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Metamorphoses of Science Fiction

On the Poetics and History of a Literary Genre


Darko Suvin

Edited By Gerry Canavan

Returning to print for the first time since the 1980s, Metamorphoses of Science Fiction is the origin point for decades of literary and theoretical criticism of science fiction and related genres. Darko Suvin’s paradigm-setting definition of SF as «the literature of cognitive estrangement» established a robust theory of the genre that continues to spark fierce debate, as well as inspiring myriad intellectual descendants and disciples. Suvin’s centuries-spanning history of the genre links SF to a long tradition of utopian and satirical literatures crying out for a better world than this one, showing how SF and the imagination of utopia are now forever intertwined. In addition to the 1979 text of the book, this edition contains three additional essays from Suvin that update, expand and reconsider the terms of his original intervention, as well as a new introduction and preface that situate the book in the context of the decades of SF studies that have followed in its wake.


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Table of Contents


“The Suvin Event” xi Gerry Canavan Preface to the Classics Edition: Contradiction and Resistance (2016) xxxvii Darko Suvin Acknowledgements for the Classics Edition (2016) li Preface to the First Edition (1979) 1 Acknowledgements for the First Edition (1979) 11 I. POETICS 13 1. Estrangement and Cognition 15 2. SF and the Genological Jungle 29 3. Defining the Literary Genre of Utopia: Some Historical Semantics, Some Genology, a Proposal, and a Plea 51 4. SF and the Novum 79 II. HISTORY 103 Introduction to Older SF History 105 5. The Alternative Island 109 6. The Shift to Anticipation: Radical Rhapsody and Romantic Recoil 135 7. Liberalism Mutes the Anticipation: The Space-Binding Machines 167 8. Anticipating the Sunburst: Dream, Vision – or Nightmare? 193 Introduction to Newer SF History 229 9. Wells as the Turning Point of the SF Tradition 233 10. The Time Machine versus Utopia as Structural Models for SF 247 11. Russian SF and Its Utopian Tradition 271 12. Karel Čapek, or the Aliens Amongst Us 299 Bibliography 313 ADDITIONAL MATERIAL (2016) 341 Science Fiction, Metaphor, Parable, and Chronotope (with the Bad Conscience of Reaganism) 343 Considering the Sense of “Fantasy” or “Fantastic Fiction”: An Effusion* 381 Circumstances and Stances: A Retrospect 445 Index 453 Ralahine Classics Utopia has been articulated and theorized for centuries. There is a matrix of commentary, critique and celebration of utopian thought, writing and practice that ranges from ancient Greece, into the European middle ages, throughout Asian and indigenous cultures, in Enlightenment thought and in...

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