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The Science of Science Fiction Writing Paperback – October 31, 2000
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A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at beyond the speed of light. The beacons are built to be robust. They never fail. At least, they aren't supposed to. Learn more
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This pragmatic overview covers virtually every important aspect of writing science fiction. A valuable tool for aspiring SF authors, and a treat for fans with an appreciation for literary history and theory. (Kirkus Reviews)
Practical advice for anyone who aspires to write popular fiction, this clear-sighted guide is a must. (Publishers Weekly)
James Gunn (born 1923) is certainly a vastly experienced sf writer..he is also a well-known anthologist, so his advice here may be sager tan that to be found in most books of this type. (Interzone)
...he [Gunn] clearly and comprehensively explains distinctive characteristics of SF...any wannabe writer could learn a lot from this readable and well-organized guide... (Sfra Review)
The Science of Science-Fiction Writing is a course packet for a writing course in sf, except that it is bound, cheaper than most course packets, far better proofread, scrupulous in observing copyright ― and it is by James Gunn...Gunn's advice is classical, conservative, sensible, stressing character and emotional appeal...He pushes writers toward disciplined service to their audience...he should be learned from, and, if one can't go to one of his workshops, The Science of Science Fiction Writing is a fine place to study what he has to teach. (Science Fiction Studies)
...the number one reason to pick up The Science of Science-Fiction Writing is a most invaluable section that one wonders why more books on writing haven't included something similiar: an outline of all the advice Gunn gave during a workshop in 1998 ― likely, if a writer subjected his story to the rigorous distillations here, his story would sell somewhere...It introduces and offers morsels of advice that won't be found elsewhere...you could benefit from the sagacity of Gunn's sixty-plus years of experience. (Trent Walters Sf Site)
Gunn takes the reader through a careful process of writing SF...The book is very well organized...anyone with an interest in writing SF will find this book of considerable value as Gunn shares his exceptional insight into the world of SF writing. (Extrapolation)
Science fiction has often been criticized, especially in its early days, for an alleged tendency to neglect characterization and character development. There has been some basis in truth for this, though anyone who thinks is has always been true or always an intrinsic fault should read the chapter on characters... (Stanley Schmidt)
The best introduction in print not only to writing but also to reading science fiction....All SF teachers, indeed any teacher of literature, will benefit from the chapters devoted to the reasons people read fiction, the anatomy of the short story, and the creation of believable characters. Gunn blends his expertise as both teacher and writer to fashion a work of value to any teacher or reader of science fiction. (Anatomy of Wonder, 5th Edition)
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a wonderful exception, one of only two books I consistently recommend (the other is Orson Scott Card's CHARACTERS AND VIEWPOINT). I have been assisting at Gunn's summer workshop at the University of Kansas for years now, mostly because I think he's one of the best writers -- and teachers -- in the genre. Now he's put the wisdom of his decades in the field into a book which I think can be useful to every writer, regardless of experience.
I really cannot recommend this highly enough.
The title is misleading, though probably not intentionally so. I was hoping for something more targeted toward, well, science. For example, I would have liked something about FTL travel (pro or con, possible workarounds, etc.), climatology, or any of a dozen other scientific topics of relevance to science fiction. With one whole chapter about fiction in general, and several other chapters about prominent science fiction authors, there really wasn't very much of the book that could justifiably be said to relate to the science of science fiction writing, even when you put the emphasis on the word WRITING. A better title might have been "Miscellaneous Essays on Fiction, Science Fiction, and Famous SciFi Authors."
That is not to say it was worthless. Some of the information was useful and relevant, and the book overall was very well written. There were probably a total of 20 pages that, for me, made the book almost worth the price of admission. I just felt a little cheated by the feeling that this was recycled content without much effort expended to make it a cohesive or focused.
Nearly half of the book was long-winded bios of SF authors which were sometimes interesting, but mostly not - and suggested nothing to improve writing. There were a few good tidbits, but they were few and far between.
Do not buy. Get Damon Kight's book instead - Creating Short Fiction. Much more practical and interesting.
Be that as it may - the aspiring writer will find much of value within these pages.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was priced very reasonably and delivery was prompt. I really enjoyed this book as it was very useful in my research and will be sitting in the reference section for years... Read morePublished on December 21, 2013 by crasin
This is an excellent book written by a legend in the business. If you want an in-depth resource of Science Fiction writing tips and history, look no further. Read morePublished on March 21, 2009 by Alycia C. Cooke
This book a compilation of James Gunn's writings about writing science fiction. There are articles about the craft, the history of science fiction, and about the work of some... Read morePublished on September 15, 2005 by Amazon Customer