Philosophy and Science Fiction; Edited by Michael Philips; Prometheus Books; Buffalo, NY.
It is not exactlv a new idea to consider the philosoplical dimensions of science fiction. This anthology, which seems designed for one of Prof. Philips’s freshman survey courses, contains a few good, if obvious, selections from Stanislaw Lem, Borges, and Karel Capek in addition to several dreadful exercises in the genre by Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Norman Spinrad, and–the inevitably anthologized The Machine Stops–E. M. Forster, all prefaced by an introduction which seems to reduce ethics and metaphysics to matters of opinion, all of them fashionable. The curious reader will have to search other galaxies for the libertarian/traditionalist Poul Anderson or the unpredictable Harlan Ellison. There was a time when philosophers were also men of letters with literary taste; none of them, from Plato to Bergson, would have the patience to read, much less edit, this anthology. cc