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Out of This World. Science Fiction: but not as you know it.

Out of This World. Science Fiction: but not as you know it. Mike Ashley. The British Library. [pounds sterling] 16.95 p.b. 144 pages. ISBN 978-0-7123-5835-4. As the author says in his introduction, science fiction is 'arguably the most popular of all fields of fiction1 whether it be television, the cinema, computer games or the written word. This book's aim is Mo demonstrate the scope of science fiction' which is 'the literature of "otherness'". Mr Ashley has therefore divided this vast literary field into six categories: alien worlds (outer space); time and parallel worlds; virtual worlds; future worlds; the end of the world; and, finally, the perfect world (Utopias). The author is keen to show that the horrors so frequently associated with science fiction are traceable to the genre's prime characteristic, its 'speculation about the impact of science, technology and socio-political change' as envisioned by the author on mankind. He is also keen to show the long pedigree of science fiction and its universality. Finally he has also provided a chronology and useful list of further reading and useful websites. This is a good guide to a field of literary endeavour which deserves to be taken more seriously than is up usually the case. (T.A.L.)

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Publication:Contemporary Review
Article Type:Book review
Date:Dec 1, 2011
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