A heads up that my latest book, co-edited with my friend Iain McIntyre, Dangerous Visions & New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950-1980, is now available for order through PM Press site here. You can also order it through the various Amazon sites and through numerous other channels. Interestingly, the book is classified by Amazon US as pornography, as well as science fiction studies. I assume this is down to the fact it contains essays on sex in science fiction and gay science fiction, amongst other things. I’ve always harboured ambitions to be a smut peddler and this is the closest I may get.
Dangerous Visions and New Worlds details how science fiction interacted with and was inspired by the cultural and political changes associated with the era from the late 1950s through the early 1970s, a period that has sometimes been referred to as ‘the long sixties’. The book starts with progressive authors who rose to prominence in the conservative 1950s, challenging the so-called Golden Age of science fiction and its linear narratives of technological breakthroughs and space-conquering male heroes. It then moves to the 1960s, when writers shattered existing writing conventions and incorporated contemporary themes such as modern mass media culture, corporate control, growing state surveillance, the Vietnam War, and rising currents of counterculture, ecological awareness, feminism, sexual liberation, and Black Power. The 1970s, when the genre reflected the end of various dreams of the long Sixties and the faltering of the postwar boom, is also explored along with the first half of the 1980s, which gave rise to new subgenres, such as cyberpunk.
Dangerous Visions and New Worlds contains over twenty chapters written by contemporary authors and critics, and hundreds of full-color cover images, including thirteen thematically organised cover selections. New perspectives on key novels and authors, such as Octavia Butler, Ursula K. Le Guin, Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison, John Wyndham, Samuel Delany, J.G. Ballard, John Brunner, Judith Merril, Barry Malzberg, Joanna Russ, and many others are presented alongside excavations of topics, works, and writers who have been largely forgotten or undeservedly ignored.
What I am most excited by about this book is that it is blurbed by none other than Michael Moorcock, who says of it: “Dangerous Visions and New Worlds offers a birds eye view of a period when we were most passionate—about literature, the arts and the sciences, and when we let the rockets explore the universe while we turned to explore the multiverse in terms of the human psyche. Powered by a faith that fiction—especially speculative fiction—could change the world—the New Wave allied with the Underground Press, the Left and the world of rock and roll to create a cultural explosion. This book recalls the highly individualistic writers, with often radically different approaches.”
Dangerous Visions is the third book focusing on pulp and popular fiction that Iain and I have co-edited together for PM Press, but it is the first to be brought out in hardcover, which is also very cool. The first, Girl Gangs, Biker Boys and Real Cool Cats: Pulp Fiction and Youth Culture, 1950-1980, focused on how post war youth subcultures were depicted in pulp fiction. Sticking it to the Man: Revolution and Counterculture in Pulp and Popular Fiction, 1950-1980, the second examined how pulp and popular fiction was influenced by post war radical politics. Both are available from the PM Press site.