Cover image for SHAW: The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies, Vol. 17: Shaw and Science Fiction Edited by Milton Wolf

SHAW: The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies, Vol. 17

Shaw and Science Fiction

Edited by Milton Wolf

BUY

288 pages
6" × 9"
1997

SHAW: The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies, Vol. 17

Shaw and Science Fiction

Edited by Milton Wolf

Shaw's speculations about human destiny align him with many other writers of the time, and later, who forged a new genre of literature that ultimately took the name in 1928 of "science fiction." Ray Bradbury affirms Greg Bear's statement about the little-known, but significant, relationship that Bernard Shaw has with science fiction. Bradbury, who frequently emphasizes Shaw's influence on his own work, asks, "Isn't it obvious at last: Those that do not live in the future will be trapped and die in the past?"

 

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Shaw's speculations about human destiny align him with many other writers of the time, and later, who forged a new genre of literature that ultimately took the name in 1928 of "science fiction." Ray Bradbury affirms Greg Bear's statement about the little-known, but significant, relationship that Bernard Shaw has with science fiction. Bradbury, who frequently emphasizes Shaw's influence on his own work, asks, "Isn't it obvious at last: Those that do not live in the future will be trapped and die in the past?"

Susan Stone-Blackburn, comparing Shaw's Back to Methuselah with Olaf Stapledon's Last and First Men, discusses why science-fiction scholars have been reluctant to acknowledge Shaw's role in the genre. Tom Shippey examines aspects of Shaw's theory of Creative Evolution to show why many have dismissed Shaw's science fiction as insufficiently scientific.

Surveying the science-fiction milieu, Ben P. Indick shows that while Shaw was not interested in writing science fiction per se, he knew the genre and how to use it. Jeffrey M. Wallmann chronicles the science-fiction techniques that Shaw foreshadowed. Rodelle Weintraub analyzes dream-related elements of the fantastic that Shaw frequently employed in his drama. John Barnes focuses on Shaw's "radical superman," a stock-in-trade of science fiction.

Like H. G. Wells, Shaw understood that human intervention was becoming the dominant mechanism of evolution and that new approaches to theatrical drama would be required to convey the social and political impact of the scientific revolution. Elwira M. Grossman compares similar dilemmas facing Shaw and the Polish dramatist Witkacy. J. L. Wisenthal examines the utopian tradition that underlay the English literary experience, and Julie A. Sparks contrasts Karel Capek's anti-utopian concepts with Shaw's utopian vision. Also included is an 1887 lecture by Shaw entitled "Utopias," published here for the first time.

Several of the contributors emphasize the significant influence that Shaw had on major science-fiction writers. Elizabeth Anne Hull explores Shaw's affinities with Arthur C. Clarke, John R. Pfeiffer discusses the many connections between Shaw and Ray Bradbury, and George Slusser explores Shaw and Robert A. Heinlein's "recurrent fascination with the possibilities of life extension."

Like his friend Einstein, Shaw knew that imagination is more important than knowledge. Peter Gahan's article demonstrates that Shaw's ambition was to engage the reader's imagination, the only "sufficient backdrop for his vision."

Also included are reviews of recent additions to Shavian scholarship, including the Shaw/Wells correspondence, and John R. Pfeiffer's "Continuing Checklist of Shaviana."

Contents

NOTICES ix

FOREWORD: SHAW AND SCIENCE FICTION 1

Milton T. Wolf

1. G.B.S.: REFURBISHING THE TIN WOODMAN: SCIENCE

FICTION WITH A HEART, A BRAIN, AND THE NERVE! 11

Ray Bradbury

2. SHAW'S SCIENCE FICTION ON THE BOARDS 19

Ben P. Indick

3. WITKACY AND SHAW'S STAGE STATUES 39

Elwira M. Grossman

4. SHAW'S UTOPIAS 53

J. L. Wisenthal

5. UTOPIAS 65

Bernard Shaw

6. EVOLUTIONARY MACHINERY: FORESHADOWINGS OF SCIENCE FICTION IN BERNARD SHAW'S DRAMAS 81

Jeffrey M. Wallmann

7. BERNARD SHAW'S FANTASY ISLAND: SIMPLETON OF THE UNEXPECTED ISLES 97

Rodelle Weintraub

8. ON HIS SHOULDERS: SHAW'S INFLUENCE ON CLARKE'SCHILDHOOD'S END 107

Elizabeth Anne Hull

9. RAY BRADBURY'S BERNARD SHAW 119

John R. Pfeiffer

10. LAST MEN AND FIRST WOMEN: THE DYNAMICS OF LIFE EXTENSION IN SHAW AND HEINLEIN 133

George Slusser

11. TROPICS OF A DESIRABLE OXYMORON: THE RADICAL SUPERMAN IN BACK TO METHUSELAH 155

John Barnes

12. SHAW FOR THE UTOPIANS, ČAPEK FOR THE ANTIUTOPIANS 165

Julie A. Sparks

13. SCIENCE AND SPIRITUALITY IN BACK TO METHUSELAH AND LAST AND FIRST MEN 185

Susan Stone-Blackburn

14. SKEPTICAL SPECULATION AND BACK TO METHUSELAH 199

Tom Shippey

15. BACK TO METHUSELAH: AN EXERCISE OF IMAGINATION 215

Peter Gahan

REVIEWS

THE WAR OF THE WORLD-BETTERERS (Selected

Correspondence of Bernard Shaw: Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells, edited by J. Percy Smith) 239

R. F. Dietrich

INDEFATIGABLE! (Selected Correspondence of Bernard Shaw: Bernard Shaw: Theatrics, edited by Dan H. Laurence) 246

Leon H. Hugo

WIT, COMMON SENSE, AND PROPHETIC VISION (The

Complete Prefaces, Vol. 2: 1914-1929, edited by Dan H. Laurence and Daniel J. Leary) 253

Sally Peters

INTERSECTIONS (Shaw's People: Victoria to Churchill by Stanley Weintraub) 258

Margot Peters

THE LATEST BIOGRAPHY OF SHAW (Ascent of the Superman by Sally Peters) 261

Frederick P. W. McDowell

SHARDS OF SHAW (Shaw and Joyce: "The Last Word in

Stolentelling" by Martha Fodaski Black) 265

J. L. Wisenthal

A CONTINUING CHECKLIST OF SHAVIANA 271

John R. Pfeiffer

CONTRIBUTORS 293

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