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February 20 , 2009

Xeno Fiction: More Best of Science Fiction

A Review of Speculative Fiction


Science fiction loves strangeness. It relishes oddities, even when it piles on fear and dystopian loathing. The technical term for a fascination with the strange and alien is xenophilia, just as the term for a terror of the strange is xenophobia. At its core, then, science fiction is...Xeno Fiction. So science fiction seeks out the strange, roams far from home in space and time, looks with avid eagerness upon the ways of the Others, human or alien. It participates, in brilliantly lighted imagination, in their strange lives. In this second gathering from Van Ikin's critical journal, Science Fiction: A Review of Speculative Literature, writers of the alien are investigated with wit and insight. G. Travis Regier follows the Other into its own home, accompanying those experts in the alien, C. J. Cherry and Samuel R. Delany. In the book's long key essay, Terry Dowling pursues the Art of Xenography as exemplified by Jack Vance's "General Culture" novels. Three expert commentators look into Booker Prize-winner Peter Carey's postcolonial and postmodern frolics into alternative realities. And the Xeno fictions of Isaac Asimov, Greg Egan, Mary Gentle, Ursula K. Le Guin, Naomi Mitchison, Neal Stephenson, and Stanley Weinbaum are read as their road maps into the strange. Eleven revealing essays on speculative fiction by some of the best critics in the field.
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