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Anatomy of Wonder: A Critical Guide to Science Fiction Paperback – January 30, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-0835236843 ISBN-10: 0835236846 Edition: 4th

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--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 938 pages
  • Publisher: R. R. Bowker; 4th edition (January 30, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0835236846
  • ISBN-13: 978-0835236843
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,314,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

An update of a book widely considered to be one of the bibles of scholarship on the genre. It offers an overview of the English-language science-fiction field for a wide audience, including casual readers, devoted fans, librarians, teachers, and scholars. The volume is divided into three parts: a history of science fiction; a critical examination of 1400 novels, single-author collections, and multiple-author anthologies; and a survey of the secondary literature such as film and illustration. Each annotation in the bibliography includes cross-references to similar works and a listing of relevant themes. The contributors include scholars, professors, and critics; their writing styles differ greatly, adding to the volume's appeal. The final chapter, Listings, consists of the best books chosen by the contributors, major awards, important series, young adult books, translations, and organizations. There are indexes for titles, authors, and themes. There have been many changes made since the fourth edition: young adult books have been integrated with the adult books in the annotated bibliography section, Web sites and author e-mail addresses have been added, and the comics section and poetry have been dropped. The third edition was the last to have an extensive listing of science fiction in 13 languages, so libraries that still have it may want to keep it even if they plan to update. This is a book that belongs in every public library. Those with a large science fiction readership might want to consider pairing it with Barron's What Fantastic Fiction Do I Read Next? (Gale, 1997), which is more of a reader's advisory than a collection-development tool.–Michele Capozzella, Chappaqua Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"Neil Barron's Anatomy of Wonder is one of the small number of reference books which are truly essential to scholars starting out investigating science fiction... This is a book which anyone engaged in the study or teaching of sf will need to consult regularly, and will expect to find in their libraries... [I]t will make their lives so much easier."-Foundation --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 21, 1998
Format: Paperback
The 4th edition adds more than 700 titles and now critically annotates more than 3,000 adult and young adult books, with thorough coverage of related nonfiction--reference, history & criticism, author studies, film/TV, illustration & comics, significant library collections. Author, title & theme indexes, along with lists of best books, award winners, series, etc. Designed for anyone from novice to veteran wanting to identify the best, better or historically important works of SF and related nonfiction. Hugo nominee.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on May 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Neil Barron's authoritative reference Anatomy Of Wonder: A Critical Guide To Science Fiction has seen five incarnations now: each one weightier, more all-encompassing, and more packed with genre history and reviews than the last. Here are critical discussions of over 1,400 science fiction novels, short story anthologies and collections, with surveys of accompanying film and illustration supporting categories to print, and chapters on teaching science fiction and building a science fiction library collection. Annotated bibliographies are the heart of Anatomy Of Wonder, but the added sections covering history, criticism, film and radio productions, the author studies, and the section on science fiction illustration should not be missed and add a lot to the original concept of a set of critical, authoritative synopses of the genre's best. A top pick any serious science fiction collection should include.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By James J. Bloom on April 8, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you need to research an area of science fiction, or its related fields (the guide's range is pretty eclectic) this is a wonderful starting place. I prefer to browze through it and read the summaries of neglected titles. There are plenty of topical, personal, author, etc. indices and sections on film, criticism, Sci fi for young people -- a treasure trove. I always find something new and intriguing. Browsing this weighty volume leads me back to for more compulsive book buying
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