Technically, this wiki is a continuation of the hard-copy Clockworks : an analytical, selected list, with comments, of works useful for the study of the human/machine interface in SF, stressing English-language works produced 1895-1990. Clockworks 2 updates and supplements Clockworks 1. It will help users of the List and wiki if we review here the key elements of this technical title.
This List is divided into the following sections, with works arranged alphabetically within each section (we place in bold-face the brief names of sections; we ordinarily use the brief names for cross-references in the List):
- Reference Works
- Anthologies and Collections
- Literary Criticism
- Stage, Screen, and Television Drama
- Stage, Screen, and Television Drama Criticism
- Graphic and Plastic Arts
- Background Reading
Where we think it will aid users to do so, we have cross-listed items, referring you by name to the relevant section and again by name to the entry within that section.
Between them, Clockworks 1 and the initial Clockworks 2 wiki are very extensive but by no means exhaustive. Users of the List desiring additional titles should consult the reference works listed in Section I of Clockworks 1. Users who wish to recommend additional titles should consult How to Use this Wiki for instructions for adding titles. And, of course, users of the Clockworks 2 wiki should suggest corrections and additions to existing citations.
Besides being a bibliography (a list of books and other writings), our List and wiki handle filmography, videography, discography, and "graphography": we cite films, television shows, materials on records and audiotapes, and works in the graphic and plastic arts. And miscellaneous background items.
We provide comments with almost all citations; in particular, we often cite critical and reference works that summarize and discuss primary works. On a few occasions, we provide brief cautions about possible errors in works, or about content that we find at least problematic in recent works.
Note that the length of comments does not indicate the importance of works annotated. Some highly important works can be dealt with quite quickly (e.g., by referring readers to detailed analyses); some obscure works need relatively long annotations precisely because they are obscure (often deservedly so) but potentially significant for some research projects.
Again, we provide only a selection of works. We have attempted to cover most of the classic SF works and a number of lesser-known works; we also include in the primary works sections of the List and wiki a number of works that are not SF but still useful for the study of SF. Under Background we cite materials that will familiarize users with some of the social, political, and philosophical issues alluded to in the primary works using the theme of this volume.
For the Study of the Human/Machine Interface
We privilege humans in defining "useful works" in dealing with "the human/machine interface," often referring readers and users to works where our relationship with machines tells us something about the human—either as an eternal essence (if you believe) or a historically constructed category. How many prosthetics can we add to human beings before those human beings become cyborgs? Would it be well if more of us became cyborgs, helping to break down categories? How many more additions of mechanical or electronic parts before the cyborg becomes (just) a machine? Conversely, can a machine make itself into a human being? If so, what does that say about being a human being? About being a machine? What does it do to humans to be inside machines? Can a metaphorical apparat (the apparatus of the State) become sufficiently "mechanical" that it becomes a fairly literal machine? And so forth.
In our Abbreviations, we differentiate between "SF" and "S. F." "S. F." is "science fiction," and SF is "science fiction" plus related genres such as eutopias, dystopias, some fantasy, and some horror. We have declined to define "science fiction" and note the comparable inability of biologists to define "life," of attorneys to define "tort" let alone Justice, of mathematicians to define "point"—and we note the generations of literary critics who have discussed comedy and tragedy without ever coming up with standard definitions of those terms. Here, we recommend a definition for the meaning of "life" Rich Erlich heard somewhere and liked: "The process by which entropy is reversed, locally and temporarily, in a volume both in contact with and set off from surrounding space-time"; but we still won't try to define "science fiction."
Stressing English-Language Works Produced 1895-1990, for Clockworks 1 and to 2006 for the initial Clockworks 2
We do cover works in languages other than English, and cite works before 1895; and Clockworks 1 included some items of interest through the summer of 1992. Many of the works we cite are in English and from the latter part of what Thomas Carlyle called "the Mechanical age" ("Signs of the Times," listed under Background).
By the 1890s, in England and Western Europe and America, it became difficult not to think, at least occasionally, about machines. And in 1895, H. G. Wells published in New York and London The Time Machine: a novel with a scientist who has a wondrous machine under his control, a novel with a mechanized underworld that can enclose that machine. Anyway, for a number of reasons, including our idiosyncratic ones—such as the invention of movies in 1895—1895 and The Time Machine marks a good place to begin the serious collection of titles.
Three Final Notes
- SF works often appear under variant titles or pseudonymously and/or in variant editions or translations. We have tried to alert the users of this List to the problems we know of, but we can guarantee only that there are undoubtedly additional problems we know not of.
- At a point such as this, it is customary for bibliographers to state something like "We have attempted to examine all of the works we cite"; we haven't. If there are problems in the citations, users are invited to help correct them.
- The MLA Style Manual (1985) says that citations to films usually include "the title, underlined," plus "the distributor, and the year" (section 4.8.6); and current usage, as we have observed it, encourages citing also the country of production. These requirements seem straightforward; given the complexities of the film industry, however, they are not. Our citations to films, then, will give title (underlined), director (or major director), main country or countries of production, distributor and/or production company, and date of completion (or copyright) and/or of release--plus other information and warnings we think will be useful to users of the List. Students of SF filmography should consult the Internet Movie Database.
Acknowledgments for initial work on the Clockworks Project will be found at the end of the Introduction to Clockwork Worlds (1993): xvi.
In the Wiki, acknowledgements are given in the annotations, but special thanks are due to Bobby Maly for his work on Literary Criticism, and to Mark Wilson, our web designer and initial Wiki-Master.