Castalia House is deeply honored to announce the publication of what we believe is the most important book about science fiction in years, TRANSHUMAN AND SUBHUMAN: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth by John C. Wright. The 369-page book is comprised of sixteen essays originally written by Mr. Wright for his journal, which have been edited, and in a number of cases, collated from more than one journal posting, by Mr. Wright.
The essays are brilliant and thought-provoking. They inspire, they inform, they educate, they entertain, and they will more than likely enrage a few readers. They provide fascinating insight into the mind and methods of one of science fiction’s greatest living masters. From beginning to end, Mr. Wright shows himself to be as able an essayist as he is a novelist.
Following an introduction by science fiction author Michael Flynn, Mr. Wright addresses everything from technological transhumanity to theological Gnosticism. He examines SF authors from H.G. Wells to Ted Chiang, and explains why it is A.E. van Vogt, and not Arthur C. Clarke or Ray Bradbury, who is the third of the Big Three of science fiction. And he explains why science fiction is fundamentally more important to humanity than what presently passes itself off as mainstream literature.
In “Science Fiction: What is it Good For?” Wright writes:
“Stories serve several quotidian purposes. I listed them above: they are fables to instruct the young and epics to preserve the memory of the great, and ghost stories to tell about campfires to give us all a sense of proportion and remind us (like the charioteers of Caesars during their triumphs and ovations) that all men are mortal. But there is something more that they serve, a purpose which is utterly unworldly, and utterly inexplicable to the Morlocks, who have no imagination, and need none.
“We sons of Adam are exiles here on this world. It does not suit us. We are not comfortable here, and those who say they are comfortable in this world of injustice and disease and death are not more sane and more well adapted to the environment than we who dream; they are merely inert in their souls, too dull to hear the horns of Elfland softly blowing.”
To read TRANSHUMAN AND SUBHUMAN is to not only hear the horns of Elfland blowing, but to understand why they must be blown.
In the company with TRANSHUMAN AND SUBHUMAN, we are also announcing the publication of a second ebook by Mr. Wright. AWAKE IN THE NIGHT is the first novella that is contained in the anthology-novel AWAKE IN THE NIGHT LAND. We are publishing it separately in order to be able to periodically give it away via Kindle Select and thereby introduce unsuspecting individuals to the epic horrors and forlorn hopes of the Night Land. It is also an attempt to address the surprising price elasticity of ebooks, as we have noticed that more than a few people prefer to take a chance on a $2.99 ebook that they will not take on a much longer $4.99 ebook. Since we are but humble servants of the market, we are happy to accommodate those economic preferences.