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Publisher's Summary

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.
©2006 Michael D. C. Drout; (P)2006 Recorded Books, LLC
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Jens on 12-15-08

Really interesting, engaging lecture

As an avid Science Fiction reader, I am already pretty excited about the genre, but professor Drout got me even more excited. Although the lecture is rather concise and a few things could have been explored in more detail (I personally missed more information about Arthur C. Clarke, as I do not know that much about him), no major writer is missing and the whole lecture follows a well thought-out plan. What makes this audiobook better than any other recording of a lecture I have listened to, is a) that it obviously was conceived as an audio book and not a lecture and b) professor Drout is actually a very good narrator. He seems to improvise some times, adds some jokes here and there, but most importantly for a recorded lecture, you can hear his enthusiasm all the time.
I will definitely get his Fantasy lecture next month and I recommend this Science Fiction lecture to anyone who does have at least a slight interest in the genre or literature in general.

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18 of 18 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Tim on 01-30-09

Excellent Scope and Excellent Analysis!

This is my second lecture series by Dr. Drout. His pleasant personality comes through in the way he communicates with you. He is knowledgeable and articulate, but yet brings things down to a level everyone can understand.

This is a great overview of Science Fiction literature. He hits all the biggies (Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, Lovecraft, Bradbury) and some lesser knowns as well.

His analysis of some of the underlying themes and the effect of culture on the genre (and vice versa) was really insightful. I also appreciate that he appears to have read a boatload of science fiction, but yet is also a student of the classics, which gives him a broader perspective when offering literary criticism and stylistic observatiions.

The only authors I was suprised to see missing were Ben Bova and Michael Crichton. However, even so, this is a great primer for those just getting their feet wet in Science Fiction, and those who have been reading for years! I even picked up 10-12 new books that I'd like to read.

Great job Dr. Drout!

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14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By SCH on 07-07-14

Excellent but a little US centred

Where does From Here to Infinity rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the best no lecture based books Drout is clear and to the point

Any additional comments?

This account of a history of science fiction was excellent covers the main writers but falls short for the more recent works.Much emphasis on modern US writers, but does not really look at British writers, Arthur C Clarke for example, while mentioned does not get the credit I feel he should, maybe I am biased but equally no mention of writers such as Alistair Reynolds, or Iain M Bank. Any selection will show a preference as does my idea that they should be included but a pity as otherwise an excellent history.

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3 out of 5 stars
By Olivier on 01-29-13

Excellent Until Halfway

There is a lot to commend in Professor Drout's lectures on Science Fiction Literature.

The speaker's delivery is impeccable; no pause or hesitation, for almost 8 hours. It is also clear that Professor Drout knows a lot about the Science Fiction genre (although his area of specialization is Fantasy, most specifically J.R. Tolkien).

Until the end of the lecture on Heinlein, I really enjoyed the contents. But, afterwards, the lectures ceased to be on Science Fiction and became English Litterature, focusing on Surrealism and weird avant-garde authors, whose books often could not be classified as Science Fiction, and are extremely hard to read, by the lecturer's own admission. The last few lectures also got more and more politically correct, with the lecturer choice of "the best ever Science Fiction story" being just over the top (hint, to use PC-parlance, it was not written by a DWM).

If, like me, Science Fiction is entertainment for you, then you'll also disconnect when the lectures start covering the 1970's and 1980's (though I did listen to the very end). If, however, you are an English Litterature scholar, then you may enjoy learning about Science Fiction from a fellow scholar.

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0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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