This collection of essays displays the talent and insight that make the Panshins the obvious and worthy successors to Damon Knight and James Blish in the field of science fiction and fantasy criticism. The Panshins document the evolution of a new and fruitful paradigm and offer a challenge to all conventional opinion about science fiction. They demonstrate that the conception of science fiction as fiction about science was fatally compromised from the outset. They trace the continuity of science fiction with man's most ancient and meaningful stories, the great fantasy of the past, and find this continuity in symbols of transcendent mystery.
Nearly half of this book is devoted to studying the works of Robert Heinlein, extending and reconsidering the analysis begun in Heinlein in Dimension, and concluding with a long discussion of The Number of the Beast.
The Panshin team applies theories of human psychological development to show the deeper meanings of the stories of Heinlein and other authors. They say: "In the mirror of a science fiction story may be seen a reflection of the author. In the mirror of science fiction stories may be seen a reflection of an era. And in our reading of science fictionthe stories we choose and what we make of themmay be seen a reflection of ourselves. We read science fiction to know ourselves better."
Table of Contents
- Preface: SF in Dimension
- Part 1: The Nature of SF
- The Magic of Their Singing
- The Elizabethan Theatre in 1590
- The Short History of Science Fiction
- Searching for the Heartland
- The World Beyond the Hill
- Part 2: SF in the Seventies
- Science Fiction: New Trends and Old
- The Special Nature of Fantasy
- Reflections and Commentaries
- Heinlein Reread
- Reading Heinlein Subjectively
- Time Enough for Love
- "Found in Space," by R. Monroe Weems
- Part 4: The Renewal of SF
- Fiction and Human Development
- The Unicorn and the Mirror
- Farwell to Yesterday's Tomorrow
- Intuition and Mystery
- A New Worldview
- Part 5: A Season of Change
- The Past and the Future of SF
- The End of the Ghetto?
- Dealing with Higher Realities
- The Death of Science Fiction: A Dream