Gary Westfahl

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Gary Wesley Westfahl (born May 7, 1951)[1][2] is a scholarly author and reviewer of science fiction. He has written reviews for the Los Angeles Times,[3] Internet Review of Science Fiction[4] and Locus Online. He worked at the University of California in Riverside until 2011 and is now an Adjunct Professor at the University of La Verne.[1]

Life[edit]

Westfahl was born in Washington, DC, in 1951. In 1986 he graduated from Claremont University with a PhD in English.[1]

He currently resides in Claremont, California, with his wife Lynne and cats Darwin and Desmond. His daughter, Allison, is a lawyer, his son-in-law, Steven Kong, is a doctor, and his son, Jeremy, is a mathematics graduate student at UC Irvine.[citation needed]

Work[edit]

Westfahl coordinates English programs at the university's Learning Center and "has written or edited 24 books of scholarship on science fiction". He teaches science fiction, but has not written any. His wife Lynne is a professor in the theater department at Cal State Fullerton. Westfahl also taught at Heman G. Stark Correctional Facility for young adults, which closed in 2010.[5]

Westfahl edited the The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy published in 2005.[6] He also edited Science Fiction Quotations. Both books are described as useful and fun.[7]

In his essay "For Tomorrow We Dine: The Sad Gourmet at the Scienticafe", Westfahl, co-editor of "Foods of the Gods: Eating and the Eaten in Fantasy and Science Fiction" (University of Georgia Press) discusses terrible food depicted even in "wonderful futures". He also notes the bland buildings and "overall atmosphere is one of cleanliness and sterility" resembling a hospital, attributing this to depictions of civilizations that "tend to maintain large populations" that "take on the characteristics of institutions."[8]

He wrote the book The Mechanics of Wonder published in 1998 about the history of science fiction genres. A review in Utopian Studies called it "an important book for anyone who deals with the history of science fiction or the description, history, and/or historiography of genres and described it as dealing with a "Battle of the Books, a culture-skirmish between Old World and New World claims to (Science Fiction), between different approaches to scholarship, and on broader politics".[9]

A review of his 2000 book, Science Fiction, Children's Literature and Popular Culture, says it offers strong and intelligent insights about a number of popular cultural forms, but that "the book does not offer any overarching argument" and is too personal in its approach to the subject.[10]

His 2002 book Science Fiction, Canonization, Marginalization, and the Academy, written with George Slusser, "contends that scholars and critics exercise "control over literature" by deciding that some texts and genres should be "enshrined or `canonized'" while others are marginalized ("exiled") from scholarship and literature classes."[11]

Westfahl is a prominent science fiction critic along with Damien Broderick, John Clute, Thomas M. Disch, Carl Freedman, Stanislaw Lem, Eric Rabkin, Joanna Russ, and Brian Stableford.[12]

Selected publications[edit]

  • The Spacesuit Film: A History, 1918-1969. Jefferson, NC, and London: McFarland & Company, 2012. 361 + x pp. paper. ISBN 978-0-7864-4267-6
  • Editor. Science Fiction Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005. 461 + xxi pp. paper.
  • Editor. The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy: Themes, Works, and Wonders. 3 volumes. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2005. 1395 + xxix pp.
  • Science Fiction, Children's Literature and Popular Culture: Coming of Age in Fantasyland. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2000. 157 pp.
  • The Mechanics of Wonder: The Creation of the Idea of Science Fiction. Liverpool: Liverpool UP, 1998. 344 pp. (cloth)
  • Gary Westfahl and George Slusser, eds. Science Fiction, Canonization, Marginalization, and the Academy.[13]

Articles[edit]

ISFDB catalogs perhaps 100 publications.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Westfahl, Gary". Revised October 25, 2014. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (sf-encyclopedia.com). Retrieved 2014-12-20. Entry by 'GW/JC', Westfahl and editor John Clute.
  2. ^ a b "Gary Westfahl – Summary Bibliography". ISFDB. Retrieved 2014-12-20. Select a title to see its linked publication history and general information. Select a particular edition (title) for more data at that level, such as a front cover image or linked contents.
  3. ^ Westfahl, Gary. "Orange County Apple and Other Aberrations" (bibliographic data). Los Angeles Times. February 3, 1991. Page BR11.
      Tags: Science fiction & fantasy, Novels, Books-titles, Books-authors. (subscription required)
  4. ^ Westfahl, Gary. "What Science Fiction Leaves Out of the Future #2: The Day After Tomorrow". The Internet Review of Science Fiction. March 2009.
  5. ^ Hughes, Wesley G. "A 'sense of wonder' now and then". Contra Costa Times. July 19, 2009.
  6. ^ de Lint, Charles. The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy (book review). The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. April 1, 2006.
     Questia Online Library (subscription required)
  7. ^ Hassler, Donald M. "[The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy]: Themes, Works, and Wonders" (book review). Extrapolation. December 22, 2005.
     Questia Online Library (subscription required)
  8. ^ Han, Sallie. 2001 "A food fantast when sci-fi tries to give us a taste of the future, it's often rotten – and wrong". Daily News. December 31, 1997.[dead link]
  9. ^ Erlich, Richard D. "The Mechanics of Wonder: The Creation of the Idea of Science Fiction" (review). Utopian Studies. March 22, 1999.
     Questia Online Library (subscription required)
  10. ^ Hintz, Carrie. "Science Fiction, Children's Literature and Popular Culture: Coming of Age in Fantasyland" (review). Utopian Studies. January 1, 2001.
     Questia Online Library (subscription required)
  11. ^ Abrash, Merritt. "Gary Westfahl and George Slusser, eds. Science Fiction, Canonization, Marginalization, and the Academy" (book review). Utopian Studies. March 22, 2002.
     Questia Online Library (subscription required)
  12. ^ Harris-Fain, Darren. "Speculations on Speculation: Theories of Science Fiction". Extrapolation. Red Orbit/ University of Texas at Brownsville. January 26, 2006.[dead link]
  13. ^ [1] (book review). Utopian Studies. 2002.
     Questia Online Library (subscription required)

External links[edit]