Search SFE    Search EoF

  Omit cross-reference entries  

Franklin, H Bruce

Entry updated 7 November 2023. Tagged: Author, Critic, Editor.

Icon made by Freepik from


(1934-    ) US critic and academic, a cultural historian in various positions at Stanford University from 1961, in that year giving one of the earliest university courses in sf in the USA. In 1972 he was dismissed by Stanford for making speeches protesting the university's involvement in the Vietnam War – a case well known to those interested in questions of academic freedom. He became full professor with tenure at Rutgers University in 1975; continued John Cotton Dana Professor of English and American Studies from 1987, and appointed emeritus on his retirement in 2015. His Future Perfect: American Science Fiction of the Nineteenth Century (anth 1966; rev 1968; exp and rev 1978; exp and rev 1995) has been one of the most influential of sf Anthologies, in drawing attention to the sheer volume of nineteenth-century sf. A later Franklin anthology, containing sf about nuclear weapons, is Countdown to Midnight: Twelve Great Stories about Nuclear War (anth 1984).

Franklin's two main studies of sf are Robert A. Heinlein: America as Science Fiction (1980) and War Stars: The Superweapon and the American Imagination (1988; exp rev 2008). The former relates Robert A Heinlein's career to contemporary US history from a Marxist perspective, and won the Eaton Award for nonfiction. The latter is a pungent and important study about the US preoccupation with super-Weapons in fact and fiction, and the way in which the fact has been influenced by the fiction, with a focus on sf tales which, tacitly or explicitly, anticipate the Holocaust of World War Three. Crash Course: From the Good War to the Forever War (2018) is both a memoir and a witty jeremiad about the future – including inevitable Future Wars – in store for America.

Franklin has published many other critical articles on sf and is among the genre's most respected commentators. He received the Pilgrim Award in 1983. He was a consulting editor of Science Fiction Studies from its inception until 2002. [PN]

see also: Critical and Historical Works About SF; SF in the Classroom.

Howard Bruce Franklin

born New York: 28 February 1934



works as editor


previous versions of this entry

This website uses cookies.  More information here. Accept Cookies