Comments from reviewers

 The Victim as Criminal and Artist: Literature from the American Prison

"'I am possess'd' wrote Walt Whitman, see myself in prison shaped like another man,/ And feel the dull unitermitted pain.' Likewise, Bruce Franklin in The Victim as Criminal and Artist is possessed. . . . The study's force comes from its willingness to examine materials that provide nineteenth-century underpinnings to much modern writing: African folk and work songs, blues, Clotel, early criminal narratives, the prose of O. Henry and Jack London. The book ends with Franklin's own critical ambivalence on display. After his freewheeling overview comes a 33-page annotated bibliography of literature by convicts, 1800-1977. Like Whitman as poet, Franklin as critic contains multitudes."
Eric Solomon, Nineteenth Century Fiction

"The Victim as Criminal and Artist presents an excellent critique of established criteria of literary evaluation, supports an enormous volume of work in criminology and penology, and illuminates the relationship between the imprisonment of oppressed groups and literary creativity."
John W. Martin, Contemporary Sociology

"Mr. Franklin gives us an important book. . . . He has written a significant, troubling book which makes me question my deep- rooted assumptions about criminality, 'low' and 'high' culture, and America itself."
Irving Malin, American Literature

"Franklin's study has so many applications and arguments that it is difficult to place it in one category. It is literary criticism; it is a note from the underground; it is literary history and a pungent political treatise."
Terence Ripmaster, Negro History Bulletin

"Franklin's study clearly breaks new ground--organizing and interpreting for us major themes and issues in what is, indeed, a gigantic field of writing. . . . A distinct richness flows through The Victim as Criminal and Artist, and one cannot help thanking H. Bruce Franklin for giving a sense of order and perspective to such a troublesome body of literature."
Charles R. Larson, The Chronicle of Higher Education

" . . . may contribute more to the . . . pursuit of new penology than any previously published work. At the very least, it will stand as a seminal exploration of the relationship between creative literature and imprisonment in America. . . . indispensable for anyone engaged in the serious study of imprisonment. . . . reveals more about the historical experience and continuing personal cataclysms of imprisonment than most of the sepulchral texts combined."
Scott Christianson, Criminal Law Bulletin

"H. Bruce Franklin has successfully combined the roles of scholar and activist. . . . His personal and professional interests have again come together in this masterful attempt to explore the neglected literature of society's victims and those who have identified with them."
Ronald D. Cohen, In These Times

"Most of all, The Victim is one of those few books that reveal the structure and the collective mentality of America in tendon, fibre, muscle and neuron. It is a fine, fine book, a noble work, another of those explosions (though there are not too many) which, even if not heard, will produce air shocks and tsunamis at great distances in time and thought."
John A. Williams, author of The Man Who Cried I Am

"Franklin has produced a ground-breaking study of convict literature. . . . This book may not launch a major revaluation of American letters, but it will, at least, be much used by students of American literature and culture."

"Franklin opens a new area of American literary history . . . This important book is informed by leftist social criticism, passionately argued, and eminently scholarly . . . . It upsets traditional assumptions but is profoundly affirmative . . . .
Kirkus Reviews

" . . . a bold bid to reshape American literary criticism . . . . Franklin's book . . . will interest all those concerned with literature. It should be mandatory reading for English teachers. At a time when classy literature dishes up ethnic whining, New York neuroses and Southern psychoses, it's a relief to get a whiff of real humanity, of writing where words are used not to mask society but to strip away its mask. Franklin provides that service."
Hartford Courant

"Franklin . . . brings a fresh perspective to the meaning, value and contributions that have been made by the men and women whose ideas and talents were molded in the crucible of the cage. . . . Professor Franklin makes an eloquent and persuasive case for his views. . . . An open-minded reading of The Victim as Criminal and Artist should convince even the most hard-nosed skeptic that H. Bruce Franklin could well be right when he says prison literature in America `is central rather than peripheral to our literature.'"
Los Angeles Times

"Franklin expands the dimensions of the study of U.S. literature by examining the works of writers, primarily black, whose prose and poetry are based on their experiences as prisoners. . . . What results is a challenging redefinition of 'American' literary excellence founded on a broader consideration of social context and values."

"Claiming to be the first critical study of American prison literature, this important and exciting survey actually encompasses the whole range of the literature of oppression. . . . (Franklin's) book, written with passion and intelligence, reclaims a significant segment of American literature."
Publishers Weekly

"The Victim as Criminal and Artist is an important contribution both to American studies and to current literary methodology, virtually constituting a whole new field of study."
F. R. Jameson

"Franklin's book merits the description of 'a seminal work.' He provides a framework for, and begins to develop, an interpretation of a truly American cultural tradition."
San Francisco Bay Guardian

"The Victim as Criminal and Artist is a vitally important book that redefines American literature and gives a long overdue tribute to artists who have suffered the brutality of the prison system."
A Word on Books

"(Franklin's) research is thorough; his empathy is apparent and his grasp of the subject is an impressive as it is complete. Although the book would be recommended as the backbone of any course teaching the subject, it does not read like a textbook. On the contrary, this book is a pleasure to read.
Franklin's concepts . . . crackle with a freshness more often found in poetry than in prose. And he is always one step ahead of the reader; yet, with the skill of a thoughtful guide, he is careful never to lose the reader. Instead he quickly involves the reader with a series of interacting historical perspectives; then he offers a critical analysis as unique and as innovative as the material being analyzed."
Jerome Washington, American Book Review

 Future Perfect: American Science Fiction of the Nineteenth Century

"The essays are brilliant and challenging; the fiction, delightful and entertaining. A reader could not ask for much more."
Los Angeles Times

"The book is an authentic find, a worthwhile addition to the libraries of all science fiction aficionados, as well as to those of readers interested in the history of America's literature of the imagination."
Groff Conklin

"Engineers tend to be avid readers of science fiction, and in trying to imagine the impact this book will have on them, I can only recall that Joseph Conrad kept A. R. Wallace's book, Malay Archipelago, on his night table for eight years. . . . Franklin's own critical essays, which make up a quarter of the book, will provide countless hours of cogitation and rumination for anyone interested in the history, nature, and value of science fiction, or, putting it more specifically, for anyone who has a fancy to indulge in artistic speculation about automata, marvelous inventions, medicine men, the psyche, and space and time travel."
Walter James Miller, Engineer

"By meticulously detailing the definitions necessary to form the boundaries of science fiction, Franklin makes possible a more complete awareness and analysis of the extant writing and sets a standard for putative science fiction authors to follow. . . . The book is a treasure."
Robert Baehr, American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

"Future Perfect . . . will interest all, young and old, who want to read the best 19th-century samples of a genre dominant in today's literature and who, furthermore, welcome an intelligent critic's aid in placing the genre itself within the widest context of American literary history of both the 19th and the 20th centuries."

"Franklin's study is a kind of tour de force."
San Francisco Examiner

"Invaluable as a contribution to . . . American Studies. Franklin surpasses his predecessors."
Mark Hillegas, Saturday Review

"In the age of the unperson and the mini-thought, in which a kind of anti-literature has achieved a vogue, this suggests some dizzying possibilities."
The Irish Times (Dublin)

"This is a probing, important work."
Daily Sentinel

"How soon will it be, one wonders, before some enterprising American university has a Chair in Science Fiction? Professor Franklin is such an obvious choice to fill it."
Sunday Times (London)

"FUTURE PERFECT is a marvelous book, and a necessary one for both the s-f fan without strong literary interests and for the student of literature."
The Pilot


" . . . this book comes as a revelation."
Isaac Asimov

"Professor Franklin's book stands in a class by itself."
P. Schuyler Miller

" . . . a lovely big book. . . . [that] delightfully demonstrates that `to move into past visions of the future or past is to shift our own consciousness in time in extraordinary ways.'"
Anthony Boucher, New York Times

"This combined anthology and critical essay of/on 19th Century American science fiction is witty, informative, literate, imaginative, well- selected, and--fresh."
Judith Merril

"The serious reader, the collector, and the student of literature will find it a worthy addition to his library."
L. Sprague de Camp

"H. Bruce Franklin has done a major service. . . . I hope a lot of contemporary science fiction specialists read his book; it will do them a world of good. And I hope it will help break down the wall which the critics of general literature have erected against their work. . . . Professor Franklin has struck a powerful blow for the cause of regaining our lost unity."
Poul Anderson

New York Times Selection of Books for Summer Reading, 1966.

New York Times Christmas Guide for Readers, 1966.

Quality Paperback Book Club Selection, 1978

Robert A. Heinlein: America as Science Fiction

Eaton Award for Best Nonfiction Book of 1980   1981

"In this outstanding biography and critique, Franklin presents a carefully documented and thoroughly researched analysis of both Heinlein's works and the greater context of world events in which they occur. . . . Highly recommended."
Library Journal

"Most exciting is Franklin's book about Heinlein, not only because a book-length study of single author is a rarity in science fiction criticism, but because it is a particularly fine work: thorough and responsible but not overly pedantic, and illuminating about Heinlein's characteristic themes, the contradictions in his treatment of them and their relationship to his social milieu. Franklin's observations about Heinlein and America are, by extension, of interest in a consideration of the relationship between any science fiction and the social milieu from which it grows. . . .
Franklin's study of Heinlein is the first in a series of critical studies of science fiction writers edited by Robert Scholes. If the other volumes in the series come anywhere near the standard set by Franklin's work, science fiction criticism will truly have grown up to the stature of mainstream literary criticism."
Queen's Quarterly

"Franklin is one of those critics with whom one may frequently disagree but from whom one almost always learns. So it is with the book on Heinlein. . . . it also is one of the finest books we have on any writer of science fiction as well as being an important addition to American cultural studies."
American Literary Scholarship

"(Heinlein) is probably the most read of the living science fiction authors, if not the most popular. Franklin's study has exposed and cataloged the roots of that appeal . . . . If, like some readers of science fiction, you have avoided reading Heinlein, put off by his political reputation, this excellent introduction to his work may persuade you to read him, and it will tell you where to begin."
Denver Post

"A cruel but fair study of Heinlein's work. . . . (Franklin) sees Heinlein as evading the realities of history and encapsulating in an extreme form the myth of middle-class self-creation. But Heinlein is also a frontrunner of America's triumphs and tribulations. A genuinely fascinating book."
Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald

"I loved every word of this detailed examination of the works of a writer who has been a major influence in the field of speculative fiction for more than fifty years."
Hudson Sun

"Not merely a critical work, but also an excellent survey of Heinlein's entire career and output. . . . Unlike all too much academic criticism, Franklin's is highly readable and, for the most part, equally sensible."
San Francisco Chronicle-Examiner

"H. Bruce Franklin, in his outstanding biography and critique, "Robert A. Heinlein: America as Science Fiction," has captured the complexity and contradictions that make Heinlein's stories so popular and fascinating."
San Diego Union

War Stars: The Superweapon and the American Imagination

Choice: Outstanding Academic Book of 1989

"In WAR STARS, H. Bruce Franklin writes American history from a new angle . . . It astonished me--but it was totally convincing throughout."
--Isaac Asimov

"A searing and penetrating history of the American obsession with finding a technology that will end wars forever . . . . Its analysis of American fiction and films provides a new dimension to the subject."
--Carl Sagan

"If there is a future, and perhaps Franklin's book will help to insure there is one, then WAR STARS will be a classic. This book should be placed on the desks of all public officials, elected or appointed."
--John Seelye, Graduate Research Professor, U. of Florida

"Thought provoking--insightful--brilliant. Franklin's analysis marks a watershed in the debate over nuclear weapons and Star Wars. He has broken new ground in this book, which will be talked about for years to come."
--Michio Kaku, Professor of Nuclear Physics City University of New York

"A wide-ranging, highly readable, and thoroughly stimulating book. Franklin's provocative study is essential to an understanding of the ideological and popular-culture dimensions of our long national obsession with superweaponry."
--Paul Boyer, the Merle Curti Professor of History University of California, Los Angeles

"[One of the two] most significant studies ever published in science fiction scholarship."
--Science Fiction Research Association Newsletter

"H. Bruce Franklin's most recent work is an insightful and at times chilling analysis of the relationship between technology and the imagination. . . By surveying the genre he terms `future-war fiction' Franklin reveals the intertwined destinies of our collective cultural imagination . . . and our military history. . . The book is structured to allow Franklin to play his analysis of the imaginations that first conceived of superweapons against the stories of a select handful of visionaries who occupied central roles in making these imagined instruments of war real. . . . the book ends on a guardedly optimistic note, as Franklin ponders the future, much like a character in the novels he so skillfully analyzes. . . ."
--John Mascaro, American Book Review

"Franklin has emerged as an outstanding voice among radical critics of science fiction, and War Stars represents an important step in placing the genre within a political and historical context. The flip-flop word play in the title suggests this book's major focus; Franklin is concerned primarily with American ideology--particularly the place of technology within an aspect of the American belief system--and its effects on foreign policy and the arms race of the postwar period. While Franklin shows the dialectical relationship between the fictive products of imagination and American history, his emphasis here . . . is on the political and material consequences of an ideological position and national self-image. This book might be seen as a radical response to contemporary meditations on the nuclear bomb, including the ballyhooed PBS documentary War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Franklin's work is by far more outspoken and compelling . . . . War Stars' well-documented and rigorous argument . . . gains a specific and original force by its marshalling of evidence . . . .
--Christopher Sharrett, Film Quarterly

"WAR STARS is so crammed with fascinating facts and ideas that it should interest people of all political persuasions. The author's rigorous scholarship and analytical insights are delivered in an appealingly vigorous and pungent prose. And for those trying to comprehend the powerful effect of the SDI concept on the public imagination, it should be required reading."
--Paul Brians, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

"A marvelous study that weaves together some of the most important developments in US military history, a survey of popular literature, and an overview of American culture. . . . The story of America's conversion to belief in the efficacy of air power . . . is told better here than anywhere else. Franklin concludes with a penetrating discussion of the current debate over Star Wars . . . no source provides so profound a historical perspective to the debate as this one."