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Building New Worlds is a history of a pivotal decades-long episode in the birth and growth of today's science fiction. Enthralling and amusing, it's written with affection and wit. This is no dry, modishly theorized academic analysis. Nor is it a rah-rah celebration of the "Good Old Days." Here is a candid and astute reader's response to a magazine that,...
Building New Worlds is a history of a pivotal decades-long episode in the birth and growth of today's science fiction. Enthralling and amusing, it's written with affection and wit. This is no dry, modishly theorized academic analysis. Nor is it a rah-rah celebration of the "Good Old Days." Here is a candid and astute reader's response to a magazine that, by today's standards, was often comically bad--but was also immensely important in its time, and improved, like the Little Engine (or maybe Starship) That Could. New Worlds is best remembered today as the fountainhead of the New Wave of audacious experimental SF in the second half of the 1960s, under editor Michael Moorcock. But these first pioneering issues, from 1946-59, were edited by the magazine's founder, John "Ted" Carnell (1912-72). Carnell was a pillar of the old-style UK SF establishment, but gamely supportive of innovators--most famously, of the brilliant J. G. Ballard, Brian W. Aldiss, and John Brunner, whose early work he nurtured. The story of how New Worlds got started, survived, and got better is essential to the history of the genres of the fantastic in the UK--and indeed, the world. And huge fun to read. Watch for the companion volumes, New Worlds: Before the New Wave, and Strange Highways, dealing with New World's companion magazine, Science Fantasy.
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