- File Size: 1796 KB
- Print Length: 369 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Castalia House (May 3, 2014)
- Publication Date: May 3, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00K4D7LO6
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #234,458 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth Kindle Edition
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If you have never understood the attraction that science fiction has for so many of us, Mr. Wright’s essays might just explain it to you. If you are already a fan, you'll love his analysis of the genre, its various voices and visions for various tomorrows. While it was pretty heady in places, the writing was never dense and certainly never dull. Quite the contrary, it was laugh-out-loud funny in many places. My favorite case in point would be the essay, “The Desolation of Tolkien.” It is Mr. Wright’s eviscerating critique of the second Hobbit movie and in reading it I finally found the peace which that cinematic act of vandalism robbed from me. I laughed so hard reading his review of the film that every shadow that malignantly mangled movie had darkened my soul with was exorcised from me forever.
I am much obliged, sir!
Beyond the laughs, there runs through these essays a very serious examination of our present and very real world and the equally real forces struggling for dominion over its soul. As it turns out those very same forces are struggling for the soul of science fiction. And why not, seeing as sci-fi is a microcosm of our world, a shared world of mythology in the making where we trade stories about who we think we might be and where we might be heading. Control of these stories and their telling, determining what they may and may not contain and even who may and may not tell them will go a long way to shaping our civilization or even ending it.
Mr. Wright gives us an Eagles of Manwe-eye view of the battlefield and the forces arrayed on it, his descriptions delivered through the delightfully adroit juggling of Snow White and Aristotle, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Gender Theory, transhumanism, the Gnosticism of Arthur C Clarke, the hedonism and patriotism of Robert Heinlein, the historicism of Isaac Asimov, Ayn Rand’s Objectivism, this-ism and that-ism and the glorious Catholicism which answers them all.
Mr. Wright’s love of the genre is evident on every page of the book and you might just find it to be contagious. I heartily recommend it!
I read this because it was on the 2015 Hugo list, and the Hugo nominations were really my first exposure to large quantities of Wright (I ordered the collection after loving the essay on mechanics of fiction). Some of the novellas were not as good as others, but all are decent and worth reading. This collection is not novellas but essays (hence nominated in the "Best-Related Work" category) about Sci-Fi, what undergirds it, the craft of storytelling (in particular relating to Sci-Fi), and ethics in Sci-Fi. This is meaty stuff, and I highly recommend it for the reader who wants a serious discussion about the craft of Sci-Fi. If you just want popcorn entertainment, read something else.
The best essay was “John C. Wright’s Patented One-Session Lesson in the Mechanics of Fictions”. I loved that essay, and wished that his example story was made into a novel. Loved the discussion of craft, and the difference of a sci-fi reader from a muggle. While not academic, I would suggest this essay is a sister or companion essay to Tolkien’s On Fairy Stories.
BUY. THIS. BOOK.
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