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Authored by: Victoria de Zwaan

The Routledge Companion to Science Fiction

Print publication date:  January  2009
Online publication date:  March  2009

Print ISBN: 9780415453783
eBook ISBN: 9780203871317
Adobe ISBN: 9781135228361


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The story of “the slipstream” is not hard to tell. It has a well-known history, so far book-ended by two documents: Bruce Sterling’s 1989 Science Fiction Eye essay “Slipstream,” and Feeling Very Strange: the slipstream anthology (2006), edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel. I will discuss both of these documents and their critical reception below, but it should perhaps first be said that the most notable element of the continuing story of the slipstream is the apparent indeterminacy of the meaning of the term. Two fairly typical comments come from Jed Hartman, who calls the term “an ill-defined hodgepodge of several overlapping concepts” (Hartman 2005), and Greg Johnson, who says “there’s some agreement that there’s something different going on out there, and it may as well be called slipstream, but nobody’s quite sure what it is” (Johnson 2006).

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