The Seven Beauties of Science Fiction


Istvan Csicsery-Ronay Jr. - 2008
    However much science fiction texts vary in artistic quality and intellectual sophistication, they share in a mass social energy and a desire to imagine a collective future for the human species and the world. At this moment, a strikingly high proportion of films, commercial art, popular music, video and computer games, and non-genre fiction have become what Csicsery-Ronay calls science fictional, stimulating science-fictional habits of mind. We no longer treat science fiction as merely a genre-engine producing formulaic effects, but as a mode of awareness, which frames experiences as if they were aspects of science fiction. The Seven Beauties of Science Fiction describes science fiction as a constellation of seven diverse cognitive attractions that are particularly formative of science-fictionality. These are the "seven beauties" of the title: fictive neology, fictive novums, future history, imaginary science, the science-fictional sublime, the science-fictional grotesque, and the Technologiade, or the epic of technsocience's development into a global regime.

The Kingdom of Shivas Irons


Michael Murphy - 1997
    Michael Murphy's Golf in the Kingdom is one of the bestselling golf books of all time and has been hailed as "a golf classic if any exists in our day" (John Updike) and "a masterpiece on the mysticism of golf" (San Francisco Chronicle).  Golf in the Kingdom introduced Shivas Irons, the mysterious golf pro and philosopher with whom Murphy played a mythic round of golf on Scotland's Burningbush links, a round that profoundly altered his game--and his vision.The Kingdom of Shivas Irons is the enchanting story of Murphy's return to Scotland in search of Shivas Irons and his wisdom about golf and human potential.  Murphy's quest takes him from the mystical golf courses of Scotland, across the world to the first Russian Open Golf Championship, and finally to Pebble Beach on the California Coast.  The result is a delightful exploration of the inner game of golf and a provocative inquiry into our remarkable possibilities for growth and transformation.

A Life of Philip K Dick: The Man Who Remembered the Future


Anthony Peake - 2013
    Dick was a hugely influential writer who drew upon his own life to address the nature of drug abuse, paranoia, schizophrenia, and transcendental experiences of all kinds. He was a prolific author and many of his books were turned into popular films such as Blade Runner, A Scanner Darkly, Total Recall, and Minority Report. This book has been written with the cooperation of several close acquaintances and looks to examine his work as well as the socio-political-cultural environment in which he lived. It will be of great interest to any fan of Philip K. Dick or science fiction in general, as well as anyone who grew up the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.

What If Our World is Their Heaven?: The Final Conversations


Gwen Lee - 1982
    Dick is unparalleled. His novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" became the classic science-fiction film "Blade Runner". His short story, "The Minority Report," was recently adapted for the screen by Stephen Spielberg and stars Tom Cruise. Dick's appeal and influence has reached the world over, creating the standard for the literary science fiction novel.In November 1982, six months before the author's death, journalist Gwen Lee recorded the first of several in-depth discussions with Philip K. Dick that continued over the course over the next three months. These extraordinary interviews are filled with the wit and aplomb characteristic of Dick's writing, helping make "What If Our World Is Their Heaven? The Final Conversations of Philip K. Dick" not only an engaging read, but a unique and compelling historical document of once (sic) of science fictions most innovative and visionary minds. It's a must read for anyone interested in the field of science fiction.

The Feel Of Steel


Helen Garner - 2007
    What – me, in a big white dress? In a veil? The closest I ever got to the fantasy was back in the eighties, when I used to admire the white gypsophila crowns that Susan Renouf wore to parties: I drew a curious satisfaction from their ethereal, circular, brow-pressing beauty. Twenty years later all that's left is the frisson I get from the coronet shape that salad leaves briefly take when I tip them out of the whizzer on to a tea towel."Cities, friends, lost loves, Antarctica, the joy of being a grandmother, weddings, fencing... Such is the array of subjects in Helen Garner's second non-fiction collection. Some pieces were published in The Age, some are previously unpublished, but woven together they present as an evocative memoir, and offer a wonderfully personal portrait of an always unconventional talent.In word-perfect and often hilarious prose, Helen Garner reminds us of the human condition, in all its various guises.

The Crazy Years


Spider Robinson - 2004
    Written by Spider Robinson, 'The Crazy Years' takes its name from Robert A Heinlein's designation of the last years of the 20th century and contains essays from Robinson's tenure as op-ed columnist for 'The Globe and Mail' and from 'Galaxy Online'. Environmentalists that place the survival of earth before the survival of humanity, the idiocy of computer designs, and the downsides of the Internet are among the subjects Robinson uses to take the world to task.

My Unwritten Books


George Steiner - 2007
    Massively erudite, the essays are also brave, unflinching, and wholly personal. In this fiercely original and audacious work, George Steiner tells of seven books which he did not write. Because intimacies and indiscretions were too threatening. Because the topic brought too much pain. Because its emotional or intellectual challenge proved beyond his capacities. The actual themes range widely and defy conventional taboos: the torment of the gifted when they live among--when they confront--the very great; the experience of sex in different languages; a love for animals greater than for human beings; the costly privilege of exile; a theology of emptiness. Yet a unifying perception underlies this diversity. The best we have or can produce is only the tip of the iceberg. Behind every good book, as in a lit shadow, lies the book which remained unwritten, the one that would have failed better.

The Good Story: Exchanges on Truth, Fiction and Psychotherapy


J.M. Coetzee - 2015
    Coetzee: What relationship do I have with my life history? Am I its conscious author, or should I think of myself as simply a voice uttering with as little interference as possible a stream of words welling up from my interior?Arabella Kurtz: One way of thinking about psychoanalysis is to say that it is aimed at setting free the narrative or autobiographical imagination. The Good Story is a fascinating dialogue about psychotherapy and the art of storytelling between a writer with a long-standing interest in moral psychology and a psychotherapist with training in literary studies. Coetzee and Kurtz consider psychotherapy and its wider social context from different perspectives, but at the heart of both of their approaches is a concern with narrative. Working alone, the writer is in control of the story he or she tells. The therapist, on the other hand, collaborates with the patient in developing an account of the patient's life and identity that is both meaningful and true.In a meeting of minds that is illuminating and thought-provoking, the authors discuss both individual psychology and the psychology of the group: the school classroom, gangs and the settler nation, in which the brutal deeds of ancestors are accommodated into a national story. Drawing on great writers like Cervantes and Dostoevsky and psychoanalysts like Freud and Melanie Klein, Coetzee and Kurtz explore the human capacity for self-examination, our wish to tell our own life stories and the resistances we encounter along the way.

It All Adds Up: From the Dim Past to the Uncertain Future


Saul Bellow - 1994
    Now the man himself and a lifetime of his insightful views on a range of topics spring off the page in this, his first nonfiction collection, which encompasses articles, lectures, essays, travel pieces, and an "Autobiography of Ideas." It All Adds Up is a fascinating journey through literary America over the last forty years, guided by one of the "most gifted chroniclers in the Western World" (The London Times).

Ludwig Wittgenstein: A Memoir


Norman Malcolm - 1958
    His friend Norman Malcolm (himself an eminent philosopher) wrote this remarkably vivid personal memoir of Wittgenstein--first published in 1958 to wide acclaim for its moving and truthful portrait of the gifted yet difficult man. And, although much has been published about Wittgenstein since his death, nothing brings us closer to the philosopher himself than this modest classic. Now in a new edition, it includes the complete text of the fifty-seven letters that Wittgenstein wrote to Malcolm over a period of eleven years, revealing how friendship deeply mattered to Wittgenstein: he advises, warns, jokes, and is grateful and affectionate. The volume also features a concise biographical sketch by Georg Henrik von Wright, another leading philosopher and friend of Wittgenstein.

Spark Your Dream: A True Life Story Where Dreams Are Fulfilled and We Are Inspired to Conquer Ours


Candelaria Zapp - 2005
    Through this incredible journey the reader will live the risk, the sensation of freedom, the passion, the pain of a death, the birth of a son, frustration, life, and succes. And surely, upon getting to the destination you won't like to stop, but you will have to do like Herman and Cande did upon arrival in Alaska. And you'll get there moved to tears and jump with them celebrating, knowing that dreams are possible if one day you begin.

Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction


Alec Nevala-Lee - 2018
    . . . A remarkable work of literary history." — Robert Silverberg"Science fiction has been awaiting this history/biography for more than half a century. . . . Here it is. This is the most important historical and critical work my field has ever seen. Alec Nevala-Lee’s superb scholarship and insight have made the seemingly impossible a radiant and irreplaceable gift."—Barry N. Malzberg, author of Beyond ApolloAstounding is the landmark account of the extraordinary partnership between four controversial writers—John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, and L. Ron Hubbard—who set off a revolution in science fiction and forever changed our world. This remarkable cultural narrative centers on the figure of John W. Campbell, Jr., whom Asimov called “the most powerful force in science fiction ever.” Campbell, who has never been the subject of a biography until now, was both a visionary author—he wrote the story that was later filmed as The Thing—and the editor of the groundbreaking magazine best known as Astounding Science Fiction, in which he discovered countless legendary writers and published classic works ranging from the I, Robot series to Dune. Over a period of more than thirty years, from the rise of the pulps to the debut of Star Trek, he dominated the genre, and his three closest collaborators reached unimaginable heights. Asimov became the most prolific author in American history; Heinlein emerged as the leading science fiction writer of his generation with the novels Starship Troopers and Stranger in a Strange Land; and Hubbard achieved lasting fame—and infamy—as the founder of the Church of Scientology. Drawing on unexplored archives, thousands of unpublished letters, and dozens of interviews, Alec Nevala-Lee offers a riveting portrait of this circle of authors, their work, and their tumultuous private lives. With unprecedented scope, drama, and detail, Astounding describes how fan culture was born in the depths of the Great Depression; follows these four friends and rivals through World War II and the dawn of the atomic era; and honors such exceptional women as Doña Campbell and Leslyn Heinlein, whose pivotal roles in the history of the genre have gone largely unacknowledged. For the first time, it reveals the startling extent of Campbell’s influence on the ideas that evolved into Scientology, which prompted Asimov to observe: “I knew Campbell and I knew Hubbard, and no movement can have two Messiahs.” It looks unsparingly at the tragic final act that estranged the others from Campbell, bringing the golden age of science fiction to a close, and it illuminates how their complicated legacy continues to shape the imaginations of millions and our vision of the future itself.

Creationists: Selected Essays: 1993-2006


E.L. Doctorow - 2006
    L. Doctorow is acclaimed internationally for such novels as "Ragtime, Billy Bathgate, " and "The March." Now here are Doctorow's rich, revelatory essays on the nature of imaginative thought. In "Creationists," Doctorow considers creativity in its many forms: from the literary (Melville and Mark Twain) to the comic (Harpo Marx) to the cosmic (Genesis and Einstein). As he wrestles with the subjects that have teased and fired his own imagination, Doctorow affirms the idea that "we know by what we create." Just what is Melville doing in "Moby-Dick"? And how did "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" impel Mark Twain to radically rewrite what we know as "Huckleberry Finn"? Can we ever trust what novelists say about their own work? How could Franz Kafka have written a book called Amerika without ever leaving Europe? In posing such questions, Doctorow grapples with literary creation not as a critic or as a scholar-but as one working writer frankly contemplating the work of another. It's a perspective that affords him both protean grace and profound insight. Among the essays collected here are Doctorow's musings on the very different Spanish Civil War novels of Ernest Hemingway and Andre Malraux; a candid assessment of Edgar Allan Poe as our "greatest bad writer"; a bracing analysis of the story of Genesis in which God figures as the most complex and riveting character. Whether he is considering how Harpo Marx opened our eyes to surrealism, the haunting photos with which the late German writer W. G. Sebald illustrated his texts, or the innovations of such literary icons as Heinrich von Kleist, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Sinclair Lewis, Doctorow is unfailingly generous, shrewd, attentive, surprising, and precise.In examining the creative works of different times and disciplines, Doctorow also reveals the source and nature of his own artistry. Rich in aphorism and anecdote, steeped in history and psychology, informed by a lifetime of reading and writing, "Creationists" opens a magnificent window into one of the great creative minds of our time.

The Haunting of Sylvia Plath


Jacqueline Rose - 1991
    Jacqueline Rose stands back from the debates and looks instead at the swirl of controversy, recognizing it as a phenomenon in itself--one with much to tell us about how a culture selects and judges writers; how we hear women's voices; and how we receive messages from, to, and about our unconscious selves.

Please Don't Take My Sisters (A Maggie Hartley Foster Carer Story)


Maggie Hartley - 2019
    Maggie welcomes the three children into her home, and is touched by the gentle care Leo shows to the two little girls. It is clear that Lexie and Amelie adore their big brother, and rely on him for comfort and reassurance. But Leo has experienced the neglect and abuse of his mother and her partner for far longer than his sisters, and is struggling with an eating disorder and showing signs of OCD.When Social Services begin to look at adoptive families for the children, Maggie is horrified when they suggest that the two angelic little girls will have a much better chance of being adopted without their damaged older brother. Knowing the impact that losing his sisters forever will have on vulnerable Leo, they face the ultimate dilemma. Should the children stay together and dash the hope of them ever having a forever family? Or do they sacrifice the close bond between the siblings to give the girls a chance to be adopted?