An intelligent survey of the contribution early American writers have made to this particular genre, this covers the earliest practioners Hawthorne and Poe and gives a complete dissection- theme, motive, the relationship of the story to what was then scientific fact or speculation and to our subsequent scientific theory. Mr. Franklin carefully points out that although Poe is generally accepted as ""the father of science fiction,"" he was somewhat of a plagiarist and his work may have less lasting influence in toto than Hawthorne's more serious attempts in this direction. He discusses Melville and automation; includes Frederic Jessup Stimson's Dr. Materialismus, the first story that posed the question--What is the difference between man and machine? along with the representative work of Ambrose Bierce, Edward Bellamy, Fitz-James O'Brien and Mark Twain. Each story has accompanying comment or analysis. This is a valuable reference work, and should prove a good supplement to the wider scope of Sam Moskowitz's Explorers of the Infinite. (1963 p. 427).