Hugo Gernsback and the Century of Science Fiction


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About the Book

An examination of science fiction editor and author Hugo Gernsback’s career, this critical study explores the many ways in which his work influenced the genre. It summarizes the science fiction theories of Gernsback and his successors, considers his efforts to define science fiction both verbally and visually, and for the first time offers detailed studies of his rarest periodicals, including Technocracy Review, Superworld Comics, and Science-Fiction Plus. An analysis of his ground-breaking novel, Ralph 124C 41+: A Romance of the Year 2660, and its influences on a variety of science fiction novels, films and television programs is also offered.

About the Author(s)

Gary Westfahl, a professor emeritus at the University of La Verne, California, has authored, edited, or co-edited 31 books about science fiction and fantasy, and hundreds of articles and reviews. In 2003, he received the Science Fiction Research Association’s Pilgrim Award for his lifetime contributions to science fiction and fantasy scholarship.

Bibliographic Details

Gary Westfahl. Series Editors Donald E. Palumbo and C.W. Sullivan III
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 283
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2007
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3079-6
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Critical Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Introduction      1

1. Cremators of Science Fiction: Brian Stableford and John Clute on Hugo Gernsback and His Legacy      7
2. The Popular Tradition of Science Fiction Criticism, 1926–1980      17
3. Wanted: A Symbol for Science Fiction      45
4. Peaks and Valleys: Hugo Gernsback’s Career as a Science Fiction Editor      60

5. Evolution of Modern Science Fiction: The Textual History of Hugo Gernsback’s Ralph 124C 41+      97
6. “Man against Man, Brain against Brain”: The Transformations of Melodrama in Science Fiction      149
7. Gadgetry, Government, Genetics, and God: The Forms of Science Fiction Utopia      164
8. “The Gernsback Continuum”: Cyberpunk in the Context of Science Fiction      192
9. Scientific Adventures: Hugo Gernsback’s Career as a Science Fiction Writer      207

Notes      243
Bibliography      255
Index      265

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “The book is worthwhile as a detailed examination of a period in the development of SF that has been inadequately covered in the past”—Critical Mass
  • “Valuable…Westfahl…has proved himself once again as one of the most competent scholars in the field”—Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts
  • “Analyzes the career of science fiction editor and author Hugo Gernsback and how his work influenced the development of the science fiction genre”—Reference & Research Book News.