The Tragic Thread in Science Fiction by Robert H. Waugh
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Cover art by Robert H. Knox ("Alienation"). Cover design by Dan Sauer. 6x9 Paperback, 236 pages.
For decades, Robert H. Waugh has been a scintillating critic of fantasy, horror, and science fiction. A leading analyst of H. P. Lovecraft, Waugh now brings his critical talents to the assessment of an array of fantasy and science fiction writers, past and present.
In a trilogy of essays, Waugh studies David Lindsay’s pioneering novel A Voyage to Arcturus (1920), probing its relations to the work of Goethe and its distinctive vocabulary. Two essays discuss the largely ignored work of Olaf Stapledon, while another pair of essays examine key novels by Arthur C. Clarke.
Subsequent pieces reveal Waugh’s acumen in analyzing the work of William Gibson (Neuromancer), the Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories and other works by Fritz Leiber, and parallels between Leiber’s work and that of James Tiptree, Jr. The book concludes with a rumination on Lovecraft’s collaborative science fiction story “In the Walls of Eryx.” Waugh illuminates the complexities of all these authors’ works with effortless elegance and panache.
Robert H. Waugh is a former professor of English at the State University of New York at New Paltz. He is the author of the essay collections The Monster in the Mirror: Looking for H. P. Lovecraft (2006) and A Monster of Voices: Speaking for H. P. Lovecraft (2011) as well as the short story collection The Bloody Tugboat and Other Witcheries (2015). He has also published several volumes of poetry.