Summary

This ingeniously conceived anthology raises the intriguing question,If Thomas Pynchon’sGravity’s Rainbowhad won the Nebula award in 1973, would the future distinction between literary fiction and science fiction have been erased?Exploring the possibility of an alternate history of speculative fiction, this literary collection reveals that the lines between genres have already been obscured. Don DeLillo’s “Human Moments in World War III” follows the strange detachment of two astronauts who are orbiting in a skylab while a third world war rages on earth. “The Ziggurat” by Gene Wolfe traverses a dissolving marriage, a custody dispute, and the visit of time travelers from the future. T. C. Boyle’s “Descent of Man” is the subversively funny tale of a man who suspects that his primatologist lover is having an affair with one of her charges. In “Schwarzschild Radius,” Connie Willis draws an allegorical parallel between the horrors of trench warfare and the speculative physics of black holes. Artfully crafted and offering a wealth of esteemed authors—from writers within the genre to those normally associated with mainstream fiction, as well as those with a crossover reputation—this volume aptly demonstrates that great science fiction appears in many guises.