A classic must-have for all readers and writers of science fiction!
Damon Knight effectively invented science fiction criticism. His reviews were not mere statements of his personal preferences—his skillful essays analyzed the books and told why they were good or bad, to the edification of readers, the delight of good writers, and the embarrassment of bad ones.
In this unique critical study of science fiction, Mr. Knight works on the principle that science fiction is a form of literature which needs no apologies and no special dispensations: it can and should be judged by the same high standards that apply to all literature. His incisive and knowing criticism covers the field brilliantly, from "Classics" to "Chuckleheads."
Readers will delight in his laser-sharp thoughts on favorite books, and writers will find his criqitues of the classics invaluable in improving their own craft.
This expanded Third Edition is 150,000 words, up from 120,000 in the 1967 Second Edition, and double the length of the 1956 First Edition.
This new edition adds a chapter of autobiography, articles on writing and teaching science fiction, and other fascinating essays. Even if you already have the first or second editions, you should consider getting this edition simply for the new material, which includes: Chapter 1: Myself When Young [autobiographical]; Chap. 13: The Excluded Data [about Charles Fort]; Chap. 29: Milford and Clarion; Chap. 30: Science and the World; Chap. 31: What Is Science Fiction, Anyway?; Chap. 32: Writing Science Fiction; a major expansion of Chapter 5, discussing John W. Campbell, Jr.; and other additions and emendations.
Table of Contents
Introduction by Anthony Boucher
Myself When Young
Campbell and His Decade
Cosmic Jerrybuilder: A. E. van Vogt
One Sane Man: Robert A. Heinlein
Asimov and Empire
When I Was in Kneepants: Ray Bradbury
The Vorpal Pen: Theodore Sturgeon
The Excluded Data: Charles Fort
Genius to Order: Kuttner and Moore
Kornbluth and the Silver Lexicon
The Jagged Blade: James Blish
Overalls on Parnassus: Fletcher Pratt
Pitfalls and Dead Ends
Milford and Clarion
Science and the World
What Is Science Fiction, Anyway?
Writing Science Fiction
Knight has long been a pithy and insightful commentator on science fiction, and the new material—written mostly a decade or more ago—alters that description in neither jot nor tittle ... his book is the perfect companion to your collection of favorites.