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The Seven Beauties of Science Fiction Format Kindle
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You don't need to be an academic to read this book (although academics are its audience). You do have to be well versed in science fiction, though. For those who know the classics of SF film and literature, Csicsery-Ronay both deftty explores the themes, styles, and literary effects that have recombined over the past two centuries to create SF, as well as discusses the many social and historical reasons for the genre's various shifting forms and interests.
I have found his seven-fold approach especially useful for organizing undergraduate classes on SF.
"Seven Beauties" is a piece of scholarly academic writing, and therefor is dense in style, laced with jargon, sometimes convoluted in sentence structure, and formidable in its vocabulary. While I wouldn't say that a graduate degree in philosophy or literary theory is a requirement to understanding this book, it sure would help. But on the other hand, with enough patience, enough willingness to read some sentences and paragraphs 2 or 3 times over, and perhaps with the help of a dictionary or two, any reasonably educated SF fan should be able to struggle through it.
Personally, I often didn't have the patience to reread and re-reread the book's many difficult passages, so I'm afraid quite a few of Csicsery-Ronay's ideas went sailing over my head, their presentation too stratospheric to even ruffle my hair.
But certainly not all of his ideas. At times I found Csicsery-Ronay's prose quite lucid, and at those times his ideas were usually interesting and enlightening. I remember in particular finding his discussion of the use of language in Dune quite intelligent and informative.
So if you're interested in science fiction studies and you're undaunted by the prospect of a lot of viscous, scholar-ese writing, I think you'll find this book quite rewarding. For impatient plebeians like myself, the operative word might be more "frustrating" than "rewarding."
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