Alvaro Zinos-Amaro Reviews After Human: A Critical History of the Hu­man in Science Fiction from Shelley to Le Guin by Thomas Connolly

After Human: A Critical History of the Hu­man in Science Fiction from Shelley to Le Guin, Thomas Connolly (Liverpool University Press 978-1800348165, $130, 240pp, hc) May 2021.

What is meant, or assumed to be meant, by human, non-human, and whatever division between them stands the test of various philosophical and science fictional thought experiments, falls centrally within this book’s ambit. As Thomas Connolly states in the Introduction to his ...Read More

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Alvaro Zinos-Amaro Reviews Vivid Tomorrows: On Science Fiction and Holly­wood by David Brin

Vivid Tomorrows: On Science Fiction and Holly­wood, David Brin (McFarland 978-1-4766-8338-6, $29.95, 241pp, tp) March 2021.

In addition to his well-established body of fictional work, David Brin has been writing genre-related non-fiction since the 1980s. More recently, he co-edited the anthologies King Kong Is Back! An Unauthorized Look at One Humongous Ape (2005) and Star Wars on Trial (2006) – his con­tributions to both of which are reprinted here ...Read More

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Alvaro Zinos-Amaro Reviews Michael Bishop and the Persistence of Wonder by Joe Sanders

Michael Bishop and the Persistence of Wonder: A Critical Study of the Writings, Joe Sanders (McFarland 978-1476671512, $39.95, 202pp, pb) January 2021.

Paul Di Filippo concluded his thoughtful re­view of Michael Bishop’s The Sacerdotal Owl and Three Other Long Tales (2018) by recommending that Bishop be considered for a Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award, and I’d like to echo that sentiment here. Besides Bishop’s rich body of work, ...Read More

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Alvaro Zinos-Amaro Reviews Pocket Workshop: Essays on Living as a Writer, Edited by Tod McCoy & M. Huw Evans

Pocket Workshop: Essays on Living as a Writer, Tod McCoy & M. Huw Evans, eds. (Hy­dra House 978-0997951073, $17.95, 196pp, pb) February 2021.

Gathered here are 28 essays (six reprints, 22 originals) by instructors of the Clarion West Writers Workshop, intended, as Tod McCoy explains in his foreword, as “a way to give back to a community who may not be able to attend the workshop by delivering thoughts ...Read More

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The Colour of 2020 by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro

Our very strange year invited, among other things, mournful reflections on a past that felt abruptly truncated, and a number of non-fiction titles, though surely in production before the world’s temporary suspension, were eerily attuned to this backward gaze. Then again, SF/F/H have a tendency to steep themselves deeply in their own genre pasts and traditions, even as they often compost these into unexpected futures, so the apparent synchronicity may ...Read More

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Alvaro Zinos-Amaro Reviews Horror Fiction in the 20th Century by Jess Nevins

Horror Fiction in the 20th Century: Explor­ing Literature’s Most Chilling Genre, Jess Nevins (Praeger 978-1440862052, $50.00, 277pp, hc) January 2020.

Over the course of 16 chapters split into three sections – “1901–1939, The Golden Age”, “1940–1970, Midcentury Frights”, and “1971–2000, The Boom Years” – Jess Nevins proves that he is not only a well-documented, reliable chronicler of the story of modern horror, but also a sharp observer of previous ...Read More

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Alvaro Zinos-Amaro Reviews Science Fiction: Documents of Contemporary Art, Edited by Dan Byrne-Smith

Science Fiction: Documents of Contemporary Art, Dan Byrne-Smith, ed. (The MIT Press 978-0262538855, $24.95, 240pp, pb) April 2020.

The question of who the intended readership is for the non-fiction anthology Science Fiction, edited by Dan Byrne-Smith for the Documents of Contemporary Art MIT Press series, kept nagging at me throughout. The series, we are told, focuses on subjects ‘‘of key influence in contemporary art internationally’’ and seeks to ...Read More

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Alvaro Zinos-Amaro Reviews Monster, She Wrote by Lisa Kröger & Melanie R. Anderson

Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pio­neered Horror and Speculative Fiction, Lisa Kröger & Melanie R. Anderson (Quirk Books 978-1683691389, $19.99, 288pp, hc) September 2019.

“Why are women great at writ­ing horror fiction?” ask Lisa Kröger & Melanie R. Ander­son in the Introduction to this excellent primer on women writers and the history of horror. One possible answer: “Maybe because horror is a transgressive genre…. In any era, women ...Read More

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Alvaro Zinos-Amaro Reviews Hidden Wyndham: Life, Love, Letters Amy Binns

Hidden Wyndham: Life, Love, Letters, Amy Binns (Grace Judson Press 978-0992756710, $14.95, 304pp, pb) October 2019.

In the Preface to his biography of Somerset Maugham, who was notoriously uncooperative with biographers, Ted Morgan recounts how Maugham directed his executors to prevent the publication of his letters. “Maugham,” writes Morgan, “who had spent most of his long life prying into the affairs of humankind, did not want his own affairs ...Read More

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Alvaro Zinos-Amaro Reviews The Time Machine Hypothesis by Damien Broderick

The Time Machine Hypothesis: Extreme Science Meets Science Fiction, Damien Broderick (Springer 978-3030161774, $27.99, 244pp, pb) July 2019.

J. Richard Gott III’s epigraph in Damien Brod­erick’s engaging survey may contain a mission statement of sorts: “To appreciate what scientists are studying now, an excellent first step is to explore major time-travel themes in science fiction, where many ideas in this arena were first advanced.” Brod­erick undertakes this exploration with ...Read More

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Alvaro Zinos-Amaro Reviews Lost Transmissions, Edited by Desirina Boskovich

Lost Transmissions: The Secret History of Sci­ence Fiction and Fantasy, Desirina Boskovich, ed. (Harry N. Abrams 978-1419734656, $29.99, 288pp, hc) September 2019.

Desirina Boskovich, who with Jeff VanderMeer previously authored the informative and visually sumptuous The Steampunk User’s Manual (2014), here brings us a delightful potpourri of 80 essays and interviews on all manner of things imaginary, with dazzling complementary illustra­tions. The book’s subtitle, “The Secret History of Science ...Read More

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Alvaro Zinos-Amaro Reviews Aliens in Popular Culture, Edited by Michael M. Levy & Far­ah Mendlesohn

Aliens in Popular Culture, Michael M. Levy & Far­ah Mendlesohn, eds. (Greenwood 978-1440838323, $94.00, 335pp, hc) March 2019.

Back in the antediluvian days of high school, I’d look forward to lazy Saturday mornings spent perusing Peter Nicholls & John Clute’s landmark The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. I mention this not merely for nostalgia’s sake, but because my recent experience reading the encyclo­pedic volume on hand is the closest ...Read More

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ALVARO ZINOS-AMARO

ALVARO ZINOS-AMARO, Roundtable Editor, is co-author of a book of interviews with Robert Silverberg, Traveler of Worlds, that was a Hugo and Locus Award finalist in 2017. Alvaro’s more than thirty stories and one hundred reviews, essays and interviews have appeared in magazines like Clarkesworld, Asimov‘s, Apex, Analog, Lightspeed, Nature, Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Galaxy’s Edge, Lackington’s, and anthologies such as The Year’s Best Science Fiction & ...Read More

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