including the New Wave of the 60s I would deduct a star for the later chapters, but they are a relatively small part of Aldiss history Overall, it s a great book and highly recommended to SF fans I feel like my nerd level has increased due to reading this book that s a good feeling.

  6. says:

    Onde come a a FC Qual o texto seminal de onde germinou esta forma liter ria Aldiss muito preciso Rejeita textos cl ssicos fantasistas como o de Luciano de Samosata ou as viagens fant sticas dos autores enciclopedistas do iluminismo e focaliza se em Frankenstein como a raiz da imensa floresta da FC A conflu ncia do romance g tico com vis o cient fica, os traumas pessoais da autora sublimados atrav s de narrativas que fogem ao ocultismo m gico e contemplam as possibilidades cient ficas, bem como a responsabilidade, arrog ncia e consequ ncias imprevis veis do progresso que confluem no drama do Viktor Frankenstein, e o seu lado de romance p riplo que atrav s das aventuras dos personagens leva o leitor numa viagem dupla por entre cen rios fantasistas e ideias progressistas s o os elementos que Aldiss acusa como elementares para o g nero Para l de Shelley, Aldiss leva nos a Poe como outro dos nomes germinais do g nero Mas n o o faz cegamente Observa que a grande for a narrativa de Poe est no seu lado mais tenebroso e obsessivo e reflecte que as suas incurs es na proto fc s o intencionalmente pat ticas, como se recusasse ir t o longe nos dom nios especulativos quanto vai nos das trevas obsessivas Ent o porque que Aldiss o salienta Pela sua mestria no dom nio do conto, onde de facto foi precursor Note se que a capacidade sint tica da narrativa curta uma das grandes caracter sticas da FC.Aldiss n o esquece outros textos que exploram diversas tem ticas que ir o coalescer na Fic o Cient fica Regressa aos p riplos planet rios com Luciano de Samosata, Kepler e Voltaire, vai aos proto universos paralelos de Margaret Cavendish e analisa a longa tradi o das utopias e distopias num arco liter rio que inclui Plat o, More, Swift, Defoe, Butler e Zamiatin As ra zes do totalitarismo mecanicista de We encontram se na utopia esclarecida da Rep blica platonista.Na era Vitoriana Aldiss estabelece a g nese do ide rio que gerou a FC contempor nea N o uma afirma o inocente Esta a era em que o conceito de progresso se afirmou, com a ideia que o progresso cient fico geraria progresso tecnol gico e social Este um substrato a partir do qual podem nascer vis es de futuro, e foi o que aconteceu Quer a partir do progressismo social de Gilman, da vis o de superioridade tecnol gica de Bulwer Lytton, ou da caricatura que traduz um fasc nio visceral, dif cil de definir, com o artefacto tecnol gico patente em Hoffmann ou Villiers d l Isle Adam deste substrato que partem Verne e Wells, de formas diferentes mas profundamente influentes.Verne, como Robida e outros escritores similares, repensa a tecnologia, a grande novidade da poca, e utiliza a de forma particularmente eficaz como elemento em narrativas de aventuras que t m cativado gera es Verne n o um verdadeiro futurista, colocando vis es tecnol gicas arrojadas ao servi o de uma vis o de contemporaneidade Wells parte de uma base similar, mas consegue projectar mais longe as preocupa es da emergente era industrializada do progresso t cnico Verne deslumbra se, Wells preocupa se com as consequ ncias e a sua mensagem a de que ser o profundamente transformativas E, no caso das passagens mais fortes de Time Machine, irrelevantes No longo amanh tudo ser reduzido a p.Para al m de Wells Aldiss tra a o desenvolvimento da FC enquanto forma de literatura popular, onde a preocupa o liter ria fica para segundo plano e a ci ncia e tecnologia s o os elementos chamativos para atrair os leitores Neste saco Aldiss coloca obras t o d spares como as Edisonades, robots a vapor nas pradarias ou antevis es de guerras futuras que se tornariam horrendamente prescientes poucos anos depois na I guerra Aldiss tamb m faz notar uma atrac o progressiva pelo ex tico e selvagem, pela decad ncia da vis o limpa da utopia invadida pela selva primeva Fala nos aqui do aventureirismo selvagem de H Ridder Haggard, do renascer do mito tel rico primevo de Stoker ou dos horrores tecnol gicos de M.P Shiel e at o esp rito libert rio de Jack London Parecem nomes curiosos para debater a g nese da FC mas Aldiss tem uma vis o abrangente, sabendo que o g nero vai muito para al m da fic o especulativa de base cient fica, indo beber a variadas fontes que por sua vez o modelam e transformam.Esta a ponte que leva Aldiss ao trabalho de Edgar Rice Burroughs Escritor prol fico, foi talvez o primeiro escritor profissional a viver da sua prosa de aventuras ex ticas N o o primeiro, claro, mas talvez o primeiro dos escritores de best sellers constantes que mina at exaust o uma ideia que agradou ao seu p blico Aldiss foca se particularmente neste aspecto, demonstrando que em Burroughs o rigor cient fico se esfuma, a vis o progressista deixada para tr s pelos conceitos orientalistas do fasc nio pelo ex tico Mas legou nos hist rias que perduram, e um gosto pela narrativa de aventura que est mais para o lado do fant stico do que de uma FC que exige rigor cient fico esse o outro ponto onde Aldiss foca Burroughs est na fronteira entre a narrativa de aventuras com bases progressistas e a pura fantasia de sabor ex tico com este argumento que o autor olha para Hogdson, Clark Ashton Smith ou o incontorn vel Lovecraft, como fornecedores de vis es proto surreais do fant stico que n o s o estritamente horror ou fantasia.Ao olhar para os anos 30 imposs vel fugir aos pulp, e Aldiss n o o faz Antes, opta por um ataque visceral a Hugo Gernsback, editor da seminal Amazing Stories Detestar n o conceito suficiente para descrever o ataque de Aldiss dio abomin vel aplica se melhor Para este autor, Gernsback representa as duas vertentes que mais detesta nas concep es de FC a bastardiza o do g nero, banalizado em hist rias simplistas de aventuras com adere os futuristas, e a escrita a metro sem preocupa es de qualidade Fica claro que Aldiss abomina aquele futurismo optimista retro que William Gibson satirizou com elegante nostalgia no conto Gersnaback Continuum Despachando a g nese dos pulps, Aldiss volta se para o trabalho de autores considerados parte do c none liter rio tradicional mas cuja prosa ro a, toca ou mergulha descaradamente na fic o cient fica nesta luz que analisa o absurdo surreal de Kafka, o humanismo de Kapec, ou o proto psicadelismo social progressita de Aldous Huxley N o esquece C.S Lewis, que sendo mais conhecido como fantasista o autor de uma curiosa e bem urida triloga de FC que mistura o misticismo m tico com uma vis o aventureira do sistema solar Aldiss interliga o trabalho destes autores pela const ncia de uma vis o que vai al m do real e pela bvia reac o ao horror da primeira guerra, muro onde se estamparam os futurismos radicais que prometiam um amanh constru do com f cega na tecnologia Termina com uma curiosa compara o entre a FC m tica e fortemente po tica de Olaf Stapledon com as pretens es mitol gicas do mais popular mas de prosa mais banal Tolkien.Se as vis es a metro de aventura fant stica futurista editadas ao estilo de Gernsback s o aberrantes para Aldiss, o estilo editorial marcante de John W Campbell d o mote para uma an lise dos autores da fic o pulp que se tornaram grandes mestres da FC A preocupa o do editor com uma boa mistura de especula o com qualidade liter ria legou nos o trabalho de Jack Williamson, Pohl, Van Vogt, Gunn e Bradbury, entre tantos outros, ao longo de uma influente carreira como editor Mas fica sublinhada a dicotomia entre duas grandes vertentes da FC Temos a aventura futurista, onde a plausibilidade n o importante e a prosa muitas vezes sofr vel, apesar dos altos expoentes de EE Doc Smith e a FC com preocupa o liter ria, pensada a partir de ideias e ambientes que n o s o necessariamente dependentes de um artif cio tecnol gico Abre se o caminho para os anos 50, onde o optimismo come a a esfumar se perante o rescaldo da II guerra e das novas super armas capazes de destruir a humanidade Perde se a f cega no progresso e na perfei o tecnol gica A raz o aplicada, ao contr rio do quadro de Goya, geradora de monstros e estes encontram lugar no melhor da fic o de Asimov, Bester, Vonnegut, Miller Jr., Damon Knight ou Blish Aldiss sublinha o negativismo e paran ia subjacentes FC nos anos 50 com uma visita ao incontorn vel 1984, onde se mostra a queda de todas as utopias Mas nem tudo obscuro nesta poca e Aldiss avalia o crescimento liter rio de Bradbury, que nunca abandonou o deslumbre infantil para com o futuro, embora lhe reconhe a os fantasmas, e o sublimou num realismo m gico que ultrapassou as fronteiras do g nero com uma invej vel candura Essencialmente, Aldiss mostra que independentemente das preocupa es dos autores a FC atinge a maturidade liter ria nesta poca.O livro termina com tr s notas Primeiro, Alidss v se obrigado a olhar para os grandes sucessos do cinema que trouxeram a FC para as luzes da ribalta claro que a est tica e o ide rio de filmes como Star Wars, Blade Runner e 2001 n o lhe agrada V os e ao seu sucesso como uma simplifica o bastardizante do g nero, que se afasta do intelectualismo pelo qual luta ao longo do livro O torcer de nariz t o pronunciado que se sente A finalizar o s culo XX e o livro Aldiss olha para o lado mais intelectual da FC, o movimento iniciado por Moorcock na revista New Worlds que nos legou uma vis o de FC experimentalista, liter riamente complexa e em busca de novos temas e est ticas Analisa a heran a de Moorcock e Ballard e o seu reverso, o regresso dos cl ssicos Asimov, Heinlein e Clarke como detentores do estatuto de vision rios multimilion rios gra as aos best sellers repetitivos que vendem como p es quentes.Para encerrar, Aldiss faz um longo apanhado dos autores e tend ncias da FC nos anos 80 curioso ler sobre vozes hoje estabelecidas como Greg Bear, William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, David Brin e outros como jovens promessas cujas est ticas apontavam para poss veis novas vertentes de explora o da FC Outros nomes desvaneceram se, e outros renderam se ao comercialismo que Aldiss tanto critica ao longo desta obra Ufa O t tulo aponta para o vasto alcance ambicionado por Aldiss Esta de facto uma hist ria da FC, pesquisada e contada por um dos seus praticantes N o uma narrativa isenta Aldiss n o se co be de opinar e fazer transparecer o que pensa ao longo do livro Isto particularmente vis vel na forma como arrasa Gernsback, Hubbard ou qualquer vertente da FC com que discorde Mas n o deixa de ser um observador presciente, capaz de auto criticar os v cios do g nero, entre os quais a predisposi o para lutas internecinas Pela abrang ncia e profundidade, este um livro incontorn vel para quem quer ficar a conhecer bem o que a fic o cient fica.

  7. says:

    A revised and updated version of Billion Year Spree a history of science fiction through the early 1980 s.I previously read Billion Year Spree published 1973 and enjoyed it This book is a revision of the first one and an extension of it to the early 80 s It was fun to see what Brian Aldiss thought were the up and comers some of them are still around Sterling, Bear, Gibson and a few of them I d never heard of Richard Cowper, Rudy Rucker His few paragraphs on George R R Martin made me smile Martin was the youngest of the writers grouped together here and As a novelist Martin is less successful I wish Aldiss had written an updated, updated version of this that reached through the 90 s and early 2000 s before he passed away.

  8. says:

    This is not so much a true history of science fiction as it is a history spanning piece of literary criticism of SF Which is to say it s about Aldiss presenting his opinions of authors, stories, novels, editors, etc., than it is about laying out the who, what, and when of history And this is not a bad thing, especially speaking from a time some 26 years after the book was published As a history of an ongoing phenomenon, those missing years up to the present day would steeply diminish the value of this book But Aldiss s opinions which are immensely educated, thoughtful, and based on a deep love of science fiction are not withered or staled by the age of this book They re as informative, thought provoking, and entertaining as ever Which is not to say that I agreed with all of them, nor that I think any single human being is ever likely to That said, I ll give over the rest of this review to a sampling of some of those opinions About the love readers often have for authors they first read in their youth Konrad Lorenz has shown how young ducklings become imprinted by their mother s image at a certain tender age when even a false mother will do the trick , after which they can accept no substitutes for her The same effect is observed in many species, not excluding our own Tastes in the arts may be formed in this way It is hard to understand otherwise the furore that greeted the early works of Abe Merritt, Lovecraft, and Otis Adelbert Kline H.G Wells is teaching us to think Edgar Rice Burroughs and his lesser imitators are teaching us not to think Of course, Burroughs is teaching us to wonder The sense of wonder is in essence a religious state, blanketing out criticism Robert E Howard 1906 1936 created a brawny bone headed hero called Conan, whose barbarian antics are set in the imaginary Hyborian Age, back in pre history when almost all women and almost no clauses were subordinate On Olaf Stapledon Reading his books is like standing on the top of a high mountain One can see a lot of planet and much of the sprawling uncertain works of man, but little actual human activity from such an altitude, all sense of the individual is lost It is easy to argue that Hugo Gernsback 1894 1967 was one of the worst disasters ever to hit the science fiction field.Gernsback s segregation of what he liked to call scientifiction into magazines designed to contain nothing else, ghetto fashion, guaranteed the setting up of various narrow orthodoxies inimical to any thriving literature As Aldiss notes, this opinion aroused fury when Billion Year Spree the predecessor to Trillion was released On science fiction magazine editors A few of them have been very good, many have been competent, and a lot have brought to their craft the creativity of a toad and the intelligence of a flatworm John Campbell stands above them all Ray Bradbury was the first to take all the props of SF and employ them as highly individual tools of expression for his own somewhat Teddy bearish view of the universe About Asimov s Foundation novels and psychohistory This highly mechanistic sociological reductionism a kind of quantum physics applied to human beings has been developed with one aim only to prevent a ten thousand year Dark Age wherein the Galaxy might fall into technological barbarism.Neither of these ideas bears moderately serious investigation Very often Asimov didn t even bother with the grand visual aids his is a non sensual universe We see little of it We can t touch it His principal actors talk much than they act, and notice very little of their surroundings On Robert Heinlein More nonsense has been written about Heinlein than about any other SF writer He is not a particularly good storyteller and his characters are often indistinguishable There is always a mouthpiece in his later work His style is banal, highly colloquialized, and has not changed in its essence in the forty odd years he has been writing On the British vs the U.S versions of New Wave SF for all the mumblings and grumblings of the Golden Age writers, Ellison s mock revolution the Dangerous Visions anthology was accepted without too much fuss, while most of what the UK magazine New Worlds attempted was at least in immediate terms rejected out of hand Put it all down to showbiz razzamatazz, perhaps, but the emergent fact was clear experiments with style were fine, perhaps even fun Experiments with a style that reflected content matter was well, it was different, unacceptable to most of the traditional readership On the shortcomings of fantasy vis a vis SF And, because such fantasies are always unsatisfying, it is also the reason why publishers need to keep up the supply of the drug, month by month The Gor novels are for addicts, not adults On Stanislav Lem There is a coldness of intent, a weakness in characterization, and an overall inability to engage the whole of what we are, which makes Lem s writing much less significant than it ought to be Lem s intellect may be vast It is also cool and unsympathetic.

  9. says:

    Der letzte Quellentext f r meine Bachelorarbeit und ich w nschte ich h tte das Buch als erstes gelesen, da es gesammelt alles hatte, was ich brauchte und vorher m hsam alles zusammen gesucht hatte

  10. says:

    I came to this book, off and on, over a period of five years and have just turned the last of its dense 444 pages This is an amazing and exhaustive history of Speculative Fiction SF by one of its Grand Masters Any serious reader of SF should tackle this amazing map of the foundations, trends, and pit falls of our most expansive and awe inspiring genre of fiction Aldiss not only navigates the varied coastline of the literature of What if , but is not in the least afraid of keel hauling those stowaways that he feels are over rated or undeserving Sometimes his criticisms of other authors made me audibly wince Aldiss is so very candid about writers of every era, most notably his own, that it is hard to imagine how he might manage to mingle with his peers without constantly checking to see if anyone might be about the business of poisoning his drink But, in the end, it doesn t come off as bitchiness for its own sake Aldiss is a task master because he believes that if the task is worth doing, it is worth doing well If Aldiss doesn t like a work, he plainly states that he doesn t and then meticulously explains why Thankfully, his enthusiasms are rendered with equally passionate detail It s plain from this exhaustive survey that he doesn t worship this genre as a monolithic ally pure idol, but that he deeply wishes to see the macro story of all SF aspire to great heights, and should the genre prove itself worthy, to then ultimately achieve them So, I have now finished The Trillion Year Spree after a long, intermittent, slow, and very deep read, and yet I find that I can t put it back on the shelf It presently sits beside to my bed on my currently reading shelf as an absolute treasure trove of thousands of worthwhile stories that could potentially occupy me for the rest of my stay in this particular physical and temporal dimension A life s worth of potential wonder is no small fortune I have learned that the story of Science Fiction is a very, very big one This is a huge, enjoyable, and important work of enthusiastic scholarship It is well worth all the time and effort any SF enthusiast might be able to devote to it.

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