movement in science fiction produced in the 1960s and 1970s
The New Wave was a movement in science fiction produced in the 1960s and 1970s and characterized by a high degree of experimentation in both form and content, a "literary" or artistic sensibility, and a focus on "soft" as opposed to hard science. New Wave writers often saw themselves as part of the modernist tradition in fiction, and the New Wave was conceived as a deliberate break from the traditions of pulp science fiction (SF), which many of the New Wave writers involved considered irrelevant and unambitious. The New Wave science fiction writers of the 1960s thus emphasized stylistic experimentation and literary merit over the scientific accuracy or prediction of hard science fiction writers.
The most prominent source of New Wave science fiction was the magazine New Worlds under the editorship of Michael Moorcock, who assumed the position in 1964. In the United States, Harlan Ellison's 1967 anthology Dangerous Visions is viewed as the best representation of the genre; J. G. Ballard and Brian Aldiss were also principal writers within the movement. The New Wave was a period marked by the emergence of a greater diversity of voices in science fiction, most notably the rise in the number of female writers, including Joanna Russ, Ursula K. Le Guin and Alice Bradley Sheldon (using the pseudonym James Tiptree, Jr.).
The New Wave engaged on complex levels with concepts such as entropy, postmodernism, surrealism, and utopia, and in this it was influenced by the political turmoil of the 1960s, such as the controversy over the Vietnam War, and by social trends such as the drug subculture, sexual liberation, and the environmental movement. The New Wave was critiqued for the self-absorption of some of its writers and was influential in shaping the development of subsequent genres, primarily cyberpunk and slipstream.
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