SFRA newsletter

SFRA newsletter

Material Information

SFRA newsletter
Alternate Title:
Science Fiction Research Association newsletter
Science Fiction Research Association
Place of Publication:
[Eugene, Ore
Science Fiction Research Association]
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Science fiction -- History and criticism ( lcsh )
Fantasy fiction -- History and criticism -- Periodicals ( lcsh )
Science fiction -- Book reviews -- Periodicals ( lcsh )
Fantasy fiction -- Book reviews -- Periodicals ( lcsh )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
serial ( sobekcm )


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Place of publication varies.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
S67-00120-n031-1974-08 ( USFLDC DOI )
s67.120 ( USFLDC Handle )

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SFRA newsletter.
n No. 31 (August, 1974)
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Science Fiction Research Association newsletter
[Eugene, Ore. :
b Science Fiction Research Association]
c August, 1974
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Science fiction
x History and criticism
v Periodicals.
Fantasy fiction
History and criticism
Science fiction
Book reviews
Fantasy fiction
Book reviews
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Science Fiction Research Association.
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t i newsletter The news and information bulletin of the Science Fiction Research Association. No. 31 August, '1914 SFRA ANNUAL CONFERENCE REPORT The 1974 Annual Conference of the Science Fiction Research Association \'1as held at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee on July 12-14. Notable writers the conference included Ursula K. Leguin, Philip Jose Farmer, Alexei and Cory Panshin, Leslie Fiedler, Gordon Dickson, Jack Williamsong and Arthur Tofte. The Sessiol1 opened Friday afternoon with two presentations: "Androgyny and the of Woman.11 with speakers Valerie Broege. J. Max Patrick, and Carolyn Wendell, l'emar'ks by Ms. LeGuin. Competing for the same time slot was "SF C:c Lr'ship. Prob-Iems and Proposals, II i'lith i"1icrli121 W. intock and Dale The second Friday afternoon session three alternatives: a panel on ';",-:;']oq SFn with Muriel Becker, Eernatd Holll';ter, and John Ower; a panel yr:hology and SF" \tJith Charles Waugh, Robert Plank, Lahna Diskin, and at a very heated persentation by Alexei and Cory Panstdn on ;:' ':';f,::o: Ficti on and Academe, Ii where the f'nJ.s hins 2xpressed more concern with ,; schoo1s will do TO scienCE; fiction than what SF can do FOR the schools. heat generated from this discussion carried over to the evening's program, ;:0f 511 thG authors present gathEred to a panel on the writers and Unfortunately, Tom Clar'eson \/jZJ.$ not present to chair this panel, had suddenly ta ken 'i i 1 a nr! the C1 a resons 1 eft the Conference .,," Rogers and 8ever1.y Fr'icnd jGintly tried to fill Tom1s shoes9 ., br';ght and early. devotels of David Lindsay had an opportunity ;'lis \i-Jork in a presentation by Rounseville, Michael ;:. iJol!'e. Later that morning9 a p3.nel cha'lred by Robert Galbreath :',::;;::>3:':! ,,old Ketterer's NEW WORLDS FOR OLDo Participants included S. C. it::,, Robert Canary, Ursula K. LeGuin arid Dale At the same ,,,',0 ;,'t':.l.S a discussion on "The Po'litic8,1 Science of Science Fiction," :::enbetg, John Olander, Charles C! idns, and Gary Gappert. :' ":,,)(HdOil there were again thrE:c' ities: "American Literature ::'iction," \'.Jith Andre L.e f{uy S'.';fanson, and Peter Alterman; Fiction,1i with Thomas Hois'ji1gt0!1, Alice Gaar. and Robert ;"j G0rdon ckson discuss l n9 and the Chil de Cycl e. ''1as cancelled dL'2 'to the absence of the Chairman. r,oon meetings w.:re "Melvl1"ie" '[v';, and Science \'lith -"";'lg and narka and ilPh"i1osophical Themes and Social Issues Leon Stover. 0nd Patricia Warrick.


SFRA NEWSLETTER No. 31 Saturday evening, of course, was the banquet--graced by a brilliant dialog between Philip Jose Farmer and Leslie Fiedler, primarily concerned with an indepth discussion of Fiedlerls new SF book, THE MESSENGERS WILL COME NO p. 2 MORE, to be published shortly by Stein and Day. Farmer assured the audience it was a book sure to offend everyone. II Sunday morni ng found the ha y'dy eagerl y awa ke, will i ng to di scuss "J\es theti c Dimensions of SF" with Peter Brigg, Harry Kroiter, and Ivor' or "SF in the 30ls and 401S" with Ester Ansfield, Joseph Patrouch. and Arthur Tofte. Concluding the morning program \'/ere "SF and Romanticism," with Elinore Partridge and Susan Skelton, and "Russian and East European Science Fiction," with George Grebenschikov, Irina Corten and George Bisztray. As an aside, one of the nicest things about the conference was the opportunity for speakers and audience to get together informally. Because all meetings were held in the Wisconsin Union, most meals were also eaten there, and a dinner would often find anywhere from 12 to 15 SF aficionado1s sitting down informally to continue the conversations begun earlier in the day. The Pilgrim Award for 1974 went to I. F. Clarke, for his various publications in the history and bibliography of SF. The next meeting of SFRA will be in Miami, Florida, with Martin Greenberg of Florida International University as Conference Chairman. The meeting dates will be announced later, but will be in late 1975 or early 1976. Due to the length of time between meetings, it has been suggested that smaller, regional conferences be held in the interim--possibly next summer. WORKSHOP ON TEACHING SF The Workshop on Teaching SF in the High School and College Classroom, Ju':y 9-11, directed by Torn Clareson and Beverly Friend, got off to a rousing as 40 participants from such far-flung places as Ottawa, Canada, Ottavva, Kansas, Debuque. lovla, Stillwater, Okla.homa, Phoenix, Arizona, and Texas, gathered for three intensive days of SF study. Tuesday, Clareson and Friend led a general session for all participants, a day long dialogue which covered historical approaches, bibliographic material and practical applications. Wednesday, the morning was devoted to social and science fiction, with Bernard Hollister, a social studies teacher from Willowbrook High School and Ralph Amelio, a film instructor from the same school, offering methods of utilizing SF in non-English classrooms. The afternoon offered still another perspective as Leon Stover from Il'linois Institute of Technology and Patricia lljarrick from the University of Wisconsin discussed Science and science fiction. That evening, the conference viewed THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL and some short educational SF films for the classroom. Thursday morning Hollister and Amelio, in a multimedia presentation, discussed SFin film. and classroom uses of media. That afternoon was the highlight of the program: Ursula LeGuin speaking on the role of teachers in establishing critical standards in SF.


SFRA NEWSLETTER No. 31 BOOK REVIHl Ketterer, David. NEW WORLDS FOR OLD: THE APOCALYPTIC IMAGINATION. SCI ENCE FICTION AND AMERICAN LITERATURE. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1974. xii + 348 pp. $10.95; Garden City, N. Y.: Anchor Press/ Doubleday, 1974. $2.95. (paper). One possible aspect of the importance of Ketterer's NEW WORLDS FOR OLD is p. 3 that the Anchor Books edition at once asserts that it is the first publication of the book and that a hard-cover edition has been published by Indiana University Press. Considering the games so frequently played by publishers these days, the candid admission in both printings of the book that the other is available is not omly refreshing but evidence that more than one editor was keenly aware of the value of Ketterer's study. More recently, in July of 1974, the Science Fiction Research Association devoted a session of its annual meeting at the University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee to a discussion of NEW WORLDS FOR 'OLD by writers or critics such as Robert Canary, S. C. Fredericks, Dale Mullen, Thomas D. Clareson, and Ursula K. LeGuin, the latter's THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS having been subjected to detailed comments by Ketterer (pp. 76-90). The temptation of peeking at other reviews either to arrive at tacit agreement or vigorous disagreement has been studiously avoided as a basis for. framing the following brief comments. To repeat, NEW WORLDS FOR OLD is an important study, one of the small shelf which can be separated from the ever-increasing number of books, be they warmed-over dissertations or not, the titles of which are not infrequently more engaging than the total content. However dangerous it may be to make passing comparisons, Ketterer's book brings to mind such a classic work as J. O. Bailey's PILGRIMS THROUGH SPACE AND TIME and a more recent collection like Thomas D. Clareson's SF: THE OTHER SIDE OF REALISM. The point of similarity is that of significance, not of organization or specific subject matter. An impressive and unqualified positive quality of Ketterer's substantial volume is the page by page evidence of his scope, that he is familiar with what in more conventional literary circles are called primary and secon dary sources --in large numbers. Perhaps to substitute one kind of jargon for another, he has done his homework. Whether in science fiction or American literature, this is higher praise than the simplicity of the phrase may strike the uncritical reader as being. Ketterer's careful documentation is its own testimony and makes its own point; however, although a bibliography cannot be a prerequisite of a book such as NEW WORLDS FOR OLD, such an added attraction would have been useful, as well as an additional reminder of homework accomplished. Along similar lines, a stimulating contribution of the volume is its ex amination of works by Poe, Charles Brockden Brown, Twain and Melville, to mention but some treated at length, who are not usually thought of as having contributed to the corpus of science fiction, apocalyptic or not. It is this dimension of science fiction, or the hinterlands thereof, which can be increasingly attractive to the serious student of the genre.


SFRA NEWSLETTER No. 31 However, notwithstanding Ketterer's careful definitions, it is the focus upon the apocalyptic which becomes less, rather than more, convincing as the chapters of the volume are developed. Without attempting a detailed rebuttal, for which there is fortunately no space in a review, it may be ventured that the author*s good intentions may have led him into one or more traps. "Apocalyptic, II unfortunately, is a term too frequently en countered in current critical jargon. Last year, or some year, the fad was "Christ symbolsll or IImaturationli or whatever. More importantly --remembering that Ketterer does define his terms --and remembering both the copious examples that he presents (as well as those that he does not), is the thesis that an Apocalypse necessarily precedes a IInew world,1I usually fictional, convincingly sustained? As a single case in point, the argument is more ingenious than persuasive in the treatment of LeGuin's LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS. He makes some very pleasant comments about the novel, but he partially concludes, lIMy criticism that the plot is unfortunately subordinate to the overly conscious use of mythic material remains II (p. 90). LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS is a disturbing book, as apparently it is supposed to be, but any weakness of plot is not really caused by "mythic material. II Just how is an Apocalypse responsible for either the curious sexual situation on the planet Gethen or the outsider character Genly's reactions, early and late, to the unfolded enigma? Undoubtedly Ketterer has read LeGuin carefully (such a novel richly de serves careful reading), but is one convinced that "LeGuin's use of duality and unity as mythically connotative of destruction and creation is in fact a way of talking about the relationship between new and old worlds of mind and that this relationship is at the theoret-ical basis of science fictionll (p. 89)? Or, perhaps this would have been a good sentence with which to conclude the chapter. As it is, Ketterer refers a little later to "that loss of dramatic surface incident compelled by her rigorous adherence to a mythic design insufficiently displaced"(p. 90), which even in context is less than clear. The fundamental question is whether or not an Apocalypse is a necessary condition for the fictional lIo ther world" of Gethen to be brought into fictional being. Thus, the question seems to boil down to one of imaginative epistemology or metaphysica. In fairness, it must be pointed out that in developing the four phases of science fiction plots (p. 123), it is admitted that it is difficult to select, if not to find, "illustrative examples" (p. 124), especially inasmuch as p. 4 as IIFrom a literary standpoint such stories are at best mediocre ... 11 (p 125). Certainly these stipulations do not refer to LeGuin's work. As a more general sort of observation, since all Ketterer1s analyses cannot be mentioned adequately, it may be wondered whether Anthony Burgess, mentioned only in passing (p. 125), Jnay not be more deserving of treatment than the oft-acclaimed Kurt Vonnegut (pp. 296-333), who doth protest too much the classification of several of his works as science fiction. Undoubtedly, Mark Twain would have raised objections (or would he?) to being subjected to scrutiny in a study such as Ketterer's (pp. 213-222, 249-254), but it may be assumed that he would have done so in a more amusing way. What Ketterer has done is to develop and explore what may well be a significant aspect of science fiction, as well as \'Iorks of American literature usually more-or-less assigned to what is called the mainstream of fiction. There is no question that his careful work should be read, even if the


SFRA NEWSLETTER No. 31 result is disagreement with the validity of some of his analyses. Certainly any subsequent study of the apocalyptic in modern fiction should begin with an examination of his premises. If that result should arouse varying degrees of controversy, so much the better. Such is the usual fate of a pioneering scholarly work. Patrick G. Hogan, Jr. University of Houston ANNOUNCEMENTS ***As you will note in the masthead (p. 6), the editorship of the NEWSLETTER p. 5 has changed. Beverly Friend is now feature editor. Please send all news announcements, attended, projects in hand, thoughts in mind, and suggestions regarding the NEWSLETTER to Beverly at 3415 W. Pratt, Lincolnwood, Illinois 60645. H. W. (Hal) Hall will be co-editor of the NEWSLETTER, cov ering book reviews and announcements. SFRA members (or others) interested in reviewing SF history, criticism, or bibliography should contact Hal Hall, stating reviewing interest. Suggestions of books which should be reviewed in the NEWSLETTER will also be welcome. ***Forthcoming August is a new teacher's guide on science fiction, SCIENCE FICTION: THE CLASSROOM IN ORBIT, by Beverly Friend. (Glassboro, N. J.: Educational Impact, 1974. $3.75). Reviews of this guide will be forthcoming. ***The Library of Congress has produced cataloging copy on SFRA MISCELLANEOUS PUBLICATION No.1. In their infinite wisdom (and following current cataloging rules), they chose to ignore the names of the compilers, and enter the publication under title. A copy of the Library of Congress catalog card is reproduced for your information. An Index to seience fiction book reviews in Aet ....... Analog 1949-1969, Fantasy and science 8ctioa 1 ..... 1969. Galaxy 1950-1969. Compiled by Barry McGhan (&lld others) Prt>f. by Damon Knight. Coli. StatiOOt Tex. [Science Fiction Resea.rch A88OCiation) 1973. "11, 8."1 p. :.>g 1.'01. (SFRA rulsl'f'llallt"llllK publication no. l' 1. 8c'1.-n<'e ftf'tlon-Rook r>fle .... -lndt>x4!fl. T. )I('(than, RaI'l'J'. II. 8t>rlt'll: Mdt-n('\' FI<110n R_"l"'ph .'.fI*Wlatltlll. HFRA ml."lane-01/11 flllblh'ation 110. 1. LIbrary of l:oUlrf'A 808.83'1'016 74 ***RIVERSIDE QUARTERLY, one of the best of the currently published serious fanzines, could use new subscribers. SFRA members should consider either subscribing personally or requesting that their library subscribe. Contact Leland Sapiro, Box 14451, University Station, Gainesville, FL 32604.


SFRA NEWSLETTER No. 31 p. 6 FORTHCOMING MEETINGS AND PAPERS: ***The Science Fiction Forum in the Study and Teaching of SF will meet at MMLA at St. Louis, Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 1974, chaired by Beverly Friend, Northwestern University, and Elaine Kleiner, University of Indiana. Papers scheduled for presentation include: "Summer Scholars and Some're Scholars--Standards for Teaching SF," Richard Doxtator, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point:, "Science Fiction and Contemporary Literature: Is there a Generic Difference," David Hill, Northwestern; "A Funny Thing Happened to me on the way to my American History Class," Bernard Hollister, Willowbrook High School; "Science Fiction and the German Curriculum," Peter Koenig, Oakton Corrmunity College; and "Science Fiction and the History of Ideas," William Reynolds, Hope College. ***Mundelein University, Chicago, 111., Nov. 3, 1974. "Virgin Territory: Women in SF," an Alumni Day lecture by Beverly Friend. ***Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, Oct. 28, 1974. "Discovery of the Future: The Ways SF Developed," a lecture by James Gunn at the formal announcement of the TAMU science fiction collection. ASSOCIATION NOTES: ***SFRA Officers: Chairman: Tom Clareson Box 3186, College of Wooster Wooster, OH 44691 Board of Directors: Beverly Friend James Gunn H. W. Hall Phil Klass Dennis Livingston Secretary/Treasurer: Ivor Rogers Box 1068 Des. Moines, IA 50311 Dale Mullen Ivor Rogers Glenn Sadler Dave Samuelson Leslie Swigart ***A committee is to be appointed immediately to revise drafts of the SFRA by-laws, and to present a final draft copy of the by-laws to the membership. The draft copy of the by-laws will be published in the SFRA NEWSLETTER as soon as it can be prepared. ***If you have not sent your vita (and a picture if possible) to Tom Clareson, do so immediately, so you will be listed in the bulletin of members, due out this fall. New members will be listed in the NEWSLETTER, or on a supplement to the NEWSLETTER, as they join. The SFRA NEWSLETTER is the official publication of the Science Fiction Research Association, and is published monthly for the membership. Membership inquiries should be addressed to Dr. Tom Clareson, Box 3196, The College of Wooster, Wooster Ohio 44691. Editorial correspondence and material for the SFRA NEWSLETTER should be directed to the editor, Beverly Friend, 3415 W. Pratt, Lincolnwood, Ill. 60695. Books for review and announcement should be directed to the Book Review Editor, H. W. Hall, 3608 Meadow Oaks Ln., Bryan, TX. 77801.


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