Home About Me My Books FAQ Reviews Essays etc. Space Miscellany Contact


Essays, Guest Posts, and Commentary
by Sylvia Engdahl

About Me and My Books About Outlook Toward Space
About Writing and Publishing About Human Mind Powers
About Science Fiction About Medical Policy
Last updated September 2017. Starred essays are available in my ebook Reflections on the Future: Collected Essays. (Some are listed here in two categories.)




About Me and My Books

Reflections on Enchantress from the Stars *
A more detailed and formal presentation of things I have been saying in my FAQs and elsewhere for many years. Please read it, especiallly if you are a teacher who has discussed the book with young readers. (2017)

Update on the Critical Stage *
An exlanation of why The Far side of Evil isn't oudated, with some of my later thoughts about the Critical Stage. (2017)

Faith as the Focus of Children of the Star *
The intended themes of the trilogy, and why the third book appeared long after the first two. Contains major spoilers.) (1972, 2017)

A Response to Some Reactions to Journey Between Worlds *
The reasons for my characterization of the heroine: a reply to those who criticized it. (2015)

Why My Flame Novels Aren't Suitable for Kids *
The reasons why the novels in my Flame duologies shouldn't be given to readers below high school age. (2017)

FAQ About the Elana Books
Important information about Enchantress from the Stars and The Far Side of Evil -- please read!

FAQ About the Children of the Star trilogy
Answers to questions that have been asked about these novels (contains spoilers).

Autobiography: Sylvia Louise Engdahl *
Originally published in Something About the Author, Vol. 122, Gale, 2001 and Contemporary Aurhors, Vol. 195, Gale 2001. A long essay of about 20,000 words, illustrated with pictures. (1988, 2001)

The Mythic Role of Space Fiction *
Modified version of my acceptance speech for the 1990 Phoenix Award. (1990)

Not All Stories About the Future Should Be Called Science Fiction *
Foreword to the ebook edition of Anywhere, Anywhen. (2011)

Afterword to the 2003 Edition of The Far Side of Evil
Explaining what did, and did not, need updating in the new edition. (2003)

Afterword to Book One of the Rising Flame Duology
Its relation to Enchantress from the Stars and The Far Side of Evil. (2013)

FAQ About My Adult Novels
Questions that arise about my Hidden Flame duology and Rising Flame duology. (Last update 2017)

Discussion Guide for Stewards of the Flame
Questions about the story for discussion by book clubs. A free copy of the book will be sent on request if your book club is considering it.

Guest Post: The Story Behind Stewards of the Flame
Blog - "The Story Behind the Book", October 12, 2009

Guest Post: Medical Authorities Take Over the Government in Stewards of the Flame
Blog - The Book Connection, October 15, 2009

Toward Tomorrow
My former blog, no longer maintained but some posts may still be of interest. (2007-2009)



About Writing and Publishing

Perspective on the Future: The Quest of Space Age Young People *
Adapted from a speech presented to the Washington State Association of School Librarians. (1972)

The Relevance of Roots *
Based on a speech presented at Parkway School District, St. Louis. (1990)

How Genre Labeling Keeps Some Books from Being Discovered
Indies Unlimited, June 25, 2013

The Trouble with Genre Labeling *
Night Owl Reviews, February 2010

What It Takes to Write a Novel *
An invited contribution to Critique Magazine's "On Writing III," explaining why I haven't written more novels. (2003)

Guest Post: Why I Write About the Future
Blog "Mythical Books", September 26, 2014

Guest Post: How I Work
Beth's Book Review Blog, October 26, 2009

Are You Sure the Description of Your Book at Amazon Is Your Latest One?
Indies Unlimited, August 19, 2014

How to Post Author Updates at Amazon Author Central if You Don't Have a Blog
Indies Unlimited, July 29, 2016

Why Write for Today's Teenagers?
In Horn Book Magazine, June 1972, pp. 249-254. Reprinted in Crosscurrents of Criticism, Paul Heins, ed., The Horn Book, 1977. (Not available online.)

Do Teenage Novels Fill a Need?
In English Journal, February 1975, pp. 48-52. Reprinted in Young Adult Literature in the Seventies, Jana Varlejs, ed., Scarecrow Press, 1978. (Not available online.)



About Science Fiction

The New Mythology of the Space Age
A series of 30 "lectures" I wrote for an online graduate-level Media Studies course I taught. Those most relevant to science fiction are also listed separately in this section. (1995)

Space Age Mythology Revisited *
The one thing in my Space Age Mythology series that's no longer true. (2017)

Mass-Media Science Fiction vs. Literary Science Fiction
Part of my Space Age Mythology series. (1995)

Mythological Nature of Science Fiction and Levels of Mythic Significance
Parts of my Space Age Mythology series. (1995)

Religious Aspects of Space Films: Gods from Outer Space and Humanism vs. "The Force"
Parts of my Space Age Mythology series. (1995)

More About the Appeal of Star Wars vs. Star Trek
Parts of my Space Age Mythology series. (1995)

The Changing Role of Science Fiction in Children's Literature
In Horn Book Magazine, October 1971, pp. 449-455. Reprinted in Children and Literature, Virginia Haviland, ed., Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1973. (Not available online.)



About Outlook Toward Space

Confronting the Universe in the Twenty-First Century *
Afterword to The Planet-Girded Suns as republished in The Space Review. (2012)
Also read the
update to it on my "Plus 50 Years and Counting" page. (2016)

Update on the Critical Stage *
Recent thoughts about the Critical Stage theory presented in my novel The Far side of Evil, and why I now think space colonization is a long way off. (2017)

Space and Human Survival *
Why Expansion into Space is Important and How Orbiting Colonies Could Achieve It. (1994)

Tragedy in Space *
Written at the time of the Challenger disaster and updated for Columbia (1986, updated 2003, 2017)

Space Colonization, Faith, and Pascal's Wager *
Essay published in The Space Review, arguing that it is not irrational to have faith that space colonization can ensure the long-term survival of humankind. (2017)

Space Age Mythology Revisited *
The one thing in my Space Age Mythology series that's no longer true. (2017)

What About Mars?
My evolving views on the priority of colonizing Mars. (Last update 2016)

Achieving Human Commitment to Space Colonization:Is Fear the Answer?
What may be needed to build sufficient public support for space colonies before it's too late. (2006)

Plus 50 Years and Counting
Various short comments on the status of the space effort, first posted during the past decade. (2012)

The Significance of Belief in UFOs *
Why people believe in UFOs and abduction by aliens, and what this signifiies about the public's view of space. (1995, 2017)

The Meaning of Gaia in Space Age Mythology *
What the Gaia concept and devotion to Mother Earth reveals about public attitudes toward space. (1995, 2017)

Evolutionary Significance of Space Colonization and Its Impact on Anthropological Theory
A proposal for a Master's thesis that was never written. (1980)

The Long Tradition of Belief in Extrasolar Worlds
NFReads.com, April 1, 2016

Early Space Poetry
Annotated passages about space from poetry of the 17th through 19th centuries.

Hymn for Spacefarers
Intended for use by churches. (1971)

The New Mythology of the Space Age
A series of 30 "lectures" I wrote for an online graduate-level Media Studies course I taught, taking an anthropological view of myth. Those most relevant to outlook toward space are also listed separately in this section. (1995)

Myth as a Culture’s Adaptive Response to its Perceived Environment and Myth In and Outside of Time
Parts of my Space Age Mythology series. (1995)

Space Race
In Americans at War: Society, Culture and the Homefront, John P. Resch, ed., Vol. 4, Macmillan Reference, 2004. pp. 180-183. (Available in Infotrac, an online database accessible through public and school libraries.)

Introduction to The Apollo 11 Moon Landing
In The Apollo 11 Moon Landing (Perspectives on Modern World History series), Greenhaven Press, 2011. (Available at Amazon.com in the "Look Inside" and free download samples.)

Introduction to The Challenger Disaster
In The Challenger Disaster (Perspectives on Modern World History series), Greenhaven Press, 2013. (Not available online.)



About Human Mind Powers

The Role of Psi in Human Affairs *
An essay discussing the influence of unconscious telepathy on society.(2017)

Transhumanism Is a Dead End *
An essay arguing that the premises underlying transhumanism will retard scientific understanding of the human mind. (2003, 2017)

The Evolutionary Significance of the Metanormal
A book review essay published in the Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems. (1993)

ESP and Other Psi Powers Are Real
Part of the background information for Stewards of the Flame. Contains book lists and links. (2007, last update 2014)

Neurofeedback Technology Is Rapidly Improving
Part of the background information for Stewards of the Flame. Contains book lists and links. (2007)

People Are Learning Volitional Control of Pain Via Brain Feedback
Part of the background information for Stewards of the Flame. Contains book lists and links. (2007)

Firewalking Is Common Today
Part of the background information for Stewards of the Flame. Contains book lists and links. (2007, last update 2012)



About Medical Policy

The Worship of Medical Authority *
Introductory material for a Media Studies course I taught in 1995 about public attitudes toward medical care. (1995, 2017)

Overtreatment in Medicine Is Beginning to Be Recognized
Part of the background information for Stewards of the Flame. Contains book lists and links. (2007, last update 2014)

Government Control of Health Care Is a Serious Threat to Freedom
Part of the background information for Stewards of the Flame. Contains book lists and links. (2007, last update 2014)

Remote Health Monitoring Is Already Here
Part of the background information for Stewards of the Flame. Contains book lists and links. (2007)

Microchips Are Already Being Implanted in Humans
Part of the background information for Stewards of the Flame. Contains book lists and links. (2007, last update 2014)

The Mind's Influence on Health Is Well Established
Part of the background information for Stewards of the Flame. Contains book lists and links. (2007)

Current Treatment of Mental Illness Is Often Harmful
Part of the background information for Stewards of the Flame. Contains book lists and links. (2007, last update 2014)

Natural Death Seldom Occurs in Today's Society
Part of the background information for Stewards of the Flame. Contains book lists and links. (2007, last update 2014)