Remembrance of Things Past

Coffeetable Books

December 17, 1999:

Science Fiction of the 20th Century: An Illustrated History

by Frank M. Robinson

Collector's Press, 256 pp., $59.95

Every science fiction fan around the globe should bow before Robinson's dense, picture-filled, and downright heavy compendium of all things fantastic. It is a truly thorough work. In his essays, Robinson traces society's perceptions of the genre as well as the artistic history of the same with a smashing collection of book, pulp, and movie art. Personally, I could have used a little bit less info on the early SF magazines and more on books and their authors, but Robinson eloquently writes with such passion about the newsstand SF that it is hard to not catch his enthusiasm. The art that he has included is well-reproduced, worthy of becoming a handbook to all collectors who love BEMs, rocket ships, and groovy type treatments. Still, though, it is Robinson's voice that carries through all of the pretty pictures and his final words prove that science fiction is a valid, wonderful way to examine the world in which we find ourselves.

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