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Parrinder, Patrick

Entry updated 6 April 2023. Tagged: Author, Critic.

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(1944-    ) UK academic and critic, Professor of English at Reading University until his retirement in 2008, whose work in the sf field has focused primarily upon H G Wells. His H.G. Wells (1970) remains an excellent short introduction to the work and the man, though it may now seem unduly dismissive about Wells's later career. H.G. Wells: The Critical Heritage (anth 1972) reflects a similar viewpoint. Parrinder edited, with Robert M Philmus, H.G. Wells's Literary Criticism (coll 1980). The War of the Worlds: Notes (1981 chap) is a study guide. H.G. Wells: A Comprehensive Bibliography, 4th Ed (1986 chap), with J R Hammond, A H Watkins and the H G Wells Society, justifies its subtitle only if periodical publications are to be ignored. H.G. Wells under Revision: Proceedings of the International H.G. Wells Symposium, London, July 1986 (anth 1990) with Christopher Rolfe reflects some of the advances in Wells studies since Parrinder's first study, which in retrospect seems all the more prescient in the sophisticated seriousness of its approach. Parrinder has also edited two critical editions for The H G Wells Society: Select Conversations with an Uncle (Now Extinct) ([coll 1895] 1992 chap) with David C Smith, which includes previously uncollected material, and The Discovery of the Future ([1902 chap] coll 1989 chap), which includes also some lesser essays. In lighter mode, Parrinder's amusing "Beccon '87 Ghost Of Honour Speech" (August/September 1987 Ansible) is written as though by H G Wells visiting the 1987 Eastercon via Timeslip, and was delivered by Ian Watson in the role of Wells. Wells is revisited in more general terms in Shadows of the Future: H G Wells, Science Fiction and Prophecy (1995). Further Wellsian anthologies are H. G. Wells's Perennial Time Machine (anth 2001) edited with George Edgar Slusser and Daniè Chatelain, and The Reception of H. G. Wells in Europe (anth 2005) edited with John S Partington.

The useful Science Fiction: A Critical Guide (anth 1979) was followed by Science Fiction: Its Criticism and Teaching (1980), a clear-headed and subtle conspectus of the field from a scholarly point of view. Parrinder's anthology Learning from Other Worlds: Estrangement, Cognition and the Politics of Science Fiction and Utopia (anth 1999) surveys the history and present state of sf studies in general, with special reference to the critical heritage of Darko Suvin. [JC/DRL]

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

John Patrick Parrinder

born Wadebridge, Cornwall: 11 October 1944


works as editor

nonfiction works as editor


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