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Paul Di Filippo reviews Bridges to Science Fiction and Fantasy: outstanding essays from the J. Lloyd Eaton conferences

* Bridges-to-SFF.jpgDespite the flourishing of courses devoted to fantastika in the groves of academia, its seems to me that actually, in any given year, very few scholarly volumes emerge.

Most of the non-fiction books-the candidates you see on the awards ballots, whether dedicated to contemporaneously studying or historically researching the genre-are produced by folks whose primary concern is something other than pure scholarship.

These more numerous creators are working editors or working writers, fans or amateurs, not genuine scholars for their livings, although in many cases they are just as expert. But there's a certain distinctive intellectual heft to be found in the pure quill stuff that's lacking in the other selections. So whenever such a volume emerges, we should be keen to investigate it for its idiosyncratic insights.

And especially in the case at hand, where we have a book which emerges with a high-toned pedigree. The J. Lloyd Eaton Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy is an immense publicly accessible library of materials housed at UCI Riverside, and they also sponsor a biennial assembly where scholars deliver their findings. This new book gathers up some of the best such papers.

26th March 2018

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