Review of From Here To Infinity: An Exploration of SF

Science Fiction Audibook Review

Clipper Audiobook - From Here to Infinity From Here To Infinity: An Exploration of Science Fiction
Lectures by Professor Michael D.C. Drout
7 CDs or 7 Cassettes – Approx. 7 hours [LECTURES]
Publisher: Recorded Books
Series: The Modern Scholar
Published: 2006
ISBN: (cassettes) 1419388754; (CDs) 1419388762
Themes: / Non-Fiction / History of Science Fiction / Lectures /

Esteemed professor Michael D.C. Drout traces the history of science fiction in this series of stimulating lectures. From Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to today’s cutting- edge authors, Drout offers a compelling analysis of the genre, including a look at hard-boiled science fiction, the golden age of science fiction, New Wave writers, and contemporary trends in the field.

I remember my Science Fiction English course in High School. Perhaps it was because I was at the peak of my teenage-angst snobbery, but I felt the teacher was teaching the course against her will. I left with a dislike of the “scholarly pursuit” of SF in the classroom.

After listening to Professor Drout, all those dislikes were washed away. He has a real knowledge of the history of Science Fiction and its roots. Although I’m not an expert, I pride myself on my knowledge of the genre’s history. Much of the material was not new to me, but Drout’s enthusiasm and pacing made the listening a pleasure.

Starting with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, he recounts the major progressions of SF up to Neal Stephenson and beyond. He offers some original thinking on how he categorizes many of the authors. I never considered Ray Bradbury a surrealist until Drout compared his work with J.G. Ballard. And anybody who devotes a large amount of a lecture to Cordwainer Smith is easily going to win me over.

Lectures included:

1 What Is Science Fiction?
2 The Roots of Science Fiction
3 Mysterious Lore, Marvelous Tech: The 1930s
4 Hard-Boiled Science Fiction: The 1940s
5 The Grand Master: Robert A. Heinlein
6 Onward and Outward: The 1950s, Space Travel, Apocalypticism, and the Beautiful Weirdness of Cordwainer Smith
7 A New Set of Questions: The “New Wave” of the 1960s and 1970s
8 The World Builder: Frank Herbert
9 The Surrealists: Ballard and Bradbury
10 The Computer Revolution: Cyberpunk and the 1980s
11 Post-Punk: Neal Stephenson
12 Women and Gender
13 The Satirists
14 The Shape of Things to Come

2 thoughts to “Review of From Here To Infinity: An Exploration of SF”

  1. Nice review TT! I didn’t know this series even existed!

    I’ve added a link to the professor’s blog. And here’s the blog post of him talking about the lectures. :)

    Also, there are a couple of other SF courses that have been reviewed on SFFaudio:


    and there was even a series of podcast lectures back in February…

    We’re Scholarly!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *