Cover image for The history of science fiction
The history of science fiction
Miller, Ron, 1947-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : F. Watts, [2001]

Physical Description:
144 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
P96.S34 M55 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This comprehensive overview takes a look at the pioneers and great writers of science fiction. The book discusses the diversity of the genre, considers its major themes, and examines a variety of science fiction formats including movies, books, and art.

Author Notes

Ron Miller has worked as a freelance writer and illustrator for more than 30 years. He has written short stories, nonfiction works, novels, and created a comic book. His illustrations have appeared in magazines such as Astronomy and Scientific American. He has also worked on motion pictures and created postage stamps.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 6-10. In his brief but competent overview, Miller shows the difficulty of defining science fiction before going on to highlight the genre's major male and female writers and its themes and forms. He traces the genre's roots back to seventeenth-century advances in science and technology, writers ranging from Edgar Allan Poe to Jules Verne, and the development of the dime novel, concluding that "by the beginning of the twentieth century, the foundations for science fiction had been laid." He also covers sf on both the big and little screens, art and noted artists, the importance of fandom, and the Hugo and Nebula Awards. Lists of recommended histories, encyclopedias, sf titles, movies, magazines, and Web sites round out a treatment that makes a good starting point for the novice. Black-and-white illustrations enhance the lively text. --Sally Estes

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-7-Simplistic, dated, and shot through with factual errors and debatable generalizations, this literary and thematic survey falls well below usual standards. Miller kites through speculative fiction's first 1500 or so years, pausing to misinform readers that 17th-century scientists "were free to openly share their discoveries" (tell that to Galileo!), surveying early modern SF from Frankenstein to the rise of dime novels, and on to the ensuing "Golden Age." Then, a chapter laughably entitled "Science Fiction Today" introduces such up-and-coming authors as Frank Herbert, Joan D. Vinge, Terry Pratchett, and Diana Wynne Jones. After covering SF films and TV in 12 pages and tallying the genre's major themes-rarely if ever using examples newer than the early 1990s-Miller opens a concluding essay disparaging science fiction's predictive abilities with the eyebrow-raising assertion that "there have been more science fiction books accepted as good literature than in any other category of fiction." The muddy, infrequent black-and-white illustrations include lurid old magazine covers, aging paperback reprints, and familiar stills from classic movies. As incorrect statements about Alfred Bester's The Demolished Man and Hal Clement's Mission of Gravity show, Miller is not as familiar with the books he mentions as he might be, and virtually none of the titles on his concluding list of recommended reading are newer than 15 years old. Wait for a more authoritative, up-to-date history.-John Peters, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.