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Beyond science fiction : Judith Merril and Isaac Asimov’s quest to save the future LeBlanc, Michael


Critics and historians of science fiction widely recognize the genre's importance as a forum for political ideas during the 1950s. But the political role of science fiction diminished during the 1960s, overshadowing the ongoing involvement of sf writers in future-related debates. This paper employs biography, autobiography, memoir, archival papers, recordings, and secondary sources to demonstrate that sf writers continued to discuss the future and its potential problems after the 1950s. Judith Merril and Isaac Asimov, two giants in science fiction, form the core of this paper's focus. Merril and Asimov began to discuss the future in essays, interviews, and documentaries in the 1960s. By the early 1970s, Merril and Asimov were examining the then-emerging problems of overpopulation and planetary ecology in mainstream non-fiction. Merril and Asimov demonstrate that sf writers still addressed political and social issues in the 1960s and early 1970s - even if their involvement increasingly took place outside the boundaries of science fiction literature.

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