Friday, 28 April 2017

Five Twentieth Century Authors

The previous post summarized what I regard as a major process in twentieth century sf:

Wellsian-Stapledonian anthropocentrism;
CS Lewis' theological reply;
Poul Anderson's Wellsian-Stapledonian apotheoses!

James Blish:

parallels Anderson but with a much smaller output;
directly addresses Lewis, even incorporating CSL and his demon, Screwtape, into the text of The Day After Judgment.

As Lewis himself wrote of Stapledon, it is possible to admire Lewis' invention while disagreeing with his philosophy. Lewis imaginatively restates Christianity no less than three times:

Narnia;
Ransom;
The Great Divorce. 

In this last volume, Lewis assumes a hereafter, presents what looks like a completely new version of it, shows that this imaginative version does conform to orthodox theology, then disclaims it as a dream at the end but meanwhile makes telling moral observations as he does in the Ransom novels.

I advise anyone to read or reread:

HG Wells;
Olaf Stapledon;
CS Lewis;
James Blish;
Poul Anderson.

5 comments:

Baloo said...

I agree, but I gallop in to add, for something subtler, deeper, and wiser than just about all of them, read Jack Vance.
http://ex-army.blogspot.com/2017/04/jack-vance-baron-bodissey-gates-of.html

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Baloo!

Good to see another comment by you! Alas, while I have heard of Jack Vance, I don't think I read any of his stories. I'll check to see if any of his works are in anthologies I have.

Sean

Paul Shackley said...

Both,
For me, what I have read of Vance doesn't put him in the same category. Blish write a Vance pastiche, "A Style In Treason."
Paul.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

IF I read, long ago, a Jack Vance story, then I fear it did not leave a strong impression on me. Else I would have remembered it.

Sean

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Baloo!

I rummaged thru my SF books and I finally two of Jack Vance's stories: "The Dragon Masters," and "The Last Castle, both in Vol 2 of THE HUGO WINNERS, ed. by Isaac Asimov. I will read them soon.

Sean