The Science of Science-fiction Writing

by James Gunn

Scarecrow Press, November, 2000.
Trade Paperback, 232 pages.
ISBN: 1578860113

The Science of Science-fiction Writing by James Gunn This thorough reference helps writers get to the heart and soul of science fiction writing and learn more about the history of science fiction, its appeal to readers and how to improve their own science fiction short stories and novels. The reference begins with an interesting chapter on why people read science fiction. The next section includes chapters on the art and craft of writing, which covers finding ideas, heroes, heroines and villains, creating suspense, characterization, scenes and dialogue. The book also includes profiles of well-known authors such as H.G. Wells, Heinlein and Asimov. The profiles explore each of these author's writing styles, how they came to write science fiction and what influenced their writing. The appendix in the book provides a valuable collection of a student's notes from a science fiction writer's workshop. The syllabus for the workshop, including readings and assignments, is also provided.

James Gunn, a science fiction novelist, editor and emeritus professor of English at the University of Kansas, has been involved with the science fiction genre for forty years. He conveys a great deal of his knowledge to the reader in concise form in this book. Gunn's instruction is provided in a helpful tone that both inspires and teaches. He also refers to well-known writers throughout the text, including authors such as Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemmingway, Marion Zimmer Bradley and Larry Niven, to help explain the process of writing. The Science of Science-Fiction Writing is an impressive writer's aide that serious science fiction writers should have on their bookshelves.

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This review was published in the March, 2001 of The Internet Writing Journal.

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