Partly because holidays – but mainly because, dammit, everyone should be consulting it regularly – this week’s posts will all be taken from the 4 million-plus words of authority and erudition that are The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. Today: Damien Broderick . . .
(Born April 22nd, 1944) Australian writer, editor and critic; he has a PhD in the semiotics of fiction, science and sf with special reference to the work of Samuel R Delany. He has edited four anthologies of Australian sf: The Zeitgeist Machine (anth 1977), Strange Attractors (anth 1985), Matilda at the Speed of Light (anth 1988) and Centaurus: The Best of Australian Science Fiction (anth 1999) with David G Hartwell. As a critic deeply involved in Postmodernism and SF and in attempts to reconcile academic understandings of the field with his own transparent love of the works themselves, he is well known for Transrealist Fiction: Writing in the Slipstream of Science (2000) and x, y, z, t: dimensions of science fiction (2004 pod), which can be read together as a kind of diptych of informed critical takes and thrusts. His most widely influential study, however, may be Reading by Starlight: Post-Modern Science Fiction (1995), where he introduced the term SF Megatext, taken over from fantasy criticism, to designate the pool – it might be described as a kind of global index – of story forms, terms, associations, turns of phrase, references, tropes and Memes that marks or stains almost every sf story written. The very rare story that may have been written with no conscious knowledge of this intricate conversation will probably reflect unconscious influences, and/or reinvent the wheel: that is, repeat sf situations and solutions already laid down, perhaps frequently (> Adam and Eve; Clichés). More recently, Science Fiction: The 101 Best Novels 1985-2010 (2012) with Paul Di Filippo was written as a deliberate continuation of David Pringle‘s Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels: 1949-1984 (1985); some omissions and eccentric inclusions are justified by its authors’ intelligent presentation of the texts selected. Their conviction that sf as literature continues to flourish shines throughout.
You can read Damien Broderick’s full entry at The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction site, and two of his books are published by SF Gateway; you can find them via his Author page.