I have been indebted in the preparation of this thesis to my supervisor, Dr David Bradshaw of Worcester College, whose patience and kindness, as well as his academic experience, have been invaluable to me. I am extremely grateful to Mr Dan Simmons for allowing me to interview him and to reproduce that interview here, and to Mr Brian Aldiss for talking to me about his work. The help of the staff of the Bodleian Library and the Oxford University English Faculty Library, the encouragement of Professor John Kelly and Dr Nigel Thompson, and the procedural guidance of Rachel Baines and Justine Crump in the Oxford University Graduate Studies Office have also been most helpful. The informal support and encouragement of many friends has been indispensable, and I would like particularly to acknowledge the contribution of Helen Angove, Matthew Graham, Rachel, Max and latterly Ella Khanna, Anthony Wright, Raine Ryland, Jenny and Martin Purser, Nick Hallard, the scattered and secularised remnants of the Offington Park Methodist Church Young Peopleís Fellowship, and all the members of what was once DougSoc.

My parents, Terry and Margaret Hallard, have been a constant source of support – emotional, moral and of course financial – during my postgraduate years, and this thesis would certainly not have existed without them. It is thanks to my father that I first became interested in science fiction when I was a great deal less large, and – although our literary tastes are now widely divergent – it is to him that this thesis is dedicated.

My wife Beatrice has been, always, my pillar, my joy and my guiding light, and I thank her.

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