Fantastic lives: autobiographical essays by notable science fiction writers

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Southern Illinois University Press, Jan 1, 1981 - Biography & Autobiography - 215 pages

Personal, often controversial, glimpses of the real world of sci­ence fiction by some of its most prominent citizens.


The book presents a rare opportunity for the reader of sci­ence fiction to share in the creative process with nine highly original and creative writers: Philip José Farmer emphasizes his tripartite nature to bring us to the realization that “The human species is a web of flesh spun by some vast spider. The shaking of the web in a distant time and a distant place trembles us”; Harlan Ellison writes on perhaps his most controversial story, “I Have no Mouth, and I Must Scream”; R. A. Lafferty provides his unique version of the history and meaning of modern science fiction; Katharine MacLean takes us on a wondrous tour of her early life, sharing the impact of science fiction on the mind of a young girl; Barry N. Malzberg combines previously published writings and original material in a piquant discussion of his career; Mack Reynolds discusses his work, his social and politi­cal philosophy, and growing up as the son of radical parents; Norman Spinrad describes how commercial factors impinge upon publication decisions and his own experiences in the mar­ketplace; Margaret St. Clair relates her career in science fiction and her mixed feelings about science fiction and its place in American society; A. E. van Vogt extends a look at the ideas that have fascinated him, obsessed him, and for many years pre­vented him from writing science fiction.


All of these authors have been on the cutting edge of change in the field, and each of them has sought to move science fiction beyond its pulp origins.

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Philip Jose Farmer
The Case of the Motheaten Magician
The Expanding Mind

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About the author (1981)

Martin H. Greenberg is Associate Professor of Political Sci­ence at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, and the Coedi­tor of the Writers of the Twenty-First Century Series.

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