Edited by Arthur B. Evans
Wesleyan University Press, $29.95, 432 pages
Vintage Visions, from professor and editor Arthur B. Evans, is a fascinating collection of essays and articles that examine early science fiction published by the Science Fiction Research Association. If one is looking for the long answer as to when science fiction began, a subject that has spawned great debate, one can come knowledgeably to his or her own conclusion from this text. The book spans the period between Cyrano de Bergerac and Olaf Stapleton. Evans humbly says the collection is not definitive, but readers will learn a great deal about early science fiction from the articles collected.
“In addition to identifying and retro labeling early works of Latin American sf, another important task has been to insure that others can locate and use copies of these quite frequently rare works.”
Though readers might find the articles brilliant as they challenge common understandings and ideas, others may say that they are iconoclastic. They do seem to take away from some of those who have written classics, and some of the articles point out that some of these classic works were not fully original in concept. The articles do sometimes focus on rare texts instead of those that are more popular, and offer some fascinating insights.
Reviewed by Ryder Miller