Renowned science fiction scholar Robert M. Philmus offers in Visions and Revisions a fresh and provocative literary analysis of science fiction writing. He critically examines the works of some of the most prominent writers to have written in the genre—including Evgeny Zamiatin, Karel Capek, Jorge Luis Borges, Italo Calvino, and Stanislaw Lem, along with English-language authors from H.G. Wells to Ursula Le Guin—and reveals how their works illustrate the fundamental elements of science fiction writing. The former editor of Science Fiction Studies, Philmus casts his expert eye on a diverse range of short stories and novels by the premier arbiters of the craft, with close readings that draw upon the theories of New Criticism as well as post-Modern. Featuring essays such as “Stanislaw Lem’s Futurological Congress as a Metageneric Text,” “Kurt Vonnegut: Historiographer of the Absurd: The Sirens of Titan,” “Ursula K. Le Guin and Time’s Dispossession,” and “Time Out of Joint: The World(s) of Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle,” the volume provides an in-depth textual examination that reveals why science fiction is a “revisionary genre.” Visions and Revisions will be of immense value to scholars of literature and science fiction studies.
Philmus succeeds in illuminating every work he discusses . . . The result is . . . some of the best close readings of SF texts that I have seen in a long time, but also a sustained contribution to the theory of genre and to the theory of literature itself.