REFLECTIONS AND REFRACTIONS

THOUGHTS ON SCIENCE FICTION, SCIENCE, AND OTHER MATTERS

A collection of magazine columns by a leading science fiction writer. The prolific Silverberg (Starborne, 1996, etc.) can trace his career as a columnist back to his days as a fanzine writer and editor. More recently, he has been the columnist—the keynote speaker, as it were—for such science fiction magazines as Galileo and Amazing Stories. This volume collects the cream of the crop; predictably, many of his columns address science fiction from the point of view of a longtime professional writer. Silverberg's critical comments focus on such matters as the unfortunate dumbing-down of the genre in the wake of Star Wars and Star Trek, which brought in huge numbers of new readers who cared more about slam-bang action than about the play of ideas characteristic of the best science fiction. While there was of course plenty of action-oriented science fiction in the pulp era, Silverberg believes that current publishers have aggressively promoted mindless work at the expense of more thoughtful fiction. Meanwhile, the audience for quality science fiction inevitably grows older, as few newer readers are attracted to today's bland, predictable offerings. Similar concerns mark his columns on genetic engineering and other controversial scientific advances to which the public has responded with what Silverberg sees as baseless and ill-informed hysteria. Silverberg is a perceptive critic and an appreciative reader, and his essays on fellow writers, including Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Phillip Dick, Harlan Ellison, and Jack Vance, offer excellent insights into their work. Perhaps the major shortcoming of these essays is a stylistic flatness; for all his experience, Silverberg lacks the popular touch and unpredictable wit that made Asimov's many magazine columns so delightful. Sophisticated, well-expressed, and often controversial, these essays are more for Silverberg's longtime fans than for new readers.

Pub Date: April 1, 1997

ISBN: 1-887424-24-5

Page Count: 450

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1997

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Did you like this book?

IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more