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Acknowledgments When all their roots are traced, the essays here represent more than three decades of thinking and writing about fantastic literature and genre fiction, but the thinking wasn’t all mine. I owe a considerable debt to all the editors of journals and critical collections (listed below) who commissioned and/or accepted some of these pieces in their earlier forms, as well as to my colleagues in the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, where many of these ideas developed in poolside or dinner conversations (a few even made it into formal paper presentations). I particularly want to thank those friends and colleagues who, after years of conversations and debates, may recognize some of their own ideas reflected in fragmentary and distorted form here, and who on more than one occasion helped talked through knotty problems, while challenging weak ideas and stimulating better ones, and sometimes (but not always) commenting on all or part of the manuscript: John Clute, Peter Straub, Charles Brown, Joan Gordon, Veronica Hollinger, Brian Aldiss, William Senior, Graham Sleight, Roger Schlobin, Russell Letson, David Hartwell, Cheryl Morgan, Joe Haldeman, Niall Harrison, Rob Latham, Brian Attebery, and many others, some of whom (such as Algis Budrys and Thomas D. Clareson) are no longer with us. Farah Mendlesohn, who suggested assembling these essays in the first place, read the manuscript and made a number of excellent suggestions and corrections. I also owe a particular debt to Amelia Beamer, who not only was my co-author on two of these pieces, but who carefully and insightfully edited most of the others, keeping a sharp eye out for opacity, jargon, and general blathering, and suggesting many useful lines of inquiry and revision. Neither she nor anyone other than myself bear any responsibility for what howlers remain. I am also grateful to Roosevelt University’s Research and Professional Improvement Committee for providing the research leave that a√orded the time xiv Acknowledgments necessary to assemble and rework these essays, and to Dean John Cicero and Professor D. Bradford Hunt for arranging for my administrative duties to be covered during this period as well. An earlier version of the chapter ‘‘Evaporating Genres’’ appeared as ‘‘Evaporating Genre: Strategies of Dissolution in the Postmodern Fantastic,’’ in Edging into the Future: Science Fiction and Contemporary Cultural Transformation, ed. Joan Gordon and Veronica Hollinger (Philadelphia: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002), 11–29. The current essay is nearly twice the length of the version that appeared there. ‘‘Malebolge, or the Ordnance of Genre’’ appeared in slightly di√erent form in Conjunctions 39 (Fall 2002): 405–19, ed. Peter Straub and Bradford Morrow. A preliminary version of ‘‘Tales of Stasis and Chaos’’ was delivered as the guest scholar address at the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts in 1998 under the title ‘‘Stasis and Chaos: Some Dynamics of Popular Genres’’ and subsequently published in The Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts 10, no. 1 (1998), 4–16. ‘‘The Encounter with Fantasy’’ appeared in The Aesthetics of Fantasy Literature and Art, ed. Roger Schlobin (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), 1–15, and later in Fantastic Literature: A Critical Reader, ed. David Sandner (Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2004), 222–35. It has been revised somewhat for this volume. ‘‘The Artifact as Icon in Science Fiction’’ originally appeared in The Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts 1, no. 1 (1988), 51–69, and has been revised for this volume, with an afterword added. ‘‘The Remaking of Zero’’ appeared in The End of the World, ed. Eric S. Rabkin, Martin H. Greenberg, and Joseph Olander (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1982), 1–19, and has been revised here, with an afterword added. ‘‘Frontiers in Space’’ appeared in The Frontier Experience and the American Dream, ed. David Mogen, Mark Busby, and Paul Bryant (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1989), 248–63, and has been revised for this volume, with an afterword added. ‘‘The Lives of Fantasists’’ appeared in somewhat di√erent form as ‘‘Framing the Unframeable’’ in Vector 249 (2006), 4–7. ‘‘Peter Straub and the New Horror’’ was presented in abbreviated form as a paper at the 28th International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on March 16, 2007, and, in slightly di√erent form, as ‘‘Peter Acknowledgments xv Straub and Transcendental Horror’’ in The Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts 18, no. 2 (2007): 217–31. A very abbreviated version of ‘‘Twenty-First-Century...


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