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Maureen Kincaid Speller (1959–2022)

Author of A Traveller in Time: The Critical Practice of Maureen Kincaid Speller

2+ Works 11 Members 1 Review

About the Author

Includes the name: Maureen Kincaid Speller

Works by Maureen Kincaid Speller

Associated Works

Interzone 259 (2015) — Contributor — 10 copies
Interzone 284 (2019) — Contributor — 7 copies
Interzone 271 (2017) — Contributor — 4 copies
Gramarye 10 (2016) — Contributor — 2 copies
Vector 296 (2022) — Contributor — 1 copy, 1 review
The BSFA Review 9 (2020) — Contributor — 1 copy
Vector 291 (2020) — Contributor — 1 copy
BSFA Awards 2022 (2023) — Contributor — 1 copy


Common Knowledge



This is a collection of reviews and criticism by the late Maureen Kincaid Speller (1959–2022), a British sf critic. I found it tough going at first, and I would have to fault the arrangement of the book and some of the editorial choices for that. The book begins with a number of essays by Speller on broad topics, but no context is given for them, not even dates of original publication, which makes them hard to digest. If Speller is commenting on the low quality of the Hugo Award shortlist, it makes a big difference if we are talking 2005 or 2015, but you have to look that up in the back of the book; many of the pieces are clearly intervening in early 2000s sf blog discourse... but how? There are then a number of reviews of anthologies, which I don't think show Speller (or any critic) off at her best; these kind of reviews can only skim the surface of an individual story and don't have a strong sense of argument. Finally, about halfway through the book we get to reviews of individual novels, movies, and television programs, and suddenly Speller snaps into focus as an incisive, thoughtful critic. There were no reviews of books I had actually read, but as a good reviewer ought, Speller gives you a sense of what these books were doing, how well they did it, and why you might want to read them; I have jotted several titles down on my always-increasing list of books to get from the library. I was more likely to have seen some of the films discussed (Arrival, The Force Awakens, The Hobbit), and these presented incisive takes even when I disagreed with them. I think if these reviews focused on single texts had come first, I would have had a better sense of Speller and her philosophy which would have let me better understand her takes in some of the sf conversations. So, worth reading if you like sf criticism (and I certainly do), but not as strong a showing for Speller's work as I think could have been made.… (more)
Stevil2001 | Jul 20, 2024 |


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½ 3.4