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Latham, Rob

Entry updated 5 December 2022. Tagged: Author, Critic, Editor.

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(1959-    ) US critic and editor, best known for his criticism of the New Wave and for his work as an editor for the journal Science Fiction Studies.

Hoping to become a professional science fiction writer, Latham attended the Clarion Science Fiction Writers' Workshop at Michigan State University in 1985. During the summer of 1986, Latham, who was already a fan, took a science fiction class from Robert A Collins at Florida Atlantic University and Collins soon recruited him to work on the Semiprozine Fantasy Review where he served as reviews editor until it ceased publication in 1987. He also served as co-editor with Collins for the four annual instalments of the Book Review Annual series beginning with Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Review Annual (anth 1988) (see Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Review Annual). Latham entered Stanford University's Program in Modern Thought and Literature in 1989, receiving a PhD in 1995. Upon graduation he took a faculty position at the University of Iowa, where he was tenured and rose to the rank of Associate Professor. In 2008 he took a position as Associate Professor at the University of California, Riverside, where he taught American and British literature, cultural studies and science fiction until January 2016.

Latham's service to the field of science fiction and fantasy scholarship has been considerable. He served as book reviews editor for the newsletter of the Science Fiction Research Association from 1987 to 1989 and of the newsletter of the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts from 1987 to 1991 and has reviewed both science fiction and scholarly works about the field in a variety of venues, including all of the publications for which he has served as editor. In 1998 he began a three-year term as the IAFA's division head for science fiction and then was elected Vice President of the organization. Currently he helps direct the annual Eaton Conference on science fiction which is hosted by the University of California, Riverside. Latham's most important service to the field has been as Co-Editor (since 1997) of the scholarly journal Science Fiction Studies. He also serves or has served on the editorial boards of The Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, The Journal of Science Fiction Film and Television, Writing Technologies, Liverpool University Press's Science Fiction Texts and Studies Series and Gylphi Press's SF Storyworlds: Critical Studies in Science Fiction.

To date Latham has published one scholarly book, the well-regarded Consuming Youth: Vampires, Cyborgs, and the Culture of Consumption (2002) from University of Chicago Press, which studies contemporary youth culture and its relationship to technology in film and literature. In progress is a monograph on the science fiction of the 1960s and 1970s tentatively entitled «Cartographies of Chaos: New Wave Science Fiction and the Critique of Technocracy». Latham has co-edited Modes of the Fantastic: Selected Essays from the Twelfth Annual International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts (anth 1995) with Robert A Collins, and a textbook aimed at college audiences, Science Fiction: The Wesleyan Anthology (2010) with Istvan Csicsery-Ronay Jr, Arthur B Evans, Joan Gordon, Veronica Hollinger and Carol McGuirk (Latham's co-editors at Science Fiction Studies). He has also edited solo The Oxford Handbook of Science Fiction (anth 2014), designed for a moderately broad readership (though some familiarity with academic dialects is sometimes presumed); and Science Fiction Criticism: An Anthology of Essential Writings (anth 2017), an ambitious attempt to assemble a complex theoretical conversation about sf, beginning with Mary Shelley's introduction to the 1831 edition of Frankenstein but focusing primarily on current "discourses", mostly of the latter pieces being directed to academics. In addition, he has published numerous scholarly essays and book chapters (see link to his website below), and is a frequent participant at scholarly conferences. He received the Thomas D Clareson Award in 2013. [MiL/JC]

Robert Arch Latham

born West Palm Beach, Florida: 10 May 1959


works as editor


Book Review Annual

individual titles


previous versions of this entry

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