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Guide To Fiction and Science Fiction Literature

If you are looking for a short story, the Short Story Index (Ref. Z 5917 .S5 C6) located in the Reference room will indicate in which anthology it might be found. The Play Index (Ref. Z 5781 .P53) does the same for plays and Granger's Index to Poetry (Ref. PN 1022 .G7) will help you to locate poetry in collections. Critical material about an author and his work can be found in LIUCat (Long Island University's online book catalog). To obtain critical analysis simply search by subject under the author's name. Some critical essays from books may be located by using the Essay and General Literature Index (Ref. AI3 .E72).

Biographical Sources
Biographical information about an author's life can often assist the researcher in locating unique materials relating to an author's style, content, etc. There are many books in the Reference Department that contain biographical information about authors. Some of them include:

  • American Writers. (Ref. PS 129 .A55)
  • British Writers. (Ref. PR 85 .B688)
  • Contemporary Authors. (Ref. Z 1224 .C6) A bio-bibliographical guide to current authors and their works.
  • Twentieth Century Authors. (Ref. PN 771 .K86)
  • World Authors. (Ref. PN 451 .W3) A companion volume to Twentieth Century Authors.

A particularly useful set of books, entitled the Dictionary of Literary Biography, includes career biographies of the major writers appropriate to each volume. They reveal much about the development of an author's style and technique as it relates to personal history. Some of the volumes are listed below in chronological order:

  • British Authors
    • Victorian Poets before 1850. (Ref. PR 591 .V53 1984) Vol. 32
    • Victorian Poets after 1850. (Ref. PR 591 .V5 1985) Vol. 35
    • British Poets. (Ref. PR 581 .B7 1983) Vol. 19
    • British Poets 1914-1945. (Ref. PR 610 .B7 1983) Vol. 20
    • Poets of Great Britain and Ireland 1945-1960. (Ref. PR 610 .P56 1984) Vol. 27
    • Poets of Great Britain and Ireland Since 1960. (Ref. PR 611 .P58 1985) Vol. 40
    • British Dramatists Since World War II. (Ref. PR 106 .B74 1982) Vol. 13

  • American Authors
    • American Colonial Writers 1606-1734. (Ref. PS 185 .A39) Vol. 24
    • American Colonial Writers 1735-1781. (Ref. PS 193 .A38) Vol. 31
    • American Writers of the Early Republic. (Ref. PS 208 .A44) Vol. 37
    • American Poets 1800-1945. (Ref. PS 129 .A545 1986) Vol. 45
    • American Humorists 1800-1950. (Ref. PS 430 .A44) Vol. 11
    • American Renaissance in New England. (Ref. PS 243 .A54) Vol. 1
    • American Realists and Naturalists. (Ref. PS 201 .A46) Vol. 12
    • Antelbellum Writers in New York and the South. (Ref. PS 128 .A5) Vol. 3
    • American Writers for Children Before 1900. (Ref. PS 490 .A44) Vol. 42
    • American Writers for Children 1900-1960. (Ref. PS 490 .A43) Vol. 22
    • Twentieth Century American Dramatists. (Ref. PS 351 .T9) Vol. 7
    • Twentieth Century American Jewish Fiction Writers. (Ref. PS 153 .J4 T84) Vol. 28
    • Twentieth Century American Science Fiction Writers. (Ref. PS 374 .S35 T88)Vol.8
    • American Novelists 1919-1945. (Ref. PS 129 .A53) Vol. 9
    • American Writers in Paris 1920-1938. (Ref. PS 129 .A57) Vol. 4
    • American Novelists Since World War II. (Ref. PS 379 .A554) Vol. 6
    • American Poets Since World War II. (Ref. PS 323 .5A5) Vol. 5
    • The Beats: Literary Bohemians in Postwar America. (Ref. PS 228 .B6 B47) Vol. 16
    • Afro American Writers After 1955. (Ref. PS 153 .N5A39) Vol. 38
    • Afro American Fiction Writers After 1955. (Ref. PS 153 .N5A34) Vol. 33
    • Afro-American Poets Since 1955. (Ref. PS 153 .N5A38) Vol. 41

Critical Sources
After you checked the online catalog by subject under the author's name to see what books we have about the author and his work, there are still many additional sources of critical material in the Reference Department. These sources will give you articles or summaries of articles about the works of these authors. Some of the many general sources of criticism include:

  • Critical Survey of Drama: English Language Series. (Ref. PR 623 .C75 1985)
  • Critical Survey of Short Fiction. (Ref. PN 3373 .M24x) These multi-volume sets give lengthy critical essays on style and content of authors and their works as well as plot summaries of some.
  • Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism. (Ref. PN681.5 .C57)
  • Literature Criticism from 1400-1800 (Excluding Shakespeare). (Ref. PN 86 .L53 1984)
  • Shakespearean Criticism. (Ref. PR 2965 .S43 1984)
  • Nineteenth Century Literature Criticism. (Ref. PN 761 .N56)
  • Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. (Ref. PN 771 .G27)
  • Contemporary Literary Criticism. (Ref. PN 771.C59)
  • Encyclopedia of World Literature in the 20th Century. (Ref. PN 774 .L433)
The above sources index each other, e.g., if you look in Nineteenth Century Criticism for Kipling, it will direct you to the volumes of Twentieth Century Literary Criticism.

Regional Literary Criticism
Another set of equally useful books, entitled A Library of Literary Criticism, is unique in that it provides a regional approach to literary research. Some of the volumes in this set are listed below and include summaries of critical materials.

  • Modern American Literature. (Ref. PS 221 .C8) 3 volumes.
  • Modern British Literature. (Ref. PR 473 .T4) 3 volumes.
  • Modern Commonwealth Literature. (Ref. PR 9080 .M6) Includes African, Australian, Canadian, and Indian authors arranged by country.
  • Modern French Literature. (Ref. PQ 306 .M57) 2 volumes.
  • Modern German Literature. (Ref. PT 401 .D6) 2 volumes.
  • Modern Latin American Literature. (Ref. PQ 7081 .F63) 2 volumes. Includes authors from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatamala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, and Venezuela arranged by country.
  • Modern Romance Literature. (Ref. PN 813 .C8) Includes, in an alphabetical order, authors from Italy, Spain, and France.
  • The Critical Temper: A Survey of Modern Criticism on English and American Literature from the Beginnings to the Twentieth Century. (Ref. PR 85 .C77) The Critical Temper is especially useful because of its arrangement by literary period, e.g., Old English Literature, Medieval, Victorian, etc. It parallel's Moulton's Library of Literary Criticism (Ref. PR 83 .M73 1935; 8 volumes) in form. However, Moulton's gathers its criticism from various eras up to the twentieth century, and the former uses criticism from the twentieth century.

Bibliographies are complete or selective readings on a particular subject and can assist the researcher in finding additional critical and biographical material. Some of the many bibliographies found in the Reference Department are listed below: 

  • Novels
    • The American Novel, 1789-1959. (Ref. Z 1231 .P4 G4)
    • Articles on Twentieth Century Literature. (Ref. Z 6519 .P66) 7 volumes. This set is useful because of the brief annotations of criticism that it provides, whereas, the other simply list the critical sources. 
    • The Contemporary Novel. (Ref. Z 1231 .F4 A34)
    • English Novel Explication. (Ref. Z 2014 .F5 P26)
    • Twentieth Century English Novel. (Ref. Z 2014 .F5 C35)

  • Short Stories
    • American Short Fiction Criticism and Scholarship, 1959-1977. (Ref. Z 1231 .F4 W43)
    • Short Fiction Criticism. (Ref. Z 5917 .S5 T5)
    • Twentieth Century Short Story Explication. (Ref. Z 5917 .S5 W33)

  • Poetry
    • American and British Poetry: A Guide to the Criticism, 1925-1978. (Ref. Z 1231 .P7 A44)
    • Contemporary English Poetry. (Ref.Z 2014 .P7 S53 1984)
    • Poetry Explication. (Ref. Z 2014 .P7 K8 1980)

  • Drama
    • American Drama Criticism, 1890-1977. (Ref. Z 1231 .D7 P3 1979) with suppl.
    • Drama Criticism. (Ref. Z 1231 .D7 C6) 2 volumes
    • Dramatic Criticism Index. (Ref. Z 5781 .B8)
    • A Guide to Critical Reviews. (Ref. Z 5781 .S16 1984) Vol. 1 - American Drama
    • Modern Drama in America and England, 1950-1970. (Ref. 1231 .D7 H36 1986)

  • General
    • Articles on Twentieth Century Literature. See above.
    • Essay and General Literature Index. (Ref. AI 3 .E752)
    • Literary Criticism Index. (Ref. Z 6511 .W44 1984)
    • Magill's Bibliography of Literary Criticism. (Ref. Z 6511 .M25) 4 volumes

Summaries of novels or short fiction can often refresh the memory of the researcher writing about a particular work of fiction. Some of the sources providing this type of information are listed below:

  • The Gothic Novel, 1790-1830: Plot Summaries and Index to Motifs. (Ref. PR 868 .T3 T7)
  • Magill. Masterpieces of World Literature in Digest Form. (Ref. PN 44 .M3 1952)
  • Magill. Masterplots. (Ref. PN 44 .M3 1960) Multi-volume work
  • Magill. Survey of Contemporary Literature. (Ref. PN 44 .M34)
  • All of the above Magill publications are indexed in Magill Book Index (Ref. Z 1201 .M33)
  • Magill. Masterplots II: American Fiction Series. 4 volumes (Ref. PN 846 .M37 1986) This newer Magill's set includes general criticism plus summaries with a short bibliography following each essay.

Style Manuals
When the research is completed and you are ready to write the paper, you may want to consult one of the following style manuals for bibliographic and footnote formats:

Science Fiction Literature
Although many of the authors of science fiction works can be found in some of the above mentioned sources of biographical and critical materials; they also can be found in the following specialized sources.


  • Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature: Contemporary Science Fiction Authors II. (Ref. Z 5917 .S36 R42) Vol. 2
  • Science Fiction Encyclopedia. (Ref. PN 3448 .S45 S29) An invaluable source of information on authors, books, concepts, theories, terminology, etc.
  • Science Fiction Source Book. (Ref. PN 3433.4 .S35 1984)
  • Supernatural Fiction Writers. (Ref. PN 3435 .S96 1985)
  • Twentieth Century Science Fiction Writers. (Ref. PN 374 .S35 T89)
  • Who's Who in Science Fiction. (Ref. PN 3448 .S45 A83)


  • Anatomy of Wonder. (Ref. Z 5917 .S36 .A52) Though primarily an annotated bibliography, the section on History & Criticism leads the researcher to pertinent critical materials.
  • Magill's Survey of Science Fiction Literature. 5 Volumes (Ref. PN 3448 .S45 S88) A five volume set with lengthy essays about Science Fiction authors and individual works.
  • Science Fiction Writers. (Ref. PS 374 .S35 S36 1982) "Critical studies of the major authors from the early nineteenth century to the present day."
  • Research Guide to Science Fiction Studies: An Annotated Checklist of Primary and Secondary Sources for Fantasy and Science Fiction. (Ref. Z 5917 .S36 T93)
  • Year's Scholarship in Science Fiction and Fantasy, 1972-1975. (Ref.Z 5917 .S36 T95)

Bibliographies & Indexes

  • Checklist of Fantastic Literature. (Ref. Z 5917 .F3 B55 1972x)
  • Index to Stories in Thematic Anthologies of Science Fiction. (Ref. Z 5917 .S36 I53 1978)
  • Fantasy and Science Fiction. (Ref. Z 5917 .F3 P45)
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy Literature: Indexes to Literature. (Ref. Z 5917 .S36 R42) Volume 1
  • Science Fiction Story Index, 1950-1968. (Ref. Z 5917 .S36 S5)
  • Science Fiction Story Index, 1950-1979. (Ref. Z 5917 .S36 S5 1979)
  • Who Goes There: A Bibliographic Dictionary. (Ref. Z 5917 .S36 R6)
  • For Bibliographies about specific authors, such as Arthur C. Clarke and H.G. Wells, check in the online catalog under the author's name.
    • Arthur C. Clarke: a primary and secondary bibliography. (Ref. Z 8174.6 .S25 1984)
    • H.G. Wells, A Comprehensive Bibliography. (Ref. Z 8964.8 H2 1972)


  • Anatomy of Wonder. (Ref. Z 5917 .S36 A52 1981) This annotated bibliography includes brief plot summaries.
  • Fantasy Literature: A Core Collection and Reference Guide. (Ref. PR 830 .F3 T9)
  • Magill's Survey of Science Fiction Literature. 5 vols. (Ref. PN 3448 .S45 S88) Aside from the aforementioned critical information, this set provides lengthy and detailed summaries of plots of science fiction literature and general analyses of authors, style and content.
  • Reader's Guide to Fantasy. (Ref. PS 374 .F27 S4 1982b)
  • Visual Encyclopedia of Science Fiction: A Documented Pictorial Checklist of the Science Fiction World - Concepts / Themes / Books / Mags / Comics / Films / TV / Radio / Art / Fandom / Cults / Personal Commentaries by the Greatest Names in Science Fiction Writing. (Ref. PN 3448 .S45 V5 1977)

Compiled by J.J. Votapka
Revised 07/01

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