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In the decade from 1951 to 1960, Damon Knight was the outstanding critic of science fiction books. Knight’s reviews were not mere statements of his personal preferences – his skillful essays analysed 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. Believing that his work deserved more permanence than could be found in its original magazine publication,Advent brought out the famous first edition of In Search of Wonder in 1956. In this book, Knight wove his essays into chapters on many aspects of science fiction and fantasy, ranging from “Classics” to “Chuckleheads”. A second book was planned, but other activities prevented Knight from finishing it, however he was persuaded to integrate most of the new material into this second edition, which is more than fifty percent longer than the first.
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