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Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950 to 1985

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Much has been written about the “long Sixties,” the era of the late 1950s through the early 1970s. It was a period of major social change, most graphically illustrated by the emergence of liberatory and resistance movements focused on inequalities of class, race, gender, sexuality, and beyond, whose challenge represented a major shock to the political and social status quo Much has been written about the “long Sixties,” the era of the late 1950s through the early 1970s. It was a period of major social change, most graphically illustrated by the emergence of liberatory and resistance movements focused on inequalities of class, race, gender, sexuality, and beyond, whose challenge represented a major shock to the political and social status quo. With its focus on speculation, alternate worlds and the future, science fiction became an ideal vessel for this upsurge of radical protest. Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950 to 1985 details, celebrates, and evaluates how science fiction novels and authors depicted, interacted with, and were inspired by these cultural and political movements in America and Great Britain. It starts with progressive authors who rose to prominence in the conservative 1950s, challenging the so-called Golden Age of science fiction and its linear narratives of technological breakthroughs and space-conquering male heroes. The book then moves through the 1960s, when writers, including those in what has been termed the New Wave, shattered existing writing conventions and incorporated contemporary themes such as modern mass media culture, corporate control, growing state surveillance, the Vietnam War, and rising currents of counterculture, ecological awareness, feminism, sexual liberation, and Black Power. The 1970s, when the genre reflected the end of various dreams of the long Sixties and the faltering of the postwar boom, is also explored along with the first half of the 1980s, which gave rise to new subgenres, such as cyberpunk. Dangerous Visions and New Worlds contains over twenty chapters written by contemporary authors and critics, and hundreds of full-color cover images, including thirteen thematically organised cover selections. New perspectives on key novels and authors, such as Octavia Butler, Ursula K. Le Guin, Philip K. Dick, John Wyndham, Samuel Delany, J.G. Ballard, John Brunner, Judith Merril, Barry Malzberg, Johanna Russ, and many others are presented alongside excavations of topics, works, and writers who have been largely forgotten or undeservedly ignored.


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Much has been written about the “long Sixties,” the era of the late 1950s through the early 1970s. It was a period of major social change, most graphically illustrated by the emergence of liberatory and resistance movements focused on inequalities of class, race, gender, sexuality, and beyond, whose challenge represented a major shock to the political and social status quo Much has been written about the “long Sixties,” the era of the late 1950s through the early 1970s. It was a period of major social change, most graphically illustrated by the emergence of liberatory and resistance movements focused on inequalities of class, race, gender, sexuality, and beyond, whose challenge represented a major shock to the political and social status quo. With its focus on speculation, alternate worlds and the future, science fiction became an ideal vessel for this upsurge of radical protest. Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950 to 1985 details, celebrates, and evaluates how science fiction novels and authors depicted, interacted with, and were inspired by these cultural and political movements in America and Great Britain. It starts with progressive authors who rose to prominence in the conservative 1950s, challenging the so-called Golden Age of science fiction and its linear narratives of technological breakthroughs and space-conquering male heroes. The book then moves through the 1960s, when writers, including those in what has been termed the New Wave, shattered existing writing conventions and incorporated contemporary themes such as modern mass media culture, corporate control, growing state surveillance, the Vietnam War, and rising currents of counterculture, ecological awareness, feminism, sexual liberation, and Black Power. The 1970s, when the genre reflected the end of various dreams of the long Sixties and the faltering of the postwar boom, is also explored along with the first half of the 1980s, which gave rise to new subgenres, such as cyberpunk. Dangerous Visions and New Worlds contains over twenty chapters written by contemporary authors and critics, and hundreds of full-color cover images, including thirteen thematically organised cover selections. New perspectives on key novels and authors, such as Octavia Butler, Ursula K. Le Guin, Philip K. Dick, John Wyndham, Samuel Delany, J.G. Ballard, John Brunner, Judith Merril, Barry Malzberg, Johanna Russ, and many others are presented alongside excavations of topics, works, and writers who have been largely forgotten or undeservedly ignored.

47 review for Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950 to 1985

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dan Trefethen

    This is a peculiar book. After a serviceable overview of science fiction in the 1950s and 60s, it dives into separate themed chapters written by different people. This results in some people covering the same ground as others (especially in regards to Michael Moorcock and the magazine 'New Worlds'), but especially some questionable choices on what to focus on. There are two chapters on different obscure books extolling race revolution in America. While this relates to racial tensions of the time, This is a peculiar book. After a serviceable overview of science fiction in the 1950s and 60s, it dives into separate themed chapters written by different people. This results in some people covering the same ground as others (especially in regards to Michael Moorcock and the magazine 'New Worlds'), but especially some questionable choices on what to focus on. There are two chapters on different obscure books extolling race revolution in America. While this relates to racial tensions of the time, these books seemed to have admittedly no impact on the genre. All I can tell is that the authors wanted to raise the level of awareness of these books sixty years later. There are some good chapters on important Black writers Samuel Delany and Octavia Butler, however. While there were rapid changes in sexual mores during that time, a chapter focusing on pornographic books that had a thin veneer of science fiction seems out of place. Again, these books didn't have a huge impact on the field except where written by SF authors (such as Philip Jose Farmer) who were widely read anyhow. A chaper on Roger Zelazny focuses on his post-apocalyptic road trip novel 'Damnation Alley', its media treatments and its influence on other writers, while ignoring the impact of Zelazny's other writings. All in all, a curious and unbalanced selection of choices. Not recommended.

  2. 4 out of 5

    David Agranoff

    Let me start by saying I think this is an amazing book and anyone with an interest in the history of Science Fiction, radical fiction, or (Proto) bizarro should read this book. I like this book tons and intend to have Andrew Nettie on Dickheads. Anything critical is simply because this is a topic I feel very strongly about and most readers will not have the same nitpicks as me. As some who studies and reads books about this era constantly, I am almost too close to the subject. So, I should say I Let me start by saying I think this is an amazing book and anyone with an interest in the history of Science Fiction, radical fiction, or (Proto) bizarro should read this book. I like this book tons and intend to have Andrew Nettie on Dickheads. Anything critical is simply because this is a topic I feel very strongly about and most readers will not have the same nitpicks as me. As some who studies and reads books about this era constantly, I am almost too close to the subject. So, I should say I think this is a really valuable book for anyone interested in Science Fiction, radical fiction, and weird fiction in general. I am stoked that the book has a focus on the years 1950 to 1985. That is the sweet spot for the genre. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy some Golden age stuff and certainly, Judith Merill who is profiled here was starting to write radical fiction as early as the late 40s right out of the gate of her career. Some of the really transitional radical speculative works come from the decades of the 50s. If you asked Philip K Dick he would have told you that no one wanted anything different or mold-breaking. This book is the story of this transformation. In doing so the book has articles, profiles, and biographies of some of the radical voices. There are excellent profiles on Judith Merill, J.G. Ballard, and Octavia Butler. Perhaps the most interesting to me was the R.A. Lafferty article by Nick Mamatas that was the only author that I had never heard of before. I also enjoyed the one on Sam Delany and his commune years which gave me some added context to his classic Dhalgren. I know it would be impossible to write them all, but there is a very short piece of Malzberg, better than nothing but I would like more on him. No Harlan Ellison profile? I know he could be a prick but it seems missing. Norman Spinrad and John Brunner's cover art are all over the book, their novels get mentioned but they are two of my favorites so I am going to be disappointed. That might not be a problem for most readers. There are also lots of great essays on various topics. I found the essays on the Speculative fuckbooks and the black radical novels to be the most enlightening. The comparison between Leguin and Heinlein’s classic novels was cool. Sure there are topics I wish were a little expanded like eco-radical fiction of the era and proto Cyberpunk like John Brunner’s Shockwave Rider and John Shirley’s City Come-A-Walkin felt missing. That said I was constantly looking up books on Goodreads and adding them to my want-to-read shelves and that is a mark of a great genre history book. Some of the essays were more academic, some were more pictures with a short text. The whole book looks cool at times it has a coffee table look with all the awesome cover art, combined with all the great articles it is really a cool thing to have. The book could have been three times the length and still felt like it was touching the surface I think Nettie and McIntyre did a fantastic job. Anyone who is a student of the genre and this exciting period should check this book out!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Viola

    https://www.pmpress.org/index.php?l=p... Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950 to 1985 SKU: 9781629638836 Editors: Editors: Andrew Nette & Iain McIntyre Series: PM Press ISBN: 9781629638836 Published: 10/2021 Format: Paperback Size: 8x10 Pages: 224 Subjects: Literature: History & Criticism/Popular Culture - Much has been written about the “long Sixties,” the era of the late 1950s through the early 1970s. It was a period of major social change, most graphically illustrated by the e https://www.pmpress.org/index.php?l=p... Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950 to 1985 SKU: 9781629638836 Editors: Editors: Andrew Nette & Iain McIntyre Series: PM Press ISBN: 9781629638836 Published: 10/2021 Format: Paperback Size: 8x10 Pages: 224 Subjects: Literature: History & Criticism/Popular Culture - Much has been written about the “long Sixties,” the era of the late 1950s through the early 1970s. It was a period of major social change, most graphically illustrated by the emergence of liberatory and resistance movements focused on inequalities of class, race, gender, sexuality, and beyond, whose challenge represented a major shock to the political and social status quo. With its focus on speculation, alternate worlds and the future, science fiction became an ideal vessel for this upsurge of radical protest. Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950 to 1985 details, celebrates, and evaluates how science fiction novels and authors depicted, interacted with, and were inspired by these cultural and political movements in America and Great Britain. It starts with progressive authors who rose to prominence in the conservative 1950s, challenging the so-called Golden Age of science fiction and its linear narratives of technological breakthroughs and space-conquering male heroes. The book then moves through the 1960s, when writers, including those in what has been termed the New Wave, shattered existing writing conventions and incorporated contemporary themes such as modern mass media culture, corporate control, growing state surveillance, the Vietnam War, and rising currents of counterculture, ecological awareness, feminism, sexual liberation, and Black Power. The 1970s, when the genre reflected the end of various dreams of the long Sixties and the faltering of the postwar boom, is also explored along with the first half of the 1980s, which gave rise to new subgenres, such as cyberpunk. Dangerous Visions and New Worlds contains over twenty chapters written by contemporary authors and critics, and hundreds of full-color cover images, including thirteen thematically organised cover selections. New perspectives on key novels and authors, such as Octavia Butler, Ursula K. Le Guin, Philip K. Dick, John Wyndham, Samuel Delany, J.G. Ballard, John Brunner, Judith Merril, Barry Malzberg, Johanna Russ, and many others are presented alongside excavations of topics, works, and writers who have been largely forgotten or undeservedly ignored. Praise “Dangerous Visions and New Worlds offers a birds eye view of a period when we were most passionate—about literature, the arts and the sciences, and when we let the rockets explore the universe while we turned to explore the multiverse in terms of the human psyche. Powered by a faith that fiction—especially speculative fiction—could change the world—the New Wave allied with the Underground Press, the Left and the world of rock and roll to create a cultural explosion. This book recalls the highly individualistic writers, with often radically different approaches.” —Michael Moorcock “Critics and general readers of science fiction have been struggling to define, assess, and in some cases, dismiss the New Wave era in science fiction since its inception. This entertaining volume offers a fresh, twenty-first century reappraisal of the major New Wave SF authors along with a concise history of the movement’s significant publications. Then, additional essays diversify the discussion to include other less well-known, progressive authors, and wide-ranging historical topics, effectively placing the New Wave in a broader radical context. An excellent introduction to the ground-breaking SF of the period, and an insightful critique of its continuing impact. And having all the vintage covers in one place is very cool.” —Allan Kausch, original Lucasfilm Star Wars continuity editor, pre-production editor of The Selected Letters of Philip K. Dick, co-editor of Michael Moorcock’s London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction +++++++++++++ About the Editors Andrew Nette is a writer of fiction and nonfiction based in Melbourne, Australia. He is the coeditor of Girl Gangs, Biker Boys, and Real Cool Cats: Pulp Fiction and Youth Culture, 1950 to 1980 (2017) and Sticking it to the Man: Revolution and Counterculture in Pulp and Popular Fiction, 1956 to 1980 (2019), as well as the author of a monograph on Norman Jewison’s 1975 dystopian science fiction film Rollerball, published by the independent film and media studies publisher Auteur in 2018. His contributed reviews and nonfiction to the Los Angeles Review of Books, Sight and Sound, Australian Book Review, the British Film Institute, and Australian Centre for the Moving Image. He has written two novels, Ghost Money (2012), a crime story set in Cambodia in the mid-90s, and Gunshine State (2016), and his short fiction has appeared in numerous print and online publications. Iain McIntyre is a Melbourne-based author, musician, and community radio broadcaster who has written a variety of books on activism, history, and music. Previous publications include Sticking It to the Man: Revolution and Counterculture in Pulp and Popular Fiction, 1956 to 1980 (2019); On the Fly! Hobo Literature and Songs, 1879–1941 (2018); Girl Gangs, Biker Boys and Real Cool Cats: Pulp Fiction and Youth Culture, 1950 to 1980(2017); How to Make Trouble and Influence People: Pranks, Protest, Graffiti & Political Mischief-Making from across Australia (2013); Wild About You: The Sixties Beat Explosion in Australia and New Zealand (2010); and Tomorrow Is Today: Australia in the Psychedelic Era, 1966–70 (2006).

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michael Ritchie

    I started reading sci-fi in 1967 so this book should have been right up my alley. I've read several of the books and anthologies covered (Dangerous Visions and England Swings SF were important works in my development as an SF fan), and I still prefer the term "SF" which can refer to either science fiction or speculative fiction, though no one seems to use it anymore. But rather than being a history of the era, this is a scattershot collection of essays on aspects of "radical" Sf of the time. The I started reading sci-fi in 1967 so this book should have been right up my alley. I've read several of the books and anthologies covered (Dangerous Visions and England Swings SF were important works in my development as an SF fan), and I still prefer the term "SF" which can refer to either science fiction or speculative fiction, though no one seems to use it anymore. But rather than being a history of the era, this is a scattershot collection of essays on aspects of "radical" Sf of the time. The coverage of Octavia Butler, James Tiptree Jr., and Norman Spinrad is good; the coverage of Harlan Ellison, Michael Moorcock, Judith Merrill and Samuel Delany could use beefing up (there is a whole chapter on Delany but it focuses an autobiographical book about his time in a commune and doesn't talk as much about his SF work as it should). Errors crop up here and there: I was working in bookstores when Robert McCammon's Swan Song came out (not really of the 'radical' era)and it was most definitely not marketed as a Young Adult novel. Also, Stephen King? Really? I liked the pictorial aspect of the book--lot of full-color book covers, but otherwise strictly a library loan, not for purchasing.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Emma Goldman

    I backed this book, and it was money well invested. Although some writers of the period are omitted or only briefly mentioned, it covers in great detail the major names. In some cases, exhaustively. Others, exhaustingly. I was personally most interested in the female authors, which I have read widely, from Herland through Native Tongue to all of Le Guin's work. Even The Wanderground got a photo of its cover, from the republication by The Women's Press, although I had bought an original US copy f I backed this book, and it was money well invested. Although some writers of the period are omitted or only briefly mentioned, it covers in great detail the major names. In some cases, exhaustively. Others, exhaustingly. I was personally most interested in the female authors, which I have read widely, from Herland through Native Tongue to all of Le Guin's work. Even The Wanderground got a photo of its cover, from the republication by The Women's Press, although I had bought an original US copy from the sadly lost Silver Moon bookshop in London. The detailed piece on Woman on the Edge of Time, and on Le Guin's Dispossessed, as contrasted with Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, were very absorbing. The beautiful collection of book covers, showing the changing styles over time for the same book, are particularly valuable. All I want now is a similar treatment of fantasy books!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Alvaro Zinos-Amaro

    My full review: https://locusmag.com/2021/10/alvaro-z... My full review: https://locusmag.com/2021/10/alvaro-z...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Drew

    A “coffee table” book that has amazing photos of great SF paperbacks. But, it also includes some very insightful essays and analysis of the great era of SF known as the New Wave, an era I’ve been deeply engrossed in during the past year or so.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karen Eliot

  9. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  10. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

  11. 4 out of 5

    Allen Stenger

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tai

  13. 4 out of 5

    Chad Gayle

  14. 4 out of 5

    Martin

  15. 5 out of 5

    Austin Simpson

  16. 5 out of 5

    Andrija

  17. 4 out of 5

    Max

  18. 5 out of 5

    PM Press

  19. 5 out of 5

    Janez Steble

  20. 4 out of 5

    Will Errickson

  21. 5 out of 5

    Marcus

  22. 5 out of 5

    Adam Corvo

  23. 5 out of 5

    Amelia Mangan

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  25. 5 out of 5

    rajue

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

  27. 5 out of 5

    Richard

  28. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

  29. 5 out of 5

    Steve Walker

  30. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

  31. 4 out of 5

    Nick

  32. 5 out of 5

    Owen

  33. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

  34. 5 out of 5

    Elio

  35. 4 out of 5

    Haloperidol

  36. 5 out of 5

    Abe

  37. 4 out of 5

    Nevona Friedman

  38. 5 out of 5

    Ian Mond

  39. 4 out of 5

    Bogi Takács

  40. 4 out of 5

    R.

  41. 4 out of 5

    Perry

  42. 4 out of 5

    Leigh

  43. 5 out of 5

    smazenapikantniskeble

  44. 4 out of 5

    s d

  45. 4 out of 5

    Krzysiek (Chris)

  46. 5 out of 5

    Steve Rhodes

  47. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

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