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The Science of Science Fiction Writing


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About the Author

James Gunn, emeritus professor of English at the University of Kansas, has published 36 books and nearly 100 short stories. His novels include The Immortals, The Joy Makers, The Listeners, and The Dreamers. He has published seven collections of short stories, including Future Imperfect and Breaking Point. As a professor, he taught fiction writing and science fiction, including a long-running intensive Writers Workshop in Science Fiction. His books about science fiction include Alternate Worlds: The Illustrated History of Science Fiction, Isaac Asimov: The Foundations of Science Fiction, Inside Science Fiction, and the six-volume The Road to Science Fiction. He has now pulled together his experience in writing science fiction and helping others write fiction into The Science of Science-Fiction Writing. Gunn is the 24th writer recognized by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America as a Grand Master.


"I've shared the annual Lawrence Writer's Workship with Jim Gunn on and off for nearly thirty years-and many other workshops with many other leaders as well-and I've come to one simple conclusion. He's the best." -- Frederik Pohl, Author of The Space Merchants, Gateway, and Man Plus, former president of The Science Fiction Writers of Ameri
This pragmatic overview covers virtually every important aspect of writing science fiction. A valuable tool for aspiring SF authors, and a treat for fans with an appreciation for literary history and theory. * Kirkus *
Practical advice for anyone who aspires to write popular fiction, this clear-sighted guide is a must. * Publishers Weekly *
James Gunn (born 1923) is certainly a vastly experienced sf writer..he is also a well-known anthologist, so his advice here may be sager tan that to be found in most books of this type. * Interzone *
...he [Gunn] clearly and comprehensively explains distinctive characteristics of SF...any wannabe writer could learn a lot from this readable and well-organized guide... * Sfra Review *
The Science of Science-Fiction Writing is a course packet for a writing course in sf, except that it is bound, cheaper than most course packets, far better proofread, scrupulous in observing copyright - and it is by James Gunn...Gunn's advice is classical, conservative, sensible, stressing character and emotional appeal...He pushes writers toward disciplined service to their audience...he should be learned from, and, if one can't go to one of his workshops, The Science of Science Fiction Writing is a fine place to study what he has to teach. * Science Fiction Studies *
...the number one reason to pick up The Science of Science-Fiction Writing is a most invaluable section that one wonders why more books on writing haven't included something similiar: an outline of all the advice Gunn gave during a workshop in 1998 - likely, if a writer subjected his story to the rigorous distillations here, his story would sell somewhere...It introduces and offers morsels of advice that won't be found could benefit from the sagacity of Gunn's sixty-plus years of experience. -- Trent Walters * Sf Site *
Gunn takes the reader through a careful process of writing SF...The book is very well organized...anyone with an interest in writing SF will find this book of considerable value as Gunn shares his exceptional insight into the world of SF writing. * Extrapolation *
Science fiction has often been criticized, especially in its early days, for an alleged tendency to neglect characterization and character development. There has been some basis in truth for this, though anyone who thinks is has always been true or always an intrinsic fault should read the chapter on characters... -- Stanley Schmidt
The best introduction in print not only to writing but also to reading science fiction....All SF teachers, indeed any teacher of literature, will benefit from the chapters devoted to the reasons people read fiction, the anatomy of the short story, and the creation of believable characters. Gunn blends his expertise as both teacher and writer to fashion a work of value to any teacher or reader of science fiction. * Anatomy of Wonder, 5th Edition *

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