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Science fiction literature and films have contributed indelible images to the popular imagination, from H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds to Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles to the fiction of “cyberpunks.” In addition to enthralling readers with breathtaking narratives and dazzling the imagination with mind-bending glimpses of possible futures, the best science fiction asks Science fiction literature and films have contributed indelible images to the popular imagination, from H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds to Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles to the fiction of “cyberpunks.” In addition to enthralling readers with breathtaking narratives and dazzling the imagination with mind-bending glimpses of possible futures, the best science fiction asks essential questions: What does it mean to be human? Are we alone in the universe, and what does it mean if we’re not? Esteemed professor Michael D.C. Drout traces the history of science fiction in this series of stimulating lectures. From Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to today’s cutting- edge authors, Drout offers a compelling analysis of the genre, including a look at hard-boiled science fiction, the golden age of science fiction, New Wave writers, and contemporary trends in the field. 14 Lectures on 7 Audiocassettes.


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Science fiction literature and films have contributed indelible images to the popular imagination, from H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds to Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles to the fiction of “cyberpunks.” In addition to enthralling readers with breathtaking narratives and dazzling the imagination with mind-bending glimpses of possible futures, the best science fiction asks Science fiction literature and films have contributed indelible images to the popular imagination, from H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds to Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles to the fiction of “cyberpunks.” In addition to enthralling readers with breathtaking narratives and dazzling the imagination with mind-bending glimpses of possible futures, the best science fiction asks essential questions: What does it mean to be human? Are we alone in the universe, and what does it mean if we’re not? Esteemed professor Michael D.C. Drout traces the history of science fiction in this series of stimulating lectures. From Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to today’s cutting- edge authors, Drout offers a compelling analysis of the genre, including a look at hard-boiled science fiction, the golden age of science fiction, New Wave writers, and contemporary trends in the field. 14 Lectures on 7 Audiocassettes.

12 review for From Here To Infinity: An Exploration of Science Fiction Literature

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    Drout obviously knows the genre & I really appreciated these lectures even though he & I have different tastes. He likes books that are difficult while I appreciate interesting stories. Not that he doesn't appreciate a good story, but many of his examples are of really boring, long, or flawed books that have great ideas buried in them. I'm too old to fight my way through a book any more. If it doesn't engage me, screw it. Anyway, that made his lectures even better in many ways since I got to hea Drout obviously knows the genre & I really appreciated these lectures even though he & I have different tastes. He likes books that are difficult while I appreciate interesting stories. Not that he doesn't appreciate a good story, but many of his examples are of really boring, long, or flawed books that have great ideas buried in them. I'm too old to fight my way through a book any more. If it doesn't engage me, screw it. Anyway, that made his lectures even better in many ways since I got to hear about books that I've abandoned in the past. Of course, we had a lot of books in common, so I knew most that he discussed. He saw themes & trends I never thought of before & I've listened to several lectures of this sort. I didn't agree with all of his points, but he made a good, interesting case. I liked the way he said some authors that others considered SF weren't really, but he still included many just to point out the differences. Overall, this started out well, but he disappointed me more & more toward the end, so it really should be 3.5 stars. It was good, but way too short. Brevity is worth the extra 1/2 star. He spent far too much time on some authors & never mentioned too many others. Part of that was the time allotted, but I expect his lectures will improve over time as he tunes them more. I can't imagine he's never read Poul Anderson, Theodore Sturgeon, Robert Silverberg, & Roger Zelazny, but he never mentioned any of these award winning, influential authors. 1 What Is Science Fiction? - His definitions & discussion of what defines SF was good. It's very tough. 2 The Roots of Science Fiction - He pretty much starts with "Frankenstein" like so many others. He never mentions Micromegas, yet mentions The Tempest. He does get into Verne & Wells, but doesn't make it clear that neither thought they were writing SF. The term hadn't been invented yet. They were writing adventure & social commentary, respectively. 3 Mysterious Lore, Marvelous Tech: The 1930s - He didn't spend enough time on Gernsback & I don't think he mentioned E.E. "Doc" Smith at all, yet he's the epitome of the time, IMO. Instead, he spends a lot of time on H.P. Lovecraft for his surrealistic writing & John W. Campbell Jr. for his writing & editing with mentions of REH & ERB. Definitely too little time. The way he gushes about Campbell, he should have given him a lecture of his own. He deserves it & Drout never got around to pointing out his unsavory ideas on race & gender, although he does mention Bradbury wouldn't have anything to do with him. 4 Hard-Boiled Science Fiction: The 1940s - He got this spot on with the similarities between the lean, noir mysteries & SF. I think he should have also pointed out westerns too, though. He doesn't make anything clear about why SF changed from magazines to novels, either. He did a great job covering Asimov, but put a discussion of Foundation here rather than in the 50s for some reason. Time, I guess. 5 The Grand Master: Robert A Heinlein - definitely deserved a lecture of his own. He got everything he said right, but a lot was left out. Still, if you want to know why RAH is so well thought of, listen to this. He mentions Harry Harrison here for his rebuttal of Starship Troopers with Bill, the Galactic Hero, but doesn't mention Harrison's similar rebuttal to Campbell's "Morey, Wade, & Arcott" trilogy with Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers, a gross oversight, IMO. 6 Onward and Outward: The 1950s, Space Travel,Apocalypticism, and the Beautiful Weirdness of Cordwainer Smith - While most lump the 40s & 50s together into the Golden Age of SF, he separates them due to the change in writing. A good call, IMO. The 50s definitely sees us leaving the planet more (Up & Out) & some of the great apocalyptic stories. He does fine on the first, but only mentions A Canticle for Leibowitz (1959) for the latter category. He doesn't mention Earth Abides (1949), On the Beach (1957), or Alas, Babylon (1959) even in the course guide notes on further reading. WTF?!!! 7 A New Set of Questions: The “New Wave” of the 1960s and 1970s - He's a PKD, Delany, & LeGuin fanboy & spent way too much time on them. He barely mentions Moorcock or Ellison much less other fine authors of the time except... 8 The World Builder: Frank Herbert - An entire lecture on Dune. Seriously. Yeah, it's a great book, but I disagree with Drout & Herbert - I'm glad "Dune Messiah" was chopped off the first book. Not worth an entire lecture. 9 The Surrealists: Ballard and Bradbury - Good on the Ballard stuff, but way too much time on The Martian Chronicles without mentioning it is actually a collection of disconnected short stories. Also no real mention of Fahrenheit 451 for some unknown reason. 10 The Computer Revolution: Cyberpunk and the 1980s - Plenty about Gibson, of course. 11 Post-Punk: Neal Stephenson - The time would have been far better spent expanding a few earlier lectures. 12 Women and Gender - LeGuin & Butler primarily, of course. He did mention a few others. His swipe at pulp covers was frankly stupid. He mentions Anne McCaffery some, but never her Brain Ships. 13 The Satirists - Due to his definition of SF, he stuck anyone he couldn't really classify as true SF here the title doesn't really fit, but he tries to stretch it. Bad move. He spent quite a while on Brave New World, 1984, & The Handmaid's Tale. More time on Vonnegut with no mention Slaughterhouse-Five. Wow. Douglas Adams also gets a few minutes. 14 The Shape of Things to Come - It starts with Even in a comprehensive course like this one, there are many great SF books and authors that just did not fit into the discussions given above. & he then proceeds to mention a few books I've never heard of before lavishing his time on Kim Stanley Robinson & Greg Egan. Very disappointing. I think this is worth listening to. Read the course guide, too. He's a good speaker & I'll listen to an updated lecture by him, especially if it is twice as long.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Robert Delikat

    This is another wonderful installment in The Modern Scholar series in general, and another great installment by Michael Drout. I have read / listened to several of Professor Drout’s contributions now and all have been exceptional. Michael D.C. Drout is the William and Elsie Prentice Professor of English at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, where he teaches courses in Old and Middle English, medieval literature, Chaucer, fantasy, and science fiction (SF) . It always seemed strange to me th This is another wonderful installment in The Modern Scholar series in general, and another great installment by Michael Drout. I have read / listened to several of Professor Drout’s contributions now and all have been exceptional. Michael D.C. Drout is the William and Elsie Prentice Professor of English at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, where he teaches courses in Old and Middle English, medieval literature, Chaucer, fantasy, and science fiction (SF) . It always seemed strange to me that science fiction and fantasy were often considered within a common genre: science fiction / fantasy. After all, one seemed to be connected with an imaginary past and the other an imaginary future; one with magic and the other technology. Fair enough, unless one sees the connection in Arthur C. Clarke’s Third Law: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Unlike his book on fantasy literature which focuses primarily on a single work with little more than references to comparing and contrasting with other books in the genre, Drout examines the chronology of nearly the entire pantheon of major contributors to SF literature from Mary Shelley, Jules Verne and H.G. Wells to Frank Herbert, Neal Stephenson and Philip K. Dick. I was amazed that not only was Drout able to talk about a rather large group of authors, he was able to summarize most of their major works and many of their minor ones too within the covers of this one selection. Aside from speaking fast, which he definitely does, he narrates all of his books rather rapid-fire, his narration here is as clear, exciting and engaging as always. Drout posits that SF asks some rather essential questions: “What does it mean to be human? What are the consequences of human progress? Are we alone in the universe, and what does it mean if we’re not?” He illustrates how each of the SF authors answers these question. He offers an analysis of hard-boiled science fiction, the golden age of science fiction, New Wave writers, and contemporary trends in the field. It might be helpful to provide an outline for how Drout categorizes the various masters of SF and the works he analyzes: The Roots: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein, Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth, and H.G. Wells’s The Island of Dr. Moreau. The 1930’s: L. Sprague de Camp’s Divide and Rule; H.P. Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories and The Lurking Fear and Other Stories; and Kim Mohan’s (ed.) More Amazing Stories. The 1940’s: Isaac Asimov’s The Big and the Little and I, Robot; John W. Campbell’s Who Goes There? and (as editor) The First Astounding Science Fiction Anthology; Lester del Rey’s Nerves; and Theodore Sturgeon’s Killdozer! The 1950’s: Robert A. Heinlein’s The Past Through Tomorrow, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, The Rolling Stones, Starship Troopers (and other “juvenile” novels), and Stranger in a Strange Land. Also in this decade: Walter M. Miller, Jr.’s A Canticle for Leibowitz; Cordwainer Smith’s The Rediscovery of Man: The Complete Short Science Fiction of Cordwainer Smith; and The Majesty of Kindness: The Dialectic of Cordwainer Smith. The “New Wave” of the 1960’s and 70’s: Samuel R. Delaney’s Babel-17; Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?; Thomas Disch’s Camp Concentration; and Michael Moorcock’s New Worlds: An Anthology. The World Builder: Frank Herbert’s Dune and Dune Messiah. The Surrealists: J.G. Ballard’s The Best Short Stories of J.G. Ballard and Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles. Cyberpunk and the 1980’s: William Gibson’s Burning Chrome, Count Zero, and Neuromancer and Rudy Rucker’s Software. Post-Punk: Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age, and Snow Crash. The Satirists: Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle. I offer this list to give some idea of the span of great SF literature and its contributors that this book covers. And yet there are some who are, at least for me, conspicuously absent such as two of my favorites: Dan Simmons and Peter F. Hamilton. So this is not an exhaustively complete treatise on SF literature but it is much more than just an introduction. The Story, the Narration and the Production are all top notch. I read a lot of SF but I learned a huge amount from Professor Drout’s book and got lots of great ideas for future reading.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    Lecture One: A general overview of the genre and what books and authors the Professor is going to be discussing. This included a short discussion on the crossover of fantasy and historical fiction with science fiction. He also mentions the boundaries used to define the genre. Lecture Two: The start of Science Fiction with discussions on Frankenstein, Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. Lecture Three: Mostly about H.P. Lovecraft and the alternative he provided to the stories being provided in the Science Fi Lecture One: A general overview of the genre and what books and authors the Professor is going to be discussing. This included a short discussion on the crossover of fantasy and historical fiction with science fiction. He also mentions the boundaries used to define the genre. Lecture Two: The start of Science Fiction with discussions on Frankenstein, Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. Lecture Three: Mostly about H.P. Lovecraft and the alternative he provided to the stories being provided in the Science Fiction magazines of the 30s. Lecture Four: WWII and its effect on the science fiction of the era with a lot of discussion about John W. Campbell’s Astounding Stories magazine and Issac Asimov. Lecture Five: About Robert Heinlein. Lots of plot spoilers for his books Starship Troopers, Stranger in a Strange Land & The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Lecture Six: A small talk on films but mostly about A Canticle for Leibowitz, with a lot of discussion about the plot of that book. Lecture Seven: The 60s & 70s feature here, with talk about Dystopians, Thomas Disch & Samuel R. Delaney. Lecture Eight: All about Dune with a lot of discussion on its world building, leading to many plot spoilers. Lecture Nine: J.G. Ballard & Ray Bradbury feature in a section about surrealists. Lecture Ten: Cyberpunk, almost exclusively about William Gibson. Many spoilers for the Sprawl series. Lecture Eleven: Neal Stephenson and the 80s including spoilers for Snow Crash and its sequel. Lecture Twelve: Women writers, mostly Octavia Butler, Ursula K. Le Guin & Anne McCaffrey. Lecture Thirteen: George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Anthony Burgess, Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood & Douglas Adams as authors who don't quite fit the typical science fiction mold and are more social and mainstream writers. Spoilers for Brave New World, he sums up the entire book. Lecture Fourteen: The future of science fiction including Kim Stanley Robinson & Greg Egan. In general I really liked this series. It was curious to listen to a serious discussion on what is typically such a nerdy genre. The professor is an obvious fan. He did spend some time pointing out books where the stories were not as important as the concepts they brought to the table and looking at why some books were so popular based on the era they were written. All of this was fascinating. I felt that there was too much time spend summarizing books, maybe this was because I've read quite a few and didn't need it and some of this was definitely because I did not want to know about a couple of them yet and I thought he talked about plot points that had not much to do with the subject being discussed. Thus ruining a few stories for no apparent reason in my mind. It is well worth a listen if you enjoy science fiction. The course guide can be found here: http://www.recordedbooks.com/courses_...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Pat Rolston

    This is absolutely a fantastic review of Science Fiction literature from the 1930s to the present. I can not recommend it highly enough for anyone who used to enjoy Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, or any prominent science fiction author in that span of time. I especially enjoyed the review of contemporary writers from Greg Egan to Ursula Le Guin allowing for a very fascinating view of their work in context. I enjoy Neil Stephenson and Professor Dout spends considerable time discussi This is absolutely a fantastic review of Science Fiction literature from the 1930s to the present. I can not recommend it highly enough for anyone who used to enjoy Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, or any prominent science fiction author in that span of time. I especially enjoyed the review of contemporary writers from Greg Egan to Ursula Le Guin allowing for a very fascinating view of their work in context. I enjoy Neil Stephenson and Professor Dout spends considerable time discussing his work. This would be a wonderful course to take in full.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lori S.

    Another excellent overview of the genre. To top it off, he actually covers one of the worst problems in old (and current) SF, and that's the misogynistic tendencies of some of the writers of the genre. Also, he covers several women writers too, especially Ursula LeGuin and Octavia Butler (and yes, I'm going to read her real soon). He also talks about Anne McCaffrey which is a nice change of pace. Another excellent overview of the genre. To top it off, he actually covers one of the worst problems in old (and current) SF, and that's the misogynistic tendencies of some of the writers of the genre. Also, he covers several women writers too, especially Ursula LeGuin and Octavia Butler (and yes, I'm going to read her real soon). He also talks about Anne McCaffrey which is a nice change of pace.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Amy Sturgis

    I've lost track of how many times I've gone through these lectures. Mike Drout is always delivers a compelling talk, and these presentations are no exception. To be fair, he's less at home in this field than in some others, and I find myself at times disagreeing vehemently with his definitions and objecting to his generalizations. A few factual errors slip through here, as well. That said, I thoroughly enjoy even those sections with which I'd argue, and I find valuable his choices about what to I've lost track of how many times I've gone through these lectures. Mike Drout is always delivers a compelling talk, and these presentations are no exception. To be fair, he's less at home in this field than in some others, and I find myself at times disagreeing vehemently with his definitions and objecting to his generalizations. A few factual errors slip through here, as well. That said, I thoroughly enjoy even those sections with which I'd argue, and I find valuable his choices about what to emphasize and what to ignore, even if mine differ. He offers a challenging and useful take on the genre and its master works, and I appreciate his enthusiasm as well as his always thought-provoking insights. Perhaps most importantly, when he's right, he's really, really right, often about subjects on which other critics and scholars have proven inexplicably blind. In my opinion, he's spot on in his interpretation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, for example, and in his assessment of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. (His points about the latter could easily be extended to, say, Cormac McCarthy's The Road, as well.) I take special delight in Drout's handling of Frank Herbert. I enjoy Eric Rabkin's evolutionary sense of the movements and stages of science fiction in his "Science Fiction: The Literature Of The Technological Imagination," but I also appreciate Drout's less linear sense here of how works engage in conversation with each other, and why certain "great works" are great. Although the two professors talk past each other in some key ways, I recommend lending an ear to both to help get a sense of the scope and breadth of the genre's history.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Keith Swenson

    I found out that I have read slight more than half of the master books cited by Dr. Drout in this overview of the genre. He starts with a careful definition of science fiction, and then by reviewing the field from the earliest writers (ignores Shakespears 'Tempest' and starts with Mary Shelly's Frankenstein) then Jules Verne and decade by decade until the most recent. I knew the stories, but not that much about the authors, and it really helped give me perspective on the setting that the novels w I found out that I have read slight more than half of the master books cited by Dr. Drout in this overview of the genre. He starts with a careful definition of science fiction, and then by reviewing the field from the earliest writers (ignores Shakespears 'Tempest' and starts with Mary Shelly's Frankenstein) then Jules Verne and decade by decade until the most recent. I knew the stories, but not that much about the authors, and it really helped give me perspective on the setting that the novels were written in. It also clued me into a few novels I should go back and read which I missed. If you like science fiction, this lecture series is a great way to understand more about how the genre fits together. Lecture 01 What Is Science Fiction? Lecture 02 The Roots of Science Fiction Lecture 03 Mysterious Lore, Marvelous Tech: The 1930s Lecture 04 Hard-Boiled Science Fiction: The 1940s Lecture 05 The Grand Master: Robert A. Heinlein Lecture 06 Onward and Outward: The 1950s, Space Travel, Apocalypticism, and the Beautiful Weirdness of Cordwainer Smith Lecture 07 A New Set of Questions: The “New Wave” of the 1960s and 1970s Lecture 08 The World Builder: Frank Herbert Lecture 09 The Surrealists: Ballard and Bradbury Lecture 10 The Computer Revolution: Cyberpunk and the 1980s Lecture 11 Post-Punk: Neal Stephenson Lecture 12 Women and Gender Lecture 13 The Satirists Lecture 14 The Shape of Things to Come

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dianna

    I didn't quite finish this audiobook, but I got where I wanted. I read Stranger in a Strange Land not long ago, and I had a lot of questions about it. In discussing it with super-RA Rolf, he recommended this to me. I really enjoyed hearing about the origins of SF and some of the major writers and works that I'd not heard of before. I've got several new titles on hold now! After the 1960s, though, my interest started waning. The chapter on Dune had me eating lunch in my car to keep listening, but I didn't quite finish this audiobook, but I got where I wanted. I read Stranger in a Strange Land not long ago, and I had a lot of questions about it. In discussing it with super-RA Rolf, he recommended this to me. I really enjoyed hearing about the origins of SF and some of the major writers and works that I'd not heard of before. I've got several new titles on hold now! After the 1960s, though, my interest started waning. The chapter on Dune had me eating lunch in my car to keep listening, but the chapters on Cyberpunk, Satire, and what's to come just don't appeal. I would recommend this to anyone who has interest in early SF. I'm still on a mission to find a pre-1991 edition of "Stranger...".

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rolf

    While a relatively short overview of Science Fiction, it leaves the listener with some good reading suggestions for exploring the various aspects that make up the Science Fiction genre. The lecturer's style is very pleasant and easy to listen too. While a relatively short overview of Science Fiction, it leaves the listener with some good reading suggestions for exploring the various aspects that make up the Science Fiction genre. The lecturer's style is very pleasant and easy to listen too.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Zach

    I still love this lecture series (along with Professor Drout's companion series on Fantasy Lit.) Even after the second listening, I still came away with authors to try out, but I dearly wish the lecturer would update the material to include authors writing after the 90s. I still love this lecture series (along with Professor Drout's companion series on Fantasy Lit.) Even after the second listening, I still came away with authors to try out, but I dearly wish the lecturer would update the material to include authors writing after the 90s.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Michael D. C Drout's From Here to Eternity: An Exploration of Science Fiction Literature is an in-depth study of Science Fiction; what it is, how it differs from and sometimes overlaps with Fantasy fiction, the terms that show respect and those that can be subtly critical and dismissive of the literary genre. Also explored are themes across decades that herald the advances technology and of things that could be the future of mankind. There are 14 lectures that cover decades from 1930 through the Michael D. C Drout's From Here to Eternity: An Exploration of Science Fiction Literature is an in-depth study of Science Fiction; what it is, how it differs from and sometimes overlaps with Fantasy fiction, the terms that show respect and those that can be subtly critical and dismissive of the literary genre. Also explored are themes across decades that herald the advances technology and of things that could be the future of mankind. There are 14 lectures that cover decades from 1930 through the present. Lecture titles include: What is Science Fiction, The Roots of Science Fiction, Mysterious Lore, Marvelous Tech; the 1930s, Hard Boiled Science Fiction; the 1940s, Onward and Upward: the 1950s, Space Travel, Apocalypticism, and the Beautiful Weirdness of Cordwainer Smith, and others in subsequent decades which are brought to light with Drout's signature humanistic and expansive style. Selected because I knew nothing about Science Fiction, and because of a long work commute, I enjoyed these lectures immensely and believe they would be edifying for all readers.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Hank Pharis

    (NOTE: I'm stingy with stars. For me 2 stars means a good book or a B. 3 stars means a very good book or a B+. 4 stars means an outstanding book or an A {only about 5% of the books I read merit 4 stars}. 5 stars means an all time favorite or an A+ {Only one of 400 or 500 books rates this!).A long time ago (in this case in the 50s-60s) in a faraway place (Texas), I used to read a lot of Science Fiction. But once I reached my twenties I became more interested in many other kinds of books. Neverthe (NOTE: I'm stingy with stars. For me 2 stars means a good book or a B. 3 stars means a very good book or a B+. 4 stars means an outstanding book or an A {only about 5% of the books I read merit 4 stars}. 5 stars means an all time favorite or an A+ {Only one of 400 or 500 books rates this!).A long time ago (in this case in the 50s-60s) in a faraway place (Texas), I used to read a lot of Science Fiction. But once I reached my twenties I became more interested in many other kinds of books. Nevertheless this was an informative and interesting survey of Science Fiction. flag Like  · see review May 17, 2018 Lindsay rated it really liked it I enjoyed this lecture series in which Professor Drout discusses the major writers and pieces from the genre of science fiction. This definitely gave me a better overall understanding of the roots of science fiction as well as the more contemporary writers and works of the present day. flag Like  · see review Apr 08, 2019 Mike Day rated it really liked it This instruction from Michael Drout makes me realize that I haven't really missed anything by not reading too much science fiction. Also, Drout likes Dune, and well... Dune just isn't a very good book. So I now have found something that Drout and I can disagree about. This instruction from Michael Drout makes me realize that I haven't really missed anything by not reading too much science fiction. Also, Drout likes Dune, and well... Dune just isn't a very good book. So I now have found something that Drout and I can disagree about. flag Like  · see review Jun 21, 2019 Alethea Hammer rated it it was amazing I loved it. The only downside to listening to this great audio book is that it extended my 'want to read' list. Despite years of being a fan there are apparently Science Fiction Classics I completely missed. Wow. Glad I learned about that while there is still a little time. I loved it. The only downside to listening to this great audio book is that it extended my 'want to read' list. Despite years of being a fan there are apparently Science Fiction Classics I completely missed. Wow. Glad I learned about that while there is still a little time. flag Like  · see review Aug 05, 2010 The W rated it liked it W Rating : BFrom Here To Infinity: An Exploration of Science Fiction Literature (The Modern Scholar) by Michael Drout is a fun book for an introduction to the Science Fiction genre. This eight hour audio book was very easy and entertaining to listen to. Drout has a good way about him when he is talking about the decades and eras of science fiction. Drout breaks up his chapters into what he calls lectures. Since this book is what he uses to teach his class, I suppose that is exactly what they are W Rating : BFrom Here To Infinity: An Exploration of Science Fiction Literature (The Modern Scholar) by Michael Drout is a fun book for an introduction to the Science Fiction genre. This eight hour audio book was very easy and entertaining to listen to. Drout has a good way about him when he is talking about the decades and eras of science fiction. Drout breaks up his chapters into what he calls lectures. Since this book is what he uses to teach his class, I suppose that is exactly what they are. I really do not have much to be upset about concerning this text in general. Good read/listen.Drout starts off talking about the beginnings of science fiction (SF) with a brief discussion on Frankenstein and how he does not really want to give Shelly the credit. I agree. Shelly really does not use much of the science for her fiction novel and probably shouldn’t be included. Drout pushes more in favor of Verne and H. G. Wells instead as the “founders” of SF. I just finished The Time Machine so it was an immediate follow up for me when he spends a good portion of the lecture discussing it. The lectures flow from Wells, to the John W. Campbell era, The Big Three, to the 60’s and 70’s of experimentation, and the cyberpunk of the 80’s, to the 90’s and Stevenson, to the future. Drout includes a chapter on women in SF to speak and give their due to their influence. Throughout the lectures, Drout teaches and shows the evolution of SF from then to now and does it well.As stated, I really have no complaints on the format or the way or style in which this text was made. The pattern of time flowed well and the amount of depth given on the subject was very good. I do have a few disagreements and comments that I wish to give that are not necessarily about his book but his subject matter.SF is a genre that is often dismissed as a lesser in comparison to “true” literature. Drout and I agree very much so in this being a mistake of people and “critics.” SF has all the elements of literary merit but also adds in another race of people, technology, or changes the setting to the future/alternate reality. SF has a larger environment for the author than a standard fiction writer could ever have, and a truly good author utilizes that. I have read SF books that have very little in way of merit save the technology that the author is shoving down the reader’s throat. This is partially why is difficult for me, and I suspect I am not alone, to continue to read SF. I find it very tiresome to read pages and pages of this technology or this new world’s atmosphere or this new FTL device and its “science.” I do like the science. I do like the technology. I do like the details of all the worlds. I do not like it being the focus for hours of my life. SF writers seem to be poor in the character development and great at the world building. This is my problem that I have to get over in that I do not really care for a situation unless there is someone there for me to care about. Now, there are plenty of lesser SF writers out there. I find that Greg Bear is an easy example of “bad” yet loved SF. He writes large plots with terrible characters with no depth. He, apparently, senses this lack of character development because he spends a decent amount of time telling about where this character went to school, what food they like, the cat’s name, the unattractiveness of this character’s breast, and the uneven nipples. This is to give the character depth. I had no idea that this was depth. I have only read two of Bear’s books but they were both big in plot weak in “give a rat’s ass.” I find that “critics” are overly concerned about “style” and less about story, even in the SF world. Luckily, most of the books to win the Hugo and the Nebula that I have read have all been quite good. This allows me to still trust those awards more than critical praise. There is a problem with most literature getting sucked into the style of a novel and forgetting the story. You can do stream of consciousness and that is amazing and all that but to what effect? Does the reader care? Did this make this story better or were you playing with a new toy? I haven’t read enough of the 70’s SF to back up this next statement: 70’s SF was overly concerned with playing with “coulda” and not “shoulda” in their writings. Experimenting and pushing their style is just as annoying as pushing a “message.” H. G. Wells in The Time Machine has a message very plainly placed in the story. The sad part is that I have read the book twice and just now listened to it a month ago and still did not make the leap mostly due to it being slightly outdated to me. My point is that an author can place a message or meaning in a story without smashing the reader in the face with it. The use of style is an abused basis to which we judge stories. Pretty words make a great story not. Either way, this book was a good read, and I would recommend it to those who have already read a few SF stories. This small dip into the pool of SF would help give some dimension to the lectures. flag Like  · see review May 21, 2017 Lucas Michael rated it it was amazing Michael Drout is One of the finest Lecturer you can ever find. flag Like  · see review Mar 04, 2020 Alexandre Kappaun rated it it was amazing Shelves: ficção-científica A very good overview of the science fiction literary genre. The lecturer prof. Michael Drout is passionate about the subject and makes you fall in love with it. flag Like  · see review Apr 13, 2020 AGMaynard rated it liked it Shelves: audio Worthwhile 14-part lecture series surveying SF literature from ‘20/‘30s through the 1990’s. Wound up reading / sampling some suggested works and a reading list going forward. flag Like  · see review Jul 29, 2015 Benjamin Thomas rated it it was amazing Shelves: audio-books, sci-fi, non-fiction, books-about-books-or-reading, lecture-series Last year I had listened to Michael Drout’s series of fantasy literature lectures,Rings, Swords, and Monsters: Exploring Fantasy Literature, and thoroughly enjoyed them so I thought it was time to tackle his series on science fiction literature. I like to think I have a firm grasp on both fantasy and science fiction but after listening to this set, I now realize how little exposure I have had to the overall field of science fiction literature.Professor Drout’s style is contagious. He speaks fast Last year I had listened to Michael Drout’s series of fantasy literature lectures,Rings, Swords, and Monsters: Exploring Fantasy Literature, and thoroughly enjoyed them so I thought it was time to tackle his series on science fiction literature. I like to think I have a firm grasp on both fantasy and science fiction but after listening to this set, I now realize how little exposure I have had to the overall field of science fiction literature.Professor Drout’s style is contagious. He speaks fast but clearly, and obviously loves his subject matter. He is always enthusiastic and listening to these lectures was less like sitting in a lecture hall and more like sitting in a small room with fellow grad students, simply absorbing the one-way flow of knowledge and opinion. The series is mostly broken down chronologically starting at the early days of science fiction with Mary Shelley, Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. He then progresses through the decades and major themes such as cyberpunk, satire, and even includes one lecture on women authors such Ursula K Le Guin and Octavia E. Butler. Not only does he discuss their works, both well-known and lesser known, and provide plot summaries, he also manages to tie them all in together as a sort of dialogue between authors and between eras. i.e. how Neal Stephenson was influenced by Robert A. Heinlein and Isaac Asimov and how Douglas Adams was influenced by all that came before.Obviously when one prepares a series of lectures (there are a total of 14 here), one must choose which authors and which books to talk about. Not everybody will be 100% pleased with the final cut but I thought Professor Drout did a good job in this regard. Each choice he used served to illustrate the major movements of and impacts on the genre as a whole. Consequently, most of the material describes the classics and the famous. Of course he will discuss Dune and of course he will discuss Stranger in a Strange Land. Kim Stanley Robinson, L. Sprague de Camp, H.P. Lovecraft, Phillip K. Dick, William Gibson, etc. all get their due. But the lectures also include many authors and books that I was completely unaware of. Of course your favorite author might not be included but given time constraints I thought it was a great mix. It all ties together to help us understand what makes science fiction what it is and what it is not.Well done. flag Like  · see review Mar 05, 2017 Michael Brady rated it it was amazing Third time? I listen every few years at this point. flag Like  · see review Dec 03, 2011 Meter added it Familiarized me with some new authors. Covers many science fiction authors.http://www.recordedbooks.com/index.cf...pass:1079MDD Roots of SFMary Shelly - FrakensteinJules VerneHG Wells 1930'sWilliam Olaf StapledonJohn Wood CampbellHoward Phillips Lovecraft(The Call of Cthulhu.... , The Lurking Fear....)!!!Lovecraft is public domain now - see wikisoure.org Hard Boiled Science Fiction: 1940'sJohn Campbell(Who Goes There? = The Thing)Isaac Asimov(Foundation)Arthur C ClarkThe Grand Master: Robert Hei Familiarized me with some new authors. Covers many science fiction authors.http://www.recordedbooks.com/index.cf...pass:1079MDD Roots of SFMary Shelly - FrakensteinJules VerneHG Wells 1930'sWilliam Olaf StapledonJohn Wood CampbellHoward Phillips Lovecraft(The Call of Cthulhu.... , The Lurking Fear....)!!!Lovecraft is public domain now - see wikisoure.org Hard Boiled Science Fiction: 1940'sJohn Campbell(Who Goes There? = The Thing)Isaac Asimov(Foundation)Arthur C ClarkThe Grand Master: Robert Heinlen(The Past Through Tomorrow, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, The Rolling Stones, Starship Troopers, Stanger in a Strange Land) Good Young Adult. 1950'sWalter M Miller (A Canticle for Leibowitz)!!!Cordwainer Smith (The Rediscovery of Man: Complete Short Stories, Kindeness: The Dialectic of Cordwainer Smith) 1960's & 70'sSamuel Delaney (Babel-17)Philip K. Dick (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep)Thomas Disch (Camp Concentration)Michael Moorcock (New Worlds: An Anthology)Frank Herbert (Dune- BLAH) The Surrealists: Ballard and BradburyJ.G. Ballard (The Best Short Stories of J.G. Ballard)Ray Bradbury (The Martian Chronicles) Cyberpunk: 1980'sWilliam Gibson (Burning Chrome, Count Zero, Neuromancer)Rudy Rucker (Software) Slipstream: Neal StephensonCryptonomiconThe Diamond Age Snow Crash Women in SFUrsula K. Le Guin (The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed)Octavia Butler (Dawn, Bloodchild and Other Stories) The Shape of Things to Come(SF Now)HARDEST OF THE HARDEST SF ->Greg Egan (Axiomatic, Diasporia, Permutation City) Kim Stanley Robinson (Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars) flag Like  · see review Jul 12, 2016 Travis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition Shelves: non-fiction, sci-fi, lecture-series I tend to read more fantasy than science fiction so I thought it might be interesting to have an overview of the genre, to perhaps get a sense of what would be worth reading. It filled my first goal fairly admirably, since I now have a much better of the development of the genre over the last century or so. It didn't work so well for my second goal, in part because the summaries he provided of major works are so detailed that they seem to give away the majority of the plot, and often many of the I tend to read more fantasy than science fiction so I thought it might be interesting to have an overview of the genre, to perhaps get a sense of what would be worth reading. It filled my first goal fairly admirably, since I now have a much better of the development of the genre over the last century or so. It didn't work so well for my second goal, in part because the summaries he provided of major works are so detailed that they seem to give away the majority of the plot, and often many of the twists, so it almost seems redundant to try reading them. But also, these detailed accounts reveal that many of the books probably would not appeal to me anyway, so maybe knowing so much of the plot is useful.Overall, enjoyable. I give him bonus points for being the only academic I've encountered to acknowledge that Frankenstein never explicitly states that the monster is created from stitched together body parts, and that the book in fact suggests that the process the doctor used was to simply bring life to inanimate matter. But I also wonder about his aversion to the term speculative fiction; certainly science fiction is its own thing, but it is hard to deny that it has close connection with fantasy and horror and other genres-- a fact that is acknowledged in these lectures-- and I think speculative fiction does a good job of providing an umbrella term for these kind of works. flag Like  · see review Nov 12, 2013 Justin Tyme rated it really liked it The lecturer Professor Michael D.C. Drout is as passionate about science fiction as a pre-teen boy is about sneaking into a theater to see a forbidden sci-fi flick. And that’s what you want in a professor. He is articulate and well-versed in the genre. He divides the material into decades and themes in a way that allows the listener to both digest the voluminous material and see the genre’s progression though history.You might hope that, as he walks through the decades, Prof. Drout would note on The lecturer Professor Michael D.C. Drout is as passionate about science fiction as a pre-teen boy is about sneaking into a theater to see a forbidden sci-fi flick. And that’s what you want in a professor. He is articulate and well-versed in the genre. He divides the material into decades and themes in a way that allows the listener to both digest the voluminous material and see the genre’s progression though history.You might hope that, as he walks through the decades, Prof. Drout would note one of your favorite authors. Sadly, he may not. He skipped some of mine. But to be fair there are so many science fiction authors that he had to be selective, and he seems to have chosen those that typified subgenres such as cyberpunk and slipstream. I would have given this lecture series a 5 star rating had it not been his bias and praise for everything progressive. When it came to the Surrealists such as J. G. Ballard, the praise for progressiveness turned my stomach. (J. G. Ballard 's 1973 novel “Crash” is about a group of people who take sexual pleasure from car accidents.) This is twisted an sick. flag Like  · see review Feb 14, 2014 Julie Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition This is a wonderful overview of science fiction which has reminded me of many wonderful novels which I want to reread. I'm also really enjoying Drout's examination of what makes a story part of the science fiction genre. I've read Frankenstein twice now and Drout's overview gave new depth to my consideration of both the story and the genre. His comparison of John W. Campbell and H. P. Lovecraft illuminates not only the authors but the different forks in the road that their influence took the gen This is a wonderful overview of science fiction which has reminded me of many wonderful novels which I want to reread. I'm also really enjoying Drout's examination of what makes a story part of the science fiction genre. I've read Frankenstein twice now and Drout's overview gave new depth to my consideration of both the story and the genre. His comparison of John W. Campbell and H. P. Lovecraft illuminates not only the authors but the different forks in the road that their influence took the genre down. As he progresses through authors I've heard of but not tried (William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, etc.) Drout explains enough to help me to see their appeal as well as their contributions to the development of the genre.The one drawback is that Drout tends to tell the conclusion to every book he discusses so spoilers abound. In fact, I've had to skip ahead several times when the books seemed like something I wanted to try. Overall, however, very enjoyable and well done. flag Like  · see review Jun 15, 2019 Benjamin Hare rated it really liked it Shelves: science-fiction, nonfiction, yearly A detailed survey of the science fiction genre by a man who knows his material well and is passionate about explaining it. This series of fourteen lectures explains the roots of science fiction’s past from Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” all the way up to modern authors like Greg Egan, Neal Stephenson, and Kim Stanley Robinson. Drout’s passion for his subject shines through in each lecture as he shares observations from the vast scope of material he’s chosen to include. While he may be an academic A detailed survey of the science fiction genre by a man who knows his material well and is passionate about explaining it. This series of fourteen lectures explains the roots of science fiction’s past from Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” all the way up to modern authors like Greg Egan, Neal Stephenson, and Kim Stanley Robinson. Drout’s passion for his subject shines through in each lecture as he shares observations from the vast scope of material he’s chosen to include. While he may be an academic, he’s foremost a fan of the genre and this comes across in the infectious joy of his presentation. By the end you’ll have a long list of books to read and a deeper understanding of the way the genre has built upon itself through successive generations of imaginative writers. Highly recommended for fans of science fiction, or anyone who enjoys quality lectures. flag Like  · see review May 10, 2012 Andy rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction, audiobook, 2012, library, sf Still unsure whether this introductory course into SF literature deserves 3 or 4 stars, but I'm going with 4. Drout does a great job of compressing the entire history of SF into 14 half-hour lectures, and I understand he can't cover every author, but he does leave out several writers, the most important being Theodore Sturgeon. (To be fair, Drout mentions Sturgeon in passing once, but Sturgeon deserves more attention.) Other omissions are inevitable, especially with current trends. Although the Still unsure whether this introductory course into SF literature deserves 3 or 4 stars, but I'm going with 4. Drout does a great job of compressing the entire history of SF into 14 half-hour lectures, and I understand he can't cover every author, but he does leave out several writers, the most important being Theodore Sturgeon. (To be fair, Drout mentions Sturgeon in passing once, but Sturgeon deserves more attention.) Other omissions are inevitable, especially with current trends. Although the audiobook came out in 2006, I was still surprised that Steampunk was barely mentioned at all. Some really good stuff, though. A few things I wish Drout had pursued more: the argument that science fiction IS (or CAN be) literature and the various reasons for reading/writing sf. flag Like  · see review Jun 16, 2011 Kevin rated it it was amazing Another excellent lecture series from Prof. Drout. While similar to Prof. Drout's lecture series about fantasy literature, this science fiction focused series is built upon the premise that there isn't any one single author who dominates the science fiction genre in the way that J.R.R. Tolkien dominates fantasy literature. As such, the lectures are divided up pseudo-chronologically/thematically, and a wide range of works and authors are covered. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in sc Another excellent lecture series from Prof. Drout. While similar to Prof. Drout's lecture series about fantasy literature, this science fiction focused series is built upon the premise that there isn't any one single author who dominates the science fiction genre in the way that J.R.R. Tolkien dominates fantasy literature. As such, the lectures are divided up pseudo-chronologically/thematically, and a wide range of works and authors are covered. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in science fiction from a literary standpoint, especially those who are looking for some classic authors to discover. flag Like  · see review Sep 26, 2013 Jason rated it really liked it Shelves: science-fiction, history, non-fiction Reading this book made me want to meet Michael Drout, or take a class from him at the very least! Drout has a master's knowledge of all things literature, not just sci-fi. Within this genre he has a keen understanding of the various eras, thematic periods, definitions (I'd never hear of biopunk but it apparently does exist!), and seems to be a pretty level-headed judge of literature. I felt like I could really trust his recommendations as well as his warnings. He gives credit where credit is due Reading this book made me want to meet Michael Drout, or take a class from him at the very least! Drout has a master's knowledge of all things literature, not just sci-fi. Within this genre he has a keen understanding of the various eras, thematic periods, definitions (I'd never hear of biopunk but it apparently does exist!), and seems to be a pretty level-headed judge of literature. I felt like I could really trust his recommendations as well as his warnings. He gives credit where credit is due yet will also assertively denounce work that is shab or half-hearted. If you enjoy sci-fi this is a must read. flag Like  · see review Jun 08, 2014 J. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ rated it really liked it Shelves: own This was really great. It's a series of lectures, very interesting lectures, around the sci-fi genre. I added several of the mentioned books to my to-read list.I found the narration by Michael D.C. Drout to be well done.There was an idea tossed out that Mary Shelly's Frankenstein was science fiction for her time. As someone that would love to see sci/fi & fantasy permanently separated, I can see, but hate this idea.I look forward to Rings, Swords, and Monsters: Exploring Fantasy Literature also This was really great. It's a series of lectures, very interesting lectures, around the sci-fi genre. I added several of the mentioned books to my to-read list.I found the narration by Michael D.C. Drout to be well done.There was an idea tossed out that Mary Shelly's Frankenstein was science fiction for her time. As someone that would love to see sci/fi & fantasy permanently separated, I can see, but hate this idea.I look forward to Rings, Swords, and Monsters: Exploring Fantasy Literature also performed by Mr. Drout. flag Like  · see review « previous 1 2 3 next »

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