The Generation Starship in Science Fiction: A Critical History, 1934-2001

The Generation Starship in Science Fiction: A Critical History, 1934-2001

by Simone Caroti




This critical history explores the concept of the multi-generational interstellar space voyage in science fiction between 1934, the year of its appearance, into the 21st century. It defines and analyzes what became known as the “generation starship” idea and examines the science and technology behind it, also charting the ways in which generation starships manifest themselves in various SF scenarios. It then traces the history of the generation starship as a reflection of the political, historical, and cultural context of science fiction’s development.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786460670
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 04/14/2011
Pages: 275
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Simone Caroti is the course director of Science Fiction and Fantasy for the Creative Writing BFA at Full Sail University. He is a senior research scientist for the Astrosociology Research Institute (ARI), a nonprofit organization devoted to bringing the arts, humanities and social sciences into the debate on the future of humanity in space.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface 1

Introduction: Death and Rebirth of a Dream 5

1. Fathers 19

2. The Gernsback Era, 1926–1940 39

3. The Campbell Era, 1937–1949 80

4. The Birth of the Space Age, 1946–1957 120

5. The New Wave and Beyond, 1957–1979 143

6. The Information Age, 1980–2001 192

Conclusion. Trip’s End? 239

Appendix. The Generation Starship: A Chronological Bibliography 249

Chapter Notes 253

Bibliography 261

Index 265

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The Generation Starship in Science Fiction: A Critical History, 1934-2001 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Ed_Gosney on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Generation Starship in Science Fiction, A Critical History, 1934-2001, by Simone Caroti, involved much more detail into individual stories than one would typically imagine in a book that covers so many decades of stories. Definitely not being an expert myself on the subject, but a mere science fiction fan who is decently read but still an infant in so many ways, I was surprised that so few stories fell into this subgenre, which obviously brought about the necessity by the author to go deeper in his analyses of these stories. And that was fine with me, because the subject definitely proved quite fascinating. Obviously there are differing opinions on just how human behavior might play out in these scenarios, and whether certain authors intended to capture what they thought might actually occur or just plain wanted to tell an interesting tale, the readers of these stories come out the winners. I must admit that I was not familiar with many of the stories Caroti discussed here. Especially the older stories he talked about, and I applaud him for his research on these. It would be nice if someone out there would take the short stories and novellas presented in this critical book and put them into an anthology. What a great companion piece!Caroti broke his history down into six logical sections and did a nice job of explaining why he did such, the science fiction that was going on in those eras, and where these stories and ideas seemed to fit in with the science of the day. But the book starts off with a nice introduction of real science and the seeming impossibility of traveling far and long into space, or at least in a faster-than-light mode. If you decide to read this book, which I recommend to any science fiction lover, don't skip the intro. Although I believe that most science fiction readers already know that some of the best nuggets come from introductions, so I'm probably preaching to the choir.I must admit that after having read this book I previously had no real reading experience within this sub-genre, although I have read Rendezvous With Rama and a couple of the Vinge books that are mentioned. And Caroti was successful, at least as far as I'm personally concerned, because I'm now interested in reading several of the pieces he discussed, such as the Brian Aldis book Non-Stop and Lungfish by John Brunner. I've always been fascinated by how people react when put in controlled situations that are out of their control, such as the TV show Survivor. Though that may come as a "disconnect" to some people, to me there is a relationship; hence, another reason to read generation starship stories. I definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in the history of science fiction and those who dream of going beyond the stars.
santhony on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ever since first reading Arthur Clarke¿s fantastic science fiction novel, Rendezvous with Rama, I¿ve been fascinated with the idea of the ¿generation starship¿, a self contained world, built and engineered for multi-generational space travel. I was therefore intrigued by this work when it became available in the Library Thing Early Reviewer program. Soon after its arrival, however, I realized that I had made a mistake.I was looking for an entertaining and descriptive overview of the various treatments of multi-generational space travel throughout the years; an analysis of how the various issues involved with such travel have been addressed by a broad range of science fiction writers. While there is some of that in this work, it is much more a scholarly treatise, terribly boring at times and rarely entertaining.Originally, I was somewhat perturbed upon receiving the book, as the subtitle notes ¿A Critical History, 1934-2001¿. 2001? Is this book 10 years old? Isn¿t this supposed to be a program for new works? Upon further investigation, it would appear that this book was in fact recently released. Why then, an ending date of 2001? Was this some kind of doctoral thesis that awaited publication for 10 years?In any event, if you are a serious STUDENT of the science fiction art form, and/or are looking for a scholarly treatise on the anthropological, political and cultural aspects involved in both the writing and subject matter of multi-generational space travel, this could be the book for you. If, on the other hand, you enjoy reading science fiction and are looking for an entertaining look at the subject, you need to look elsewhere.In my opinion, this book has an extremely narrow target audience, in which I do not reside.
tortoise on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an interesting but somewhat dry critical account of generation starships. I haven't read most of the works analyzed, so it was interesting to see tropes appear in them that I had experienced elsewhere.Some more specific, if somewhat disjointed, thoughts about it:1) I wish the author had more to say about the common ending to this sort of book, where it turns out that the second generation of interstellar travelers has better engines (often, but not always, FTL) and ends up beating out the first generation. There was some discussion of books like this (and I've read several others that he didn't touch on) but I would have liked a unified analysis of them.2) The choice of 2001 -- and specifically the 9/11 attacks -- as an endpoint to the analysis seemed entirely random to me. The epilogue admits that an uptick in generation-ship stories that started in the '90s continued and in fact intensified in the '00s; this would seem to suggest that 9/11 had no effect whatsoever on people's desire to write/read these works, and the analogies the book made between Manhattan and generation ships when felt extraordinarily strained to me.
readafew on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have mixed feelings about this book on several levels. The title was about Generation Starships in Science Fiction but quite often he would spill over into other areas or just Science Fiction in general. Some of that is expected but it sometimes got tedious. Some of the asides were interesting and others made me want to skip over parts.I think one of the biggest problems I had with this is I hadn't actually read any of the works in question and many of them sounded really fun to read. This drove me crazy because while reading along he would get to a point in the book describing the events and I'd decide I want to read this story! And he would proceed to finish giving the rest of the plot away. That coupled with his jumping back and forth referring to different parts of books or stories he'd already covered made it hard to follow for someone who was as unfamiliar with the subject as I turned out to be.I also got the feeling that at times the author was trying to impress with his vocabulary. Outside of Calvin & Hobbes I have not come across the word 'transmogrify' and he used it at least 3 times. There are several others that stuck out to me as I read as well. Overall, not bad, I suspect that if you have read fairly heavily in the genre it would be a fun book to read, and it has given me a long list of book to try out, once I forget how they end.