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One of the strangest pieces of criticism on Robert E. Howard was an essay called “Broadswords and Cardboard Barbarians” by Gary Hoppenstand from a small press publication called Starwind (Spring 1976). Gary Hoppenstand edited the small press magazine, Midnight Sun in the middle 1970s. Hoppenstand published Karl Edward Wagner in Midnight Sun within the first […]

“Campbell saw man as a tool-making animal.”-Brian W. Aldiss Brian W. Aldiss (born 1925) edited some of my favorite science fiction anthologies. I have read a little bit of Aldiss’ fiction but not much. I do respect the guy because he was in the British Army in Burma in World War 2 in Gen. William’s […]

Sam J. Lundwall’s (born 1941) Science Fiction: What It’s All About was an Ace paperback from 1971. Lundwall is a native of Sweden who had a few novels published in the U.S. by Donald Wollheim first at Ace and then at D.A.W. The book is presented as a sort of beginner’s guide of getting some […]

For the past few weeks, I have highlighted opinions masquerading as criticism that are at best highly suspect from the view of 2017. One history of science fiction and fantastic fiction in general that is a joy to read is Lester del Rey’s The World of Science Fiction (Del Rey, 1979). Lester del Rey (born […]

Harry Harrison (1925-2012, born Henry Maxwell Dempsey) started out in illustration in 1946. He started selling fiction in 1950. He had been an editor for brief stints for some science fiction magazines. He is possibly best remembered for the “Stainless Steel Rat” with a criminal turned lawman series. The entry on Harrison in John Clute’s […]

L. Sprague de Camp (1907-2000) was another writer who went from writing fiction to book reviews, non-fiction articles and books, and biographies. If you look at his bibliography, non-fiction essays appear to outnumber the number of fictional stories he wrote. De Camp was part of the Campbellian revolution in the pages of Astounding Stories/Science Fiction […]

In early science fiction criticism, James Blish (1921-1975) is generally ranked right behind Damon Knight as one of the pioneers. Blish was part of the left wing leaning “Futurians,” a group of New York based science fiction fans in the late 1930s, though Blish was apolitical or possibly right wing. He broke into science fiction […]

Damon Knight (1922-2002) was a major editor/anthologist and somewhat mid-ranking writer of science fiction from the 1950s to the 1980s. He edited the hybrid science fiction-fantasy digest magazine Worlds Beyond. He is also often viewed as the first real professional critic within science fiction. From 1950 to 1960, Damon Knight seemed to be everywhere reviewing […]

Isaac Asimov was not a fan of action fiction. He had this to say about sword and sorcery fiction in an editorial for Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine: “I imagine that almost any male would at least occasionally wish he had biceps as hard as chrome steel and could wield a fifty pound sword as […]

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