Cover

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Starboard Wine

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Title

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Copyright

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Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

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Starboard Wine, An Author’s Introduction

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pp. xi-xx

These baker’s dozen disparate pieces discuss the past and the future of science fiction, those violences committed on our reading of science fiction texts by memory (and remembering) and desire (and although we have no English word re-desiring, desire itself is so closely allied to repetition that Freud could identify the two). Despite their thrusts forward and...

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Science Fiction and Difference: An Introduction to Starboard Wine

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pp. xxi-xxxviii

Starboard Wine offers an extension (and in many ways culmination) of ideas Samuel R. Delany had begun to formulate, revise, and explore in The Jewel-Hinged Jaw, which collected essays written between 1968 and 1977 (or, to add a different perspective, between the ages of twenty-six...

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1. The Necessity of Tomorrow(s)

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pp. 1-14

At the south corner of the block was Mrs. Dade’s funeral parlor. Centered in the block north was Mr. Sterrit’s. Between was Levy and Delany’s, my father’s funeral home. (Undertaker was a word he detested; he considered himself a funeral director.) When I was seven my father had...

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2. Heinlein

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pp. 15-24

Robert A. Heinlein was born July 7, 1907, and grew up principally in Kansas City. At Annapolis, where in 1929 he graduated twentieth in a class of 243, he excelled in fencing. Some of this sword-fighting expertise was to go into the experience of “Oscar” Gordon, the hero of his...

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3. Some Presumptuous Approaches to Science Fiction

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pp. 25-34

“Do you think science fiction should be taken seriously as literature?”
Over the past handful of years, I’ve found—what with teaching various SF courses at various universities and giving talks on science fiction to both formal and informal groups—that this question threatens to oust, “Where do SF writers get their ideas?” from the number-one position...

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4. Sturgeon

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pp. 35-60

The most disreputable thing about science fiction is not its nuts and bolts side—its test tube and transistor aspect—nor even its much decried “bad writing” or “impoverished characterization.” They can always be dealt with as demands to regard the text at one degree of resolution...

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5. Science Fiction and “Literature”—or, The Conscience of the King

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pp. 61-121

At Oxford in 1894 the French poet Mallarmé began a lecture that quickly declared the now famous line, “On a touché au vers”: someone has been tampering with poetry. Today, some eighty years later, I had thought of beginning, “Someone has been tampering with science fiction.” But if I...

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6. Russ

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pp. 83-110

Joanna Russ’s science fiction creates a peculiar embarrassment for anyone approaching our particular practice of writing with broadly critical intent. In his introduction to the Gregg Press edition of Russ’s second full-length SF novel, And Chaos Died (1970), Robert Silverberg avoids...

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7. An Experimental Talk

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pp. 111-120

After a decade of desultory SF convention going, during which time I’ve listened to a goodly number of SF writers give their guest-of-honor speeches, I’ve noticed that those speeches seem to be of three basic types.
The first and by far most prevalent type is the, “There have been certain unfortunate, deviant, and pernicious trends in science fiction...

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8. Disch, I

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pp. 121-126

Thomas M. Disch writes tales that stand away and above most contemporary narrative production. The writers to whom, in my mind, he is most closely related (not in style or subject matter, but in that indefinable quality, sensibility) are England’s Ian McEwan, America’s Lynda...

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9. Disch, II

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pp. 127-152

Thomas M. Disch’s stories emanate from an extraordinarily contemporary mind.
Some are science fi ction.
Some are fantasy.
Some are very much of the here and now—mundane (from the Latin mundus, meaning “the world”) fiction, what a few of us oriented toward...

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10. Dichtung und Science Fiction

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pp. 153-184

Science fiction is arguably the youngest mode of writing in the West.
By “science fiction” I don’t mean the nineteenth-century didactic fables that include not only Victorian utopian writing but also the scientific romances Verne and Wells wrote in response to the ninteenth-century information explosion. I don’t mean the “fayned histories” and...

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11. Three Letters to Science Fiction Studies

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pp. 185-212

Gentlemen:
I have read, and reread, with interest your paper dealing with methodological principles of SF criticism, “Not Only But Also.” Although that sentence is perfectly true, it doesn’t tell you very much...

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12. Reflections on Historical Models

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pp. 213-234

History, most of us agree, is that which has produced the present. Looking at the state of writing in English today, we can say that contemporary American and British science fiction is a different sociological entity from contemporary American and British “literature,” or mundane...

Index

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pp. 235-246

About the Author

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pp. 247-250