2007/09/07

How to Understand Science Fiction in a Science Fiction Reader's Way? (2004)

* This is my course essay for Genre Definition Module of 2003/4 MA course in Science Fiction Studies in the University of Liverpool
* The Chinese-translated version of this essay was published in Beside "the Classics" and "the Humanity": An Anthology of Taiwanese Science Fiction Studies (2006)


'To understand science fiction, one must be a science fiction reader.' This statement seems to be a tautology and is supported by both experienced literary scholars and sf readers/writers/editors. Here are two examples in sf literary books that illustrate the importance of the role of reader: in Edward James's Science Fiction of the 20th Century (1994), he says 'it is ultimately the [determined, not the occasional or accidental] reader who decides what belongs the genre [science fiction]'.[1] Recently in Farah Mendlesohn's introduction to The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction (2003), she also expresses that 'Science fiction is less a genre – … – than ongoing discussion', which is from both critics and fans.[2] Readers can help developing science fiction through convention discussions, composing articles to magazines, running their own clubs and fanzines, doing in-field researches, becoming professionals themselves, or just silently speaking with their purchase ability. After 'the academy discovered sf'[3], the contributing literary scholars also had to carefully pay attention to at least a number of science fiction texts in order to offer their arguments; some of them even present their works inside the field, like Andrew M. Butler's editorship of Vector, Gary K. Wolfe and Farah Mendlesohn's monthly reviews in Locus. In Gary Westfahl's case, we can clearly find out researchers still can use a fan-like tongue to argue with fellow literary critics[4], i.e. they are not only literary scholars but also dedicated sf readers or fans. Therefore, we can say that walking into the ghettoisation and being an 'sf reader' is the first lesson of the sf studies.

According to David Hartwell, a dedicated sf reader needs attributes which make her so deeply involved that she 'always live in the SF world'[5] and all these engagements start as early as the age of twelve.[6] I totally agree that almost every reader would show her appreciation of science fiction at a very young age, while she 'freezes at the gosh-wow TV/comics/movies stage'[7], and starts to try every effort to read science fiction in her teenage. Just like the first episode of Marooned on Mercury (1952), the third Dan Dare graphic novel, drew the attention of then five-year-old Edward James.[8] Although in Hartwell's observation, only a few of these young 'science fiction omnivores' later continue to read science fiction[9], and John Clute also points out that 'many consumers of sf ideas and iconography now accessed that material solely through film, television and computer gaming, without in fact actually reading sf at all'[10], a situation means less and less young people finally 'choose' the way of being dedicated or chronic readers, it still seems that becoming one is a natural process while interested newcomers in Anglo-American nations can be easily exposed to a well-developed sf environment. On the other hand, there are also some people, maybe only a small number, who are interested in science fiction but do not know how to approach it because of the lack of either 'sf aura' or adequate guidance, especially those in the developing sf cultures. In this case, I believe there must be a method, which has never been explicitly proposed, to help them become dedicated sf readers just like the natural bred ones.

Edward James illustrates the reading strategies of science fiction in Chapter three 'Reading Science Fiction' of Science Fiction in the 20th Century. He introduces several sf definitions suggested by various contributors, tells the differences between reading sf and mundane fiction, uses a number of texts to exemplify 'the sense of wonder', the concept of 'novum', and the decoding/interpreting of the uncertainties in science fiction.[11] Farah Mendlesohn has done a similar job by taking Greg Egan's Schild's Ladder (2002) as an exemplar.[12] We can simply follow their guidance to understand one particular sf text and enjoy it. What I propose here is a further approach in order to understand science fiction the genre (or the writing mode, or the discussion) as a science fiction reader, from a novice that has only interest and passion to a journeyman who is able to feed back to the field, as least joining the discussion continuously forming the shape of sf, either in local or global extent.

The first step for those dedicated readers want-to-be is of course to read 'sufficient' works. In my opinion, the number of 'sufficient' varies according to different sf cultures. In Taiwan, for example, one must read everything in book or magazine form to become a chronic sf reader. The reason is pretty simple: the amount of sf materials is few enough, and it is not very difficult to access all of them. Besides, the searching for these items is a kind of test (and not too harsh, in fact), which challenges one's determination to devote herself to science fiction. Taiwanese sf is certainly a special case; this question could be trickier when considering sf in other countries.

Take Anglo-American sf in the year 2001 for example. There were in total 2158 books published as science fiction, fantasy and horror, 1213 of which is original. Among them, 251 are sf novels, 282 fantasy, 151 horror, 82 anthologies, 119 collections, 25 reference books, 30 about history and criticism, 172 media related, 45 art/humour/poetry, 54 omnibuses and 2 cannot be categorised.[13] No matter how fast one can read, it is impossible to cover them all. Therefore, she must select 'good' books – the 'canons' – for her reading. In Positions and Presuppositions in Science Fiction (1988), Darko Suvin provides a standard to judge whether one text lies in the optimum (good sf) or four kinds of pessimums (bad sf).[14] He also introduces a diagram[15] which shows that 'most tales will be in a broad band say two-thirds of the way outward from the optimal fulcrum [which is near the pessimums], a minority in the central "middle range", and a few, singular exceptions near the optimum'.[16] However, Suvin's standard may fail as other literary judgements about science fiction because the criticism inside the field 'might argue that the most central texts are not necessarily the "best" in literary terms'.[17] Since we cannot avoid tagging some works as canons for reading (ruling out the media related works, which is very common while discussing written sf and fantasy, is definitely a deed of canon-making), the fastest and simplest method is to follow the existing canon building method – the awards.

I list the shortlists or nominations of the novel category in the major general sf awards given in the calendar year 2002 in the appendix. The awards I take into consideration include Hugo, Nebula, John W. Campbell Jr. Memorial Award, Arthur C. Clarke Award, Philip K. Dick Award and British Sf Award. I also demonstrate the full list of Sf Novel in Locus Poll Award for comparison due to its greater 'length' of 29 books. We can clearly see that almost all the awarded books except The Quantum Rose (2000) are in the Locus Poll list, and most nominations in these major awards are also covered (both in science fiction and fantasy) in the current or the previous year (owing to the different eligibility rules of the awards). The biggest exception here is the Philip K. Dick Award; such a result can be caused from its restriction for awarding only firstly published paperback titles, which cover mainly new or small market writers and are often not treated as hardcover ones. The total number of the shortlisted books is 33 (duplications are excluded), a little bit bigger than 29 in Locus Poll List. Subtract five nominations in the Dick Award makes it 28. If we also consider that the 2002 list of Campbell Memorial Award is 12, far longer than ordinary (which is only three to five books), and there are still several pure fantasy titles being nominated, we can come to a conclusion that the number of important sf titles in a year is around 20. This figure is quite suitable for me. We can also take a look at both the Locus Poll Award List and the Sf novel category in Locus 2001 Recommended Reading List.[18] Each of the 27 recommended books has its own rank in the Poll without exception. It is reasonable to assume that this is resulted from Locus readers' consulting the recommended list while filling their ballots. Due to the facts that we obtain similar consequences by grouping major awards’ nominations or consulting Locus list (a strong voice from active dedicated sf readers), the listed books can be regarded as the must read. The only tricky part of the Locus way is that we have to also check the fantasy novel list to look for titles like Bold as Love (2001) or Perdido Street Station (2000). As a matter of fact, most ordinary readers still cannot consume all of the books worth reading; even as few as just Hugo nominations (five to six) is a heavy burden. In a panel of ConJose (the 2002 WorldCon), Connie Willis asked the audience if they read all the Hugo nomination novels before the Hugo vote, only three people raised their hands. For canons of specific themes, we can look for corresponding awards: James Tiptree Jr. Award for gender, Golden Duck for children's sf, Prometheus for libertarian sf, Sidewise for alternative history, and etc. As for short forms, just repeat these procedures and we will obtain a similar result if we do not want to be bothered by issues after issues of various magazines and piles of anthologies or collections. Directly referring to Gardner Dozois's and David Hartwell's annual best sf anthologies is another method, which is verified yearly in book review columns.

What I just illustrated is for catching up the newest works only. A dedicated reader should be also familiar with earlier texts, at least 'canons'. We can apply the evaluating method to earlier years and then obtain the list of major sf works. However, despite its completeness (compared to any other canon lists), this approach has its own limit, too. Most major awards did not exist before the 1960s: Nebula started in 1966 (for works appeared in 1965); Locus Poll Award started later in 1971; Hugo appeared earlier but still as late as 1953. Therefore, the union of major award nominations does not work while referring to sf before the 1965, even 1970. It seems that the only way to obtain a recommended sf 'classics' list is through the criticism. There have been many people contributing to canonisation in the field indeed, and we have a lot of lists at hand. Maybe the most thorough inspection of all these references is James Wallace Harris's 'The Classics of Science Fiction' in 1996.[19] In this project, he compares 13 lists, seven of which are from criticism books, the other six are reader polls, and then grants the 'classic' status to the books which won at least three citations. The total number of his sf classics is 162.[20] In 2000, Anthony Bernardo adds on another 15 references (unfortunately all his new references are not provided explicitly) and builds a new classics list containing 193 books which gained more than six citations out of 28.[21] There is a similar contribution done by 'Sci-fi Lover' website, which lists current best 200 sf books and constantly updates the newest ranking though they do not offer their data sources, either.[22] It seems insufficient to cover to understand the whole genre of science fiction just by reading only 200 books, but it is a start point. We can treat the lists as the basic equipment to explore the entire ocean, or, we can always take the 'union' philosophy to work on studying all the books recommended by previous chronic readers, since we will not lose anything but even earn enormous enjoyment if we really devote ourselves to being a science fiction reader.

However, reading major text is never enough for having a complete vision of science fiction. Gary Westfahl argues that 'one must also read the commentaries that were published alongside those works'.[23] This also explains why some major awards like Hugo and Locus Poll have a category of non-fiction or related book. Besides those in book form, there are also specific journals/magazines and websites providing information from sf news, book reviews to sf research resources. The only constraint might be the time one can spend.


'Reading almost everything' is the basic step. In spite of its importance, a dedicated reader still has to develop a general sense about science fiction so that she can understand Damon Knight's definition 'Science fiction is what we point to when we say it'.[24] In my opinion, the simplest way to build such a sense is to bear in mind the history of science fiction. The history can be the general one which covers all materials in sf as well as specific ones in a certain topics or periods in the field. A number of researchers must have the same idea; hence they take a historical approach in their books or essays. Here are two most recent examples. In additional to the part I of The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction, which is concentrating on sf history, some of the other essays are also implicitly chronicle-approached, e.g. 'Marxist theory and science fiction', 'Feminist theory and science fiction', 'Hard science fiction', 'Space opera' and 'Gender in science fiction'.[25] Charles E. Gannon also discusses the technomilitary agenda-setting in sf from Victorian visions, Edwardian fiction to nuclear holocaust and then cyborgs in his study.[26] I do not mean that one must memorise all the content of sf history books such as Trillion Year Spree (1987) or The World beyond the Hill (1989); in fact I even discourage relying on them totally. The information provided by them is a good point to start with, but the history sense of sf I am talking about must be built by detailed reading text after text.

A piece of sf text must have it own position in the history of science fiction. This argument can be examined in three scopes: the oeuvre of the author, the history of the sub-genre or theme, and finally the history of science fiction the genre.

The first part is easily to prove. If one relies on only one famous work Fahrenheit 451 (1953), and then argues that Ray Bradbury is a science fictional dystopian writer, his assertion will be certainly denied by everyone in the field. A writer can become more well-developed (or ill-developed in some miserable cases) and change her focuses, styles, even mindsets as time goes by, just like how Ursula K. Le Guin rewrote her essay 'Is Gender Necessary?' (1976, 'Redux' in 1988) That is why all the studies about a certain writer demand the researchers to cover everything both in biography and bibliography, whether in the field or not. With a historical sense, one is also able to trace both of a particular author's predecessors and successors by carefully examining her major titles in every stage of her writing life (if not everything written by her) as well as criticisms. For example: H. G. Wells and his contemporaries' tales of transcendence inspire Olaf Stapledon, who in turn influences Arthur C. Clarke. China Mieville's 'new weird fiction' must be traced back to M. John Harrison and further Melvin Peake's the Gormenghast trilogy (1946, 1950 and 1959 respectively). A lineage is thus formed; not only helps readers to understand one author better but also makes them strengthen the historical sense.

For the second part, we can also find the evidences in various texts. Bruce Sterling’s manifesto-like 'Preface' to Mirrorshades (1986) indicates the cyberpunk writers' 'literary debts' include New Wave, harder tradition of science fiction, and some outstanding visionaries of Philip Jose Farmer, Philip K. Dick, Alfred Bester and Thomas Pynchon.[27] The essays in The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction I mentioned above also provide obvious evidences. We can see how a particular sub-genre or theme evolves with writers conversing with previous texts as well as submitting new ideas. The traditional literary canon approach also has something with this part of historical positioning of a certain sf text. Big titles are usually regarded by critics as masterpieces that influence later works in the same category, e.g.: I, Robot (1950, with The Laws of Robotics), The Left Hand of Darkness (1969), and Neuromancer (1984). Their canon status is undoubted, of course, but we must refer to other 'smaller' pieces of work along with these big ones, or an assertion such as 'Robert A. Heinlein's "All You Zombies…" (1959) is the utmost time travel story which can never be surpassed'[28] will be unavoidable.

Counting on the historical status of one specific sf text in its author's oeuvre and its sub-genre, it is not difficult for a reader to deduce its position in the greater sf history. In this scope, I would like to borrow Peter Nicholls's theory of 'conceptual breakthrough'.[29] Every important piece of work in the science fiction genre (there are still possibilities for 'minor' ones which I omit here) must inspire the people who concern about this field, expanding and exploring the theme it is discussing, and thus shapes and reshapes the image of science fiction. Gary Westfahl demonstrates with his historical model the shifting from the Gernsbackian contemporaries to the 'Golden Age' and then sf in the 1950s[30]; however, the chronic reader has to compose the her own 'history of science fiction' of later periods through her continuous reading.

This approach works well while considering a shorter sf history like the one of Taiwan. After bearing in mind Shi-Kuo Chang's ideas of 'allegorical'[31] and 'Chinese flavour' shown in his stories collected in The Suite of Nebulae (1980) and various advocating essays including transcripts of conversaziones and dialogues, readers are able to have a complete image of Taiwanese science fiction in the 1980s which lasts until Li-Hua Yeh's popularisation of sf in the late 1990s.


The first two steps are about the efforts inside science fiction, but the third, which is also the final stage, demands a dedicated reader-to-be to walk out the ghetto, embracing the materials outside. It sounds absurd at first, but it is never strange because sf readers always know that they have to broaden their visions with all kind of knowledge to fully enjoy the thought-provoking genre.

Sf writers are diligent while building their own universes; take a look at Dan Simmons's novel Ilium (2003): in the acknowledgements, he refers to six different translations of the Iliad, ancillary poetry or imaginative Iliad-related prose, research and commentary on the Iliad and Homer, works of Shakespeare and Browning and the commentaries on them, and various scientific knowledge essays in Scientific American about several topics.[32] Although it is not necessary for the reader to access all the stuff he mentioned, and they are indeed able to enjoy the novel without any background; a dedicated reader has to be at least aware of the materials related to this text in order to understand it thoroughly and then make creative responses. Sometimes the references are not explicitly named, and the reader has to find out themselves or seek for help from criticism. Considering another Dan Simmons's novel Hyperion (1989): it is an (1) epic space opera in the form of (2) Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales with references of (3) various poems of John Keats; 'The Priest's Tale' refers to (4) the Roman Catholic Church system, 'The Poet's Tale' to (5) Jack Vance's Dying Earth (1950), 'The Detective's Tale' to the tradition of (6) the genre of detective novel and (7) the subgenre of cyberpunk, 'The Consul's Tale' in an aura of (8) modern mainstream fictions, and most tales requires some familiarity with (9) the long discussion about time and space in previous sf texts, and etc... Only four out of nine can be directly acquired through a broad reading of science fiction, and this is just for one 500-page novel. Thus we can say that a dedicated reader must be a knowledgeable person because she must be one.

In most cases, the knowledge is highly related to the cultural background, thus prevents foreign readers from following every idea in an sf text. An Anglo-American reader, especially an English literature major, might be familiar with all the literary materials in my non-thorough analysis of those mentioned in Hyperion. But it is indeed extremely difficult for readers from other countries. A more general example is the sub-genre of alternative history. I frankly admit that I am not interested in and will never touch any book written by Harry Turtledove unless I have enough understanding about the history of the United States. Thus I believe that there is possibility for every culture to breed science fiction with 'local flavours'. Taiwanese science fiction under Shi-Kuo Chang's leadership in the 1980s here makes the perfect exemplar. Chang's The City Trilogy (1983, 1986 and 1991 respectively, translated in English in 2003) is filled with references, re-written tales, sarcasm, and parodies of traditional and cotemporary Chinese/Taiwanese societies and cultures, which is reflected especially in the slogans/songs/poems/ballads here and there in the context. Taiwanese readers can easily detect what Chang is talking about and enjoy the differences between the original and Chang's remake, while the others might find them nonsense.

Referring to other cultures becomes common in modern science fiction. Some authors just want exotic setting for entertaining effort, like the Confucian judicial system of Chinese Coastal Republic in Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age (1995). But even so, it sometimes disturbs readers from the mentioned cultural backgrounds. Taiwanese readers who enjoy the first two volumes of Orson Scott Card's Ender series are usually irritated while reading Xenocide (1991) merely owing to the names of some characters: Han Fei-tzu, Han Qing-jao, Jiang-qing and Xi Wang-mu, while Maureen F. McHugh beautifully explains this naming complex in her introducing to the protagonist of China Mountain Zhang (1992).

But in some cases, the writers' (mis)interpreting could lead to thought-provoking ideas. Though his Christian viewpoint leads to a misunderstanding of Taiwanese religions that makes the ending of The Hand That Takes (2003) almost completely unacceptable to the Taiwanese readers, Dutch writer Paul Harland still succeeds in introducing a modern but also completely exotic society to western readers as well as giving the Taiwanese an alien view to re-observe the land they are too familiar with to notice nearby inspirations.

An even better paradigm is Kim Stanley Robinson's The Year of Rice and Salt (2002). His quotation of The Journey to the West[33] is an obvious 'misreading', which is just a complaining dialogue between Tripitaka and Wu-kong (Monkey) in the original context. However, Robinson finds the 'Tao' behind this conversation and makes it the philosophy behind this ambitious alternative history though he still cannot prevent himself from misunderstanding in further cultural matters, such as his setting Monkey as Bold (the first 'B' character in the continuous reincarnations of the novel) is incomprehensible to readers who know the character Wu-kong well. As the world is getting closer, there will be more and more conversations between cultures in sf texts, and it requires a more intimate relationship between dedicated sf readers from different backgrounds to have more opportunities to exchange concepts and mindsets, thus in turn enriches science fiction.


What I discussed above can be easily concluded in to one sentence: to understand science fiction as an sf reader, one needs to read almost everything not only sf texts or materials printed along with sf but also those outside of the ghetto as long as they are slightly related to science fiction. This may be a long existing common sense among the chronic readers, but newcomers may not be aware of it. As an sf dedicated reader want-to-be, I am very happy to apprehend it and would like to introduce my fellow sf readers. But before that, I still have to confront another question which does not exist in Anglo-American sf society. That is: should the translated works be considered while talking about sf in a particular culture? In my opinion, the answer is definite yes. From the sf historical point of view, translated/imported text is also part of the sf publications on the market and must play its own role in shaping the science fiction in one particular culture, especially where there is not sufficient local writing in support. If in a small-scale sf market, the translated texts are systematically introduced by some sf leader or populariser, readers can also witness what concepts are brought in and how local sf is shaped from the selected texts along with all the accompanying materials. However, we must remember that even if the imported texts are all sf canons, they still cannot represent the whole sf culture from which they come unless there are 'sufficient' amount of works from the same background available in the target sf culture. A foreign dedicated sf reader will not claim that she understand Anglo-American science fiction by only all the translated stuff but to apply the same reading principle to the English sf materials. And she would also avoid making haste conclusions on subjects that require a general knowledge in Anglo-American sf and its culture (of course she still can achieve a study on specific topics with concentration on a certain number of items in that field). While walking step by step of this reading principle, one can accomplish a near total comprehension to her local sf culture and contribute to it through various conversations with her fellow readers/professionals/researchers if there is the opportunity. To play a more active role, she can try to extend the sf conversation with sf people from other cultures. On one hand, she can expand her own vision of science fiction; on the other, through the communications of participants, different concepts and ideas will be introduced among various dedicated sf readers, thus always helps science fiction evolve to the next unknown but always exciting and better stage.

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[1] Edward James, Science Fiction in the 20th Century (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1994), p. 95.
[2] Farah Mendlesohn, 'Introduction: reading science fiction' in The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction, ed. by Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 1-12 (p. 1).
[3] Damien Broderick, 'New Wave and backwash: 1960-1980' in The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction, pp. 48-63 (p. 61).
[4] We can easily detect it in Westfahl's argument on 'the true history of science fiction' in his letters to Foundation. See a 'refined' text of his idea about 'High Literature' and 'Junk' for an exemplar, in Gary Westfahl, The Mechanics of Wonder: The Creation for the Idea of Science Fiction (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1998), p. 34-35.
[5] David Hartwell, Age of Wonders: Exploring the World of Science Fiction (New York: Walker and Company, 1984), p. 6.
[6] See Hartwell, Chapter 1: 'The Golden Age of Science Fiction Is Twelve', op. cit., pp. 3-24.
[7] Hartwell, op. cit., p. 8.
[8] See James, op. cit., p. x.
[9] Hartwell, op. cit., pp. 8-9.
[10] John Clute, 'Science fiction from 1980 to the present', in The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction, pp. 64-78 (p. 64).
[11] See James, op. cit., pp. 95-129.
[12] See Mendlesohn, op. cit., pp. 2-11.
[13] All these figures are from '2001 Book Summery' in Locus: The Magazine of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Field, 493 (2002), pp. 56-59 (p. 57).
[14] See Darko Suvin, Positions and Presuppositions in Science Fiction (Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Macmillan Press, 1988), pp. 66-73.
[15] See the diagram in Suvin, op. cit., p. 69.
[16] Suvin, op. cit., p. 72.
[17] Andy Sawyer, 'Science Fiction – Critical Spaces', tutorial handout of Sf Genre Definition Module in 2003-4 MA in Science Fiction Studies Course, University of Liverpool (2003), p. 3.
[18] See 'Recommended Reading' in Locus: The Magazine of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Field, 493, (2002), pp. 38-55.
[19] See his website at http://classics.jameswallaceharris.com/
[20] The original Harris's list of 162 classic books is at
http://classics.jameswallaceharris.com/Lists/SFClassics1996.html
[21] The expanded list is at http://classics.jameswallaceharris.com/Lists/ByRank.php
[22] The Sci-fi Lover's Top 200 Sci-fi Books list is at
http://home.austarnet.com.au/petersykes/topscifi/lists_books_rank1.html
They also provide another three lists focusing on short stories, films and TV shows respectively.
[23] Westfahl, op. cit., p. 2.
[24] Cited from Brian Stableford, John Clute and Peter Nicholls, 'Definition of Sf', in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, ed. by John Clute and Peter Nicholls (1993, New York: St Martin's Griffin, 1995), p. 314.
[25] See all these essays in The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction, pp. 113-124, 125-136, 186-196, 197-208, 241-252.
[26] See Charles E. Gannon, Rumors of War and Infernal Machines: Technomilitary Agenda-Setting in American and British Speculative Fiction (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2003).
[27] See Bruce Sterling, 'Preface' in Mirrorshades: the Cyberpunk Anthology, ed. by Sterling, paperback edition, (New York: Ace Books, 1988), pp. ix-xvi (p. x).
[28] This assertion is written in one of Arthur Yun-Hung Cheng's blurbs in his website, where he displays a copy of full text of that story. The translation is mine. See
http://blog.twblog.net/aitnog/archives/001052.html
[29] Peter Nicholls, 'Conceptual Breakthrough' in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, pp. 254-257.
[30] For a complete description of this model, see Westfahl, op. cit., pp. 281-283.
[31] I used an uglier phrase 'moral teaching' in my essay 'The Long and Winding Road to Science Fiction'.
[32] See Dan Simmons, 'Acknowledgements' in Simmons, Ilium (London: Gollancz, 2003), pp. ix-x.
[33] See Kim Stanley Robinson, The Years of Rice and Salt (London: HarperCollinsPublishers, 2002), p. xi.

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