Shippey's introduction is a survey of some of the defining characteristics of science fiction. Two of the essays take postmodernist approaches and talk about Gibson a lot; neither of these appealed much to me, but that's probably just prejudice on my part (I never understood all the fuss about Neuromancer, and suffer nonsense like "In Neuromancer we are seeing evidence of a new, perhaps the final, stage in the trajectory of science fiction" poorly). On specialised subjects, one essay looks at the relationship between Starship Troopers, The Forever War and the Vietnam war, while another considers the origins of the "underpeople" in the work of Cordwainer Smith. More general essays look at the appearance of museums in works of science fiction, at "the fall of America" as a recurrent theme, and at the role of linguistics and language.
All of the essays, even the postmodernist ones, are light on jargon, and Fictional Space may interest readers of science fiction who wouldn't normally touch literary criticism.
- Related reviews:
- Tom Shippey - The Road to Middle-Earth; J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century
- more literary criticism
- more science fiction