In Search of Wonder

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by Damon Knight

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More by Damon Knight

In Search of Wonder


The Futurians

The Observers

A Reasonable World

The World and Thorinn

Creating Short Fiction

Hell's Pavement

Beyond the Barrier

The Rithian Terror

Mind Switch

Why Do Birds

A classic must-have for all readers and writers of science fiction!

Damon Knight effectively invented science fiction criticism. His reviews were not mere statements of his personal preferences—his skillful essays analyzed the books and told why they were good or bad, to the edification of readers, the delight of good writers, and the embarrassment of bad ones.

In this unique critical study of science fiction, Mr. Knight works on the principle that science fiction is a form of literature which needs no apologies and no special dispensations: it can and should be judged by the same high standards that apply to all literature. His incisive and knowing criticism covers the field brilliantly, from "Classics" to "Chuckleheads."

Readers will delight in his laser-sharp thoughts on favorite books, and writers will find his criqitues of the classics invaluable in improving their own craft.

This expanded Third Edition is 150,000 words, up from 120,000 in the 1967 Second Edition, and double the length of the 1956 First Edition.

This new edition adds a chapter of autobiography, articles on writing and teaching science fiction, and other fascinating essays. Even if you already have the first or second editions, you should consider getting this edition simply for the new material, which includes: Chapter 1: Myself When Young [autobiographical]; Chap. 13: The Excluded Data [about Charles Fort]; Chap. 29: Milford and Clarion; Chap. 30: Science and the World; Chap. 31: What Is Science Fiction, Anyway?; Chap. 32: Writing Science Fiction; a major expansion of Chapter 5, discussing John W. Campbell, Jr.; and other additions and emendations.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction by Anthony Boucher
  • Author's Notes
  • Myself When Young
  • Critics
  • The Classics
  • Chuckleheads
  • Campbell and His Decade
  • Cosmic Jerrybuilder: A. E. van Vogt
  • Half-Bad Writers
  • One Sane Man: Robert A. Heinlein
  • Asimov and Empire
  • More Chuckleheads
  • When I Was in Kneepants: Ray Bradbury
  • The Vorpal Pen: Theodore Sturgeon
  • The Excluded Data: Charles Fort
  • Microcosmic Moskowitz
  • Anthologies
  • Half Loaves
  • Genius to Order: Kuttner and Moore
  • Kornbluth and the Silver Lexicon
  • The Jagged Blade: James Blish
  • Overalls on Parnassus: Fletcher Pratt
  • Amphibians
  • New Stars
  • Curiosa
  • br-r-r!
  • Decadents
  • Britons
  • Pitfalls and Dead Ends
  • Symbolism
  • Milford and Clarion
  • Science and the World
  • What Is Science Fiction, Anyway?
  • Writing Science Fiction
  • What next
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Knight has long been a pithy and insightful commentator on science fiction, and the new material—written mostly a decade or more ago--alters that description in neither jot nor tittle ... his book is the perfect companion to your collection of favorites.


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