John Sutherland

  • Brave Old World by Philippe Curval, translated by Steve Cox
    Allison and Busby, 262 pp, £6.95, November 1981, ISBN 0 85031 407 0
  • The Insider by Christopher Evans
    Faber, 215 pp, £6.95, November 1981, ISBN 0 571 11774 0
  • Genetha by Roy Heath
    Allison and Busby, 185 pp, £6.95, November 1981, ISBN 0 85031 410 0
  • From the Heat of the Day by Roy Heath
    Allison and Busby, 159 pp, £6.50, October 1979, ISBN 0 85031 325 2
  • One Generation by Roy Heath
    Allison and Busby, 202 pp, £2.50, March 1981, ISBN 0 85031 254 X
  • Sardines by Nuruddin Farah
    Allison and Busby, 250 pp, £7.95, November 1981, ISBN 0 85031 408 9

In his history of the genre, Brian Aldiss suggests that most SF is what he calls ‘prodromic’: we must read it less as a prophecy of the future than as symptomatic of the present. By this rule 1984 will be 36 years out of date when we get there. A commoner view (on which Aldiss is naturally not so keen) holds that SF, like the Western, is an exclusively American line of fiction in which dabbling Europeans can easily make fools of themselves. Both generalisations survive a reading of Brave Old World. Curval, it would seem, is the leader of French SF. This novel, entitled Cette Chère Humanité, won the Prix Apollo in 1976. In France, ‘Curval’s name is as well-known as Frank Herbert’s in America or Michael Moorcock’s in Britain.’

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