FUTURE PERFECT: American Science Fiction of the Nineteenth Century, 2nd ed. by H. Bruce--Ed. Franklin

FUTURE PERFECT: American Science Fiction of the Nineteenth Century, 2nd ed.

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This first-rate collection originally appeared in 1966 and contributed greatly to the development of a more informed interest in the antecedents of modern science fiction, among both fans and literary historians. In fact, the climate of opinion in which the ""mainstream"" relevance of the genre needs little or no defense owes a good deal to Franklin's pioneering anthology. The present revision discreetly mirrors some of the intensified concerns of the editor (whose road to Marxism was charted in the autobiographical Back Where You Came From, 1975). Hawthorne, Poe, Melville, Bierce, Bellamy, Mark Twain, and a half-dozen lesser lights are now joined by Washington Irving (a nastily apposite observation on Indian rights by way of a lunar perspective, taken from ""Knickerbocker's"" History of New York) and Jack London (a remarkable story of revivification and matter-disintegration). The revised introductory material now pays more explicit attention to political and technological contexts, and occasionally to current science-fiction concerns. It is also somewhat tighter, with less belaboring of the science-fiction-can-be-literature thesis and some shifts in evaluation (Poe is now seen as ""essentially anti-scientific and downright escapist""). A valuable and provocative revision.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1978
Publisher: Oxford Univ. Press