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Adam Roberts is the author of a growing number of science fiction novels, short stories, essays and other writings. This site contains not just his blog, but everything you could ever want to know about everything Adam has ever published. And more...

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Minigraph

By Adam Roberts | June 8, 2018
Categories: Book News

I was asked to contribute a 'minigraph' (which is what the cool kids of academic publishing call a 20-30k-word monograph) to CUP's new Cambridge Elements Series: “A new series of research-focused collections of minigraphs on aspects of Publishing and Book Culture.” So I did.

You can find more about the Elements series here:

This new series aims to fill the demand for easily accessible, quality texts available for teaching and research in the diverse and dynamic fields of Publishing and Book Culture. Rigorously researched and peer-reviewed minigraphs will be published under themes, or 'Gatherings'.

I'm not sure when my vol is due out (later this year, I think) but Cambridge have now sent me the cover art, above. Brown and understated, which I quite like. Publishing and the Science Fiction Canon looks at the step-changes in the technologies of book and magazine publishing and distribution, and the connected explosion in literacy rates, that occurred at the end of the 19th and start of the 20th-century (I focus mostly on the UK and France) in order to make a particular argument about the science fiction of the period. Something remarkable happens to SF around the time of the Verne-Wells 'scientific romance' boom, I think. For centuries science fiction had been an interesting but small-scale aspect of a larger cultural context; but from roughly the 1870s-80s through to the 1930s it expanded hugely in terms of cultural production and popular appeal, growth that set the genre on its path to becoming what it is today, a massive and global popular culture. Exactly what did happen back then is a large question, and I try to unpack one aspect of it by reading key works in the context of the techologies of their material production and distribution. At any rate, it's one of the things I've been doing during my research leave.

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