Gary K. Wolfe

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19 Quotations from Gary K. Wolfe

alternate history n. 2002 G. K. Wolfe in Locus Jan. 19/1 Few alternate history tales really concern themselves with alternate history at all, in the sense of tracing large patterns of historical change; instead they tend to focus on alternate presents, with the evolutionary processes that lead to such presents sketched in with a few paragraphs of backstory.
alternate history n. 2002 G. K. Wolfe in Locus Jan. 19/1 From the beginning, though, Robinson’s interest in the alternate-history motif was far more complex than what the subgenre has since turned into, with alterations in history viewed as little more story machines and setting generators.
disaster adj. 1986 G. K. Wolfe Critical Terms for Science Fiction & Fantasy 22 Cosmic disaster story, Kingsley Amis' phrase for a long-popular tradition of science fiction and fantasy stories that deal with world- or even universe-threatening disasters brought on by natural forces (as in John Christopher’s No Blade of Grass, 1956, which Amis discusses) or by human folly (as in numerous nuclear war tales; see Post-Holocaust). Amis argues that such tales differ from other science fiction in that they bear no real extrapolative or analogical relationship with our own society, but instead may be used to explore propositions about the nature of society and human interaction. (Amis does not mention the nature of reality, which came increasingly to be of central concern in J. G. Ballard’s series of disaster novels such as The Crystal World, 1966.) Such works are perhaps more commonly referred to simply as ‘disaster stories’ or ‘disaster novels’.
epic fantasy n. 1986 G. K. Wolfe Critical Terms for Science Fiction & Fantasy 31 Epic fantasy, fantasy that shares characteristics common to the epic, such as elevated style, grandly heroic figures, vast settings, and supernatural intervention—all involved in a struggle in which some central cultural value or values are at stake. Publishers have come to use the term somewhat more loosely to describe almost any multivolume fantasy work.
fantastic n. 1 2002 G. K. Wolfe Malebolge, or Ordnance of Genre in Conjunctions No. 39 What passed for literary debate about the nature of the fantastic was by now purely proletarian: in the letter columns of the magazines, a farmer from Kansas might have an equal platform with the writers and editors themselves, and might even have an edge, since he (or she) was holding next month’s quarter.
fantasy n. 1 1986 G. K. Wolfe Critical Terms for Science Fiction & Fantasy 52 Heroic fantasy, often commercially applied to Sword and Sorcery tales featuring muscular barbarian heroes, but sometimes to any variety of Epic or Quest fantasy, particularly those that derive from specific heroic tradition, such as Arthurian tales.
fantasy n. 1 1986 G. K. Wolfe Critical Terms for Science Fiction & Fantasy 52 High fantasy, fantasy set in a fully imagined Secondary World, according to Boyer and Zahorski, as opposed to Low Fantasy which concerns supernatural intrusions into the ‘real’ world.
genre n. 2002 G. K. Wolfe Malebolge No. 39 417 But matters grow yet more complex, in the work of these writers and others, as the borders of genre themselves begin to dissolve, along with the borders between genre fiction and literary fiction.
genre fantasy n. 2002 G. K. Wolfe Malebolge, or Ordnance of Genre No. 39 415 This search for a usable past and respectable relatives continued well into the 1970s when genre fantasy, now established as a viable market segment in the wake of the Tolkien craze of the sixties, began to seek its own roots: the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series, edited by Lin Carter from 1969 through 1974, reprinted works by William Morris, James Branch Cabell, and George Meredith together with classic genre and pulp writers; surely one of the irreproducible moments of the lingering 1960s was discovering a mass-market prose translation of Book I of Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso at the local newsstand in January of 1973.
golden age n. 2002 G. K. Wolfe Malebolge, or Ordnance of Genre in Conjunctions No. 39 413 Even today, the Hugo Awards presented at the annual world convention of science fiction fans are named after the field’s first famous editor, Hugo Gernsback, who founded Amazing Stories in 1926, and readers often refer to the genre’s ‘golden age’—the period which introduced such now-revered authors as Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein—as ‘the Campbell era,’ after John W. Campbell, Jr., who began editing Astounding Stories (which he quickly renamed Astounding Science Fiction ) in 1937.
heroic fantasy n. 1986 G. K. Wolfe Critical Terms for Science Fiction & Fantasy 52 Heroic fantasy, often commercially applied to Sword and Sorcery tales featuring muscular barbarian heroes, but sometimes to any variety of Epic or Quest fantasy, particularly those that derive from specific heroic tradition, such as Arthurian tales.
high fantasy n. 1986 G. K. Wolfe Critical Terms for Science Fiction & Fantasy 52 High fantasy, fantasy set in a fully imagined Secondary World, according to Boyer and Zahorski, as opposed to Low Fantasy which concerns supernatural intrusions into the ‘real’ world.
New Wave n. 1986 G. K. Wolfe Critical Terms for Science Fiction & Fantasy 81 New Wave, Françoise Giroud’s term (nouvelle vague ) to describe a group of younger French film directors who emerged in the late 1950s has since been enthusiastically appropriated by promoters of almost any unconventional movement within a popular art form previously characterized by conventions or formulae. In science fiction, the term was introduced by Judith Merril in a 1966 essay for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (‘Books’, 30, no. 1 [January 1966] ) to refer to the highly metaphorical and sometimes experimental fiction that began to appear in the English magazine New Worlds after Michael Moorcock assumed the editorship in 1964, and that was later popularized in the United States through Merril’s own appallingly titled anthology England Swings SF: Stories of Speculative Fiction (Garden City: Doubleday, 1968). Although Harlan Ellison’s anthology of original stories the preceding year (Dangerous Visions, Garden City: Doubleday, 1967) has sometimes been retroactively credited with unleashing the American version of the New Wave, and though Ellison spoke of the book as ‘a revolution’ of ‘new horizons, new forms, new styles, new challenges’, Ellison himself has expressed chagrin at having once been labeled the ‘chief prophet’ of the New Wave in America (by The New Yorker : ‘The Talk of the Town: Evolution and Ideation’ [September 16, 1967] ). Similarly, many of the other writers associated with this movement, such as Brian Aldiss, J. G. Ballard, Thomas M. Disch, Samuel R. Delany, and Robert Silverberg, have on frequent occasions expressed disdain for or confusion over the term. Nevertheless, writers associated with the New Wave have been credited with introducing new narrative strategies into science fiction, with releasing the power of science fiction images as metaphor, and with weakening the boundaries that had long separated science fiction from Mainstream Fiction.
non-genre adj. 2002 G. K. Wolfe Malebolge No. 39 418 At the same time that genre materials begin flowing freely into one another, we begin to see evidence of an even more peculiar development: the nongenre genre story.
post-apocalyptic adj. 2003 G. K. Wolfe Locus Looks at Books in Locus Apr. 19/2 Veniss Underground, a post-apocalyptic far future urban novel with some echoes of Vance and Wolfe, and particularly of the longstanding secret underground city tradition, offers some answers, and for the most part they're quite pleasant.
proto-science fiction n. 1986 G. K. Wolfe Critical Terms for Science Fiction & Fantasy 46 While such formal characteristics may enable historians of science fiction to include, for example, Dante’s Divine Comedy (1311) as part of the great tradition of Proto Science Fiction, the contextual approach would correct this by pointing out that neither Dante nor his readers were aware of any science fiction tradition and that modern science fiction readers would not expect to find such a work as the Divine Comedy in the pages of their favorite magazines.
science fiction n. 1986 G. K. Wolfe Critical Terms for Science Fiction & Fantasy 120 Soft science fiction, probably a back-formation from Hard Science Fiction, and used sometimes to refer to science fiction based in the so-called soft sciences (anthropology, sociology, etc.), and sometimes to refer to science fiction in which there is little science or little awareness of science at all.
soft science fiction n. 1986 G. K. Wolfe Critical Terms for Science Fiction & Fantasy 120 Soft science fiction, probably a back-formation from Hard Science Fiction, and used sometimes to refer to science fiction based in the so-called soft sciences (anthropology, sociology, etc.), and sometimes to refer to science fiction in which there is little science or little awareness of science at all.
sword and sorcery n. 1986 G. K. Wolfe Critical Terms for Science Fiction & Fantasy 52 Heroic fantasy, often commercially applied to Sword and Sorcery tales featuring muscular barbarian heroes, but sometimes to any variety of Epic or Quest fantasy, particularly those that derive from specific heroic tradition, such as Arthurian tales.