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The original paperback cover for Joanna Russ' 1975 novel The Female Man (detail above) called the book "startling." ( )

When Modernism Met Science Fiction: Three New Wave Classics

by Kim Stanley Robinson
Jan 5, 2014

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A fan named Peter Graham once said that the golden age of science fiction is 12. That's true for me, although like many other fans I'd insist that my first exposure to SF happened during the real golden age. The decade from 1965 to 1975 was science fiction's so-called New Wave, when the genre took on both the turmoil of the '60s and the literary techniques of high modernism. The mix of the two created spectacular results, as dozens of energized writers penned scores of wonderful books. To this day their impact is being recognized; 2014 will see Samuel R. Delany named the newest Grand Master of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

Here are three of the New Wave's best.

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