Anatomy of Wonder

A Critical Guide to Science Fiction, 5th Edition

by Neil Barron


A classic updated, this completely revised fifth edition offers a historical perspective on science fiction plus incomparable coverage of contemporary and early SF titles.

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Cover image for Anatomy of Wonder

December 2004

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 1016
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Reference and Information Services and Tools/Readers' Advisory and Leisure Reading
  Reference and Information Services and Tools/Arts and Humanities Literature Reference Tools

Barron's classic work has been updated and reorganized to reflect changes in the genre over the past decade, and meet the needs and tastes of today's readers and those who work with them. Renowned experts in the field have contributed to this new edition, providing authoritative historical and contemporary coverage of the best in science fiction. Users will find succinct, critical discussions of more than 1,400 SF novels, story collections, and anthologies. In addition, there is a comprehensive survey of the secondary literature-books and other resources that discuss fantastic literature, film, and illustration-plus chapters on teaching SF and a directory of libraries containing significant collections of science fiction. Titles appropriate for or appealing to teens are noted, as are award-winning titles and titles of literary merit. Author, title, and theme indexes provide additional points of access. An essential tool for collection development, research, and reference, this book also supports readers' advisory work. Young adult and adult. Grades 9 and up.



In its fifth edition, Barron's Anatomy continues to be a wonder. Part bibliography, part best books list, it is a Swiss Army tool for sci-fi scholars, librarians, and fans. Following a critical survey of the genre, Anatomy offers a selected list of 1,400 novels, stories, and anthologies that represent the best of science fiction. Annotations outline each work's plot, historical significance, and theme. The rest of Anatomy consists of lists of secondary literature: reference works, criticism, author studies, even resources for teaching science fiction. Updates include integration of young adult titles, an expanded theme index, and a list of online resources.... Anatomy remains the seminal guide for the genre, a science fiction universe which readers and researchers will find worth exploring. Highly recommended. All collections.—Choice

Neil Barron's ^IAnatomy of Wonder^R is one of the small number of reference books which are truly essential to scholars starting out investigating science fiction... This is a book which anyone engaged in the study or teaching of sf will need to consult regularly, and will expect to find in their libraries... [I]t will make their lives so much easier.—Foundation

A few works of science fiction criticism are so significant as tools for the researcher, student, and casual reader that they are on the short list of must-haves for any science fiction library. Barron's ^IAnatomy of Wonder^R is one such book. From its opening poem, The End of Science Fiction, to its indices, this book is essential for its valuable and insightful essays, its very thorough annotated bibliographies, and its extensive listings of books (fiction and nonfiction), awards, foreign language works, and organizations.... This is a powerful work that belongs on the bookshelf of anyone who engages in the world of science fiction, whether as a teacher, researcher, student, or casual reader. Bravo.—SFRA Science Fiction Research Association

The opening essays brilliantly sum up the canon; the crisp, evocative paragraphs on individual titles pique readerly interest; and the massive guide to further critical reading is a map for future study.—Paul Di Filippo - On Books

An indispensable work, thoughtful, clear, well-written, overwhelmingly reliable, and--in the absence of an update of the Clute/Nicholls ^IEncyclopedia of Science Fiction^R--probably the most useful single-volume reference to English-language written.—Science Fiction Studies

This guide serves many audiences. For the devoted reader; the librarian providing readers' advisory; the collection development librarian; the teacher, from elementary school to college, it is an excellent resource. I would recommend this title as a necessary addition to college and large public library collections. It should be seriously considered for any library with a large readership of science fiction fans.—Collection Management

The fifth edition of this comprehensive, weighty guide features many enhancements over the fourth. The overall coverage is extensive, with three major sections presenting a series of essays on the history of science fiction; annotated bibliographies of primary and secondary literature; and author, title, and theme indexes.... This resouce is a definitive work on the field of science fiction, and would be of use in most college and university libraries, as well as public libraries where genre readership is significant.—VOYA

An update of a book widely considered to be one of the bibles of scholarship on the genre. It offers an overview of the English-language science-fiction field for a wide audience, including casual readers, devoted fans, librarians, teachers, and scholars. The volume is divided into three parts: a history of science fiction; a critical examination of 1400 novels, single-author collections, and multiple-author anthologies; and a survey of the secondary literature such as film and illustration.... There have been many changes made since the fourth edition: young adult books have been integrated with the adult books in the annotated bibliography section, Web sites and author e-mail addresses have been added, and the comics section and poetry have been dropped. The third edition was the last to have an extensive listing of science fiction in 13 languages, so libraries that still have it may want to keep it even if they plan to update. This is a book that belongs in every public library.—The Green Man Review

It is the best, up-to-date, all-in-one reference guide to what's available for pleasure reading in the market today...a real bargain. I'd certainly say without hesitation that it's an essential acquisition for librarians and serious readers of this genre.—School Library Journal

^IAnatomy of Wonder^R should be one of the standard tools kept over the workbench. No electricity or ISP required.—LOCUS

A top pick any serious science fiction collection should include.—Library Bookwatch, Midwest Book Review/MBR Internet Bookwatch


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