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Bildungsroman Science Fiction

Examples of Military Bildungsroman Science Fiction

  • Robert A. Heinlein: Starship Troopers
  • Orson Scott Card: Ender's Game
  • Joe Haldeman: Forever War
  • Diann Thornley: Ganwold's Child and Echoes of Issel
  • Felix C. Gotschalk: "Vestibular Man"

Examples of Other Bildungsroman Science Fiction

  • Alexei Panshin: Rite of Passage
  • Samuel R. Delany: The Einstein Intersection (1967)
  • Ursula K. LeGuin: A Wizard of Earthsea
  • A.A. Attanasio: Radix (1981)
  • Joan Vinge. Psion (1988) and Catspaw (1989)
  • James Sallis: The Long-Legged Fly (1992)
  • Lois Lowry: The Giver
  • Katie Waitman: The Merro Tree
  • Stephan Grundy: Attila's Treasure (1997)

Commentary about Bildungsroman Fiction

  • Michael Levy: "Young Adult Science Fiction as Bildungsroman" in C. W. Sullivan III, editor, Young Adult Science Fiction, Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996. ("This article discusses the differences between the traditional (male) bildungsroman and the more recently defined female bildungsroman and applies both to YA SF. Among the authors whose works are analyzed are H. M. Hoover, Louise Lawrence and Monica Hughes")

  • Andrew M. Butler: "Terry Pratchett and the Comedic Bildungsroman" in Foundation: The Review of Science Fiction (Number 67, Summer 1996)

  • Michael M. Levy: "Lois Lowry's The Giver: Interrupted Bildungsroman or Ambiguous Dystopia?" in Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction (Number 70, Summer 1997)


Orson Scott Card explains how Starship Troopers and Ender's Game both represent bildungsroman:
...the tradition of writing about the training of young people is called "bildungsroman" and it's also very, very old.

Orson Scott Card's comments about Diann Thornley's Ganwold's Child, in which he describes it as military bildungsroman [Source:

A very good first novel. In most ways, it seems to fall within that SF subgenre that can only be called military bildungsroman in which a youngster plunges into a demanding military environment and is forced to find out just how good he is. But Thornley subverts and transforms that subgenre at every turn.
Web page created 22 June 2000. Last modified 27 September 2000.
Research supported by East Haven University.
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