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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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Students of various matters discussed in this book will recognize my very large debts to other scholars and critics, far too numerous to acknowledge properly in the notes. I hope the following checklist may suffice to indicate them, though it had to be confined to a strongly curtailed selection from a much longer list which I hope at some future time to publish separately as an annotated bibliographic guide, and to which the Žantovská-Suvin item from Section I is an introduction. In the initial work on such a bibliography, without which this list could not have been compiled, I gratefully acknowledge a Quebec Ministry of Education FCAC grant given to a team headed by Professor Marc Angenot and myself at McGill University.

However, the following lists are also intended to be fairly complete surveys of the indispensable secondary literature from the major European languages (excluding dissertations) a graduate student or scholar would need for further independent research in all but the minutest details of the fields indicated by the section titles (and even such details, could, I believe, be pursued with help of the bibliographies and notes in the items listed). Striving for finiteness and practicality, I have as a rule also excluded handbooks, biographies, general bibliographies, and general surveys of periods or authors, however useful they often might be. In order not to let this selection grow into a Frankensteinian creation, I have after much reluctance decided to exclude the introductory category of “methodological...

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