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date: 23 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The history of science fiction was a long battle between editors and commentators, who sought to make science fiction a uniquely variegated form of popular fiction, and publishers, who fought to forge science fiction into a genre of formulaic space adventures. For decades, Hugo Gernsback, his successor John W. Campbell Jr., and later figures successfully maintained the genre’s provocative and stimulating freedom. By the 1980s, however, the success of Star Trek novels and their imitators brought sequels and series following predictable patterns to the forefront, and today, science fiction has become a standard type of popular fiction, governed by rigid conventions. Yet the marketplace only did what it should do—provide readers with precisely the sort of reading material that they desire—and critics and discerning readers can maintain the older approach to science fiction in marginal forums, though they should no longer call its works “science fiction.”

Keywords: science fiction, science fiction editors, science fiction publishers, sequels and series, popular fiction, Hugo Gernsback, John W. Campbell Jr., Star Trek

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