Frederick Andrew Lerner, D.L.S.
Library and Information Science

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Essays by Fred Lerner

A Master of Our Art: Rudyard Kipling Considered as a Science Fiction Writer

Rudyard Kipling wrote of new inventions and future wars, and warned of the social consequences of technological change. And he exerted an immense influence on modern science fiction.

The Maid of Orleans

It was in A Book of Heroes that I first learned the story of Joan of Arc. But there’s more to that story than can be found in a children's book.

Libraries and Their Impact on Fantasy

More than other kinds of fiction, fantasy depends upon a continuity with earlier literature. Fantasy writers get more than literary sustenance from libraries. The viability of writing fantasy professionally depends upon libraries.

The Dewey Duodecimal System

What sort of library classification scheme might a twelve-fingered Melvil Dewey have invented?

Toward a Definition of Science Fiction: A Reply to James Gunn

There simply is no such thing as the definition of science fiction. How one defines it depends on what one intends to do with it. The reader, the writer, the editor, the publisher, the bibliographer, the historian, the teacher, the librarian, the critic — each has his own concerns, and those concerns necessarily shape, not only his working definition of science fiction, but also his entire approach to the question of defining SF.

A Subjunctive Geography

What is fantastic about the use of an imaginary place as a setting for fiction?

The Tragedy of Rudyard Kipling

In the last two decades of his life Rudyard Kipling came to discard the liberal sentiments that informed his youthful vision of empire. He became a reactionary and a racist and a vicious antisemite. Yet to the end of his life he continued to write some of the finest prose and verse ever produced in English. Many biographers have tried to explain his life and work, but it is from his own letters that one must discover the origins and the denouement of the tragedy of Rudyard Kipling.

The Life and Loves of Kimball O’Hara

Timeru Murari has produced two sequels to Kim, Rudyard Kipling's classic novel of India. These offer an intriguing view of one of my favorite fictional characters.

Sherlock Holmes and the Great Game

These two short pieces embody my longstanding fascination with the idea that some connection might exist between two of my favorite literary characters, Sherlock Holmes and Kimball O’Hara.

The Education of Sherlock Holmes

How did his early education help to shape the personality of Sherlock Holmes and prepare him for his remarkable career as a consulting detective?