Alexei Panshin's The Abyss of Wonder



Books by Alexei and Cory Panshin

   I was standing in the backyard of the House of Tomorrow a few weeks after I graduated from high school when all of a sudden it became clear to me what I ought to be doing with the manual typewriter I'd just been given as a graduation present.  A hand fell on my shoulder, as it were, and a voice whispered in my heart.  The voice said, "Write."

     Since I always heed voices like that, I set out to try.  And within a year, straining against my limits, I produced something like an original science fiction novel.  It was nowhere near good, but it was a starting point.

    Writing has been my way to wonder about things.  I've written science fiction and fantasy.  I've also written about the meaning of story and the nature of the imagination. 

All together, I've published eleven books, four of them with my wife Cory.  The titles listed below are available as indicated, either from us or in electronic or print-on-demand editions.

-- Alexei Panshin        


Rite of PassageA girl who lives on an immense interstellar ship must manage to survive Trial for a month in the wilds of a colony planet.  John Brunner described the story as, "An impressive portrayal of the psychological and moral coming-of-age of a young girl whose upbringing and background are truly of the future yet whose problems are universal."  The Science Fiction Writers of America gave Rite of Passage a Nebula Award as Best Novel of the Year.

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The writing of this book is recounted at this site in Rite of Passage and Robert Heinlein.

Print edition available from Fairwood Press
Ebook edition available from ElectricStory
Leatherbound hardcover (Easton Press edition) : $50
     (See ordering information below)


The World Beyond the HillThis is Cory's and my account of the first appearances in fiction of the transcendent  images of SF--from a creature brought to life by electricity  to human galactic empire.  Winner of a Hugo Award in competition with books by Arthur C. Clarke, Harlan Ellison, Robert A. Heinlein and Ursula K. LeGuin at the World Science Fiction Convention in The Hague.  Isaac Asimov called it,  "The best, the best, history of science fiction I have ever read."  And Northrop Frye said, "I learned a great deal from reading The World Beyond the Hill."

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Two sections of this book can be read online at this site, one concerning the early stories of A.E. van Vogt and the other following the pre-World War II career of Robert Heinlein.

An excerpt consisting of the preface and first three chapters can be downloaded in pdf form from Arc Manor.

Print edition available from Arc Manor
Ebook edition available from ElectricStory
Elephant Books numbered first edition: $50  
    (See ordering information below)


New CelebrationsThe adventures of interstellar remittance man Anthony Villiers and his unfathomable alien companion, Torve the Trogs in a universe of con artists, yaghoots, and High Tag. When the three novels collected here were first published, Analog called them "glorious, ridiculous tongue-in-cheek parody of almost anything you can think of" and Algis Budrys wrote in Galaxy, "Read the book.  Stop asking silly questions."

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Ebook edition available from ElectricStory


Earth MagicWhen rebellious barons rise up against the King of the Gets, the king's son Haldane finds himself on the run with no protection against his enemies except the undependable spells of a self-taught wizard and the even more perilous favors of Libera, the half-forgotten goddess of witches and peasants.

An excerpt consisting of the first seven chapters can be downloaded in pdf form from Arc Manor.

Print edition available from Arc Manor
Ebook edition available from ElectricStory


Farewell to Yesterday's TomorrowA dozen stories of science fiction and fantasy set in worlds ranging from the universe of Rite of Passage to the magical realm of a Brooklyn that never was.

An excerpt can be downloaded in pdf form from Arc Manor.

The story "When the Vertical World Becomes Horizontal" can be read at this site.

Ebook edition available from ElectricStory
Print edition available from Arc Manor


TransmutationsThis collection of  all my most lefthanded pieces of writing was my belated way of addressing a friend who didn't manage to survive the minefield of life in the late Twentieth Century.  Like an elephant in the dark, it's more than just a bunch of parts. You might think of its nature as something like this site.

Two items which appear in Transmutations, Found in Space and The Old Space Ranger, are also online at this site.

Elephant Books hardcover: $25
Elephant Books quality paperback: $12
     See ordering information below


Heinlein in DimensionThis was my first book, originally published in SF fanzines in Canada, England and the United States.  No one had ever written a full-length study of the stories of any SF writer before, and the World Science Fiction Convention voted me the initial Fan Writer Hugo Award for it.  But Heinlein polarizes opinion, so even today on you will find both those who are ready to say that the book is a fairminded first word and those who declare me lower than wormshit for writing such awful things about the man and his work.

The complete text of Heinlein in Dimension is available online at this site.  The writing of the book is recounted in The Story of Heinlein in Dimension.

Advent paperback: $10
     See ordering information below


SF in DimensionTwenty-two essays are gathered here, including second and third thoughts about Robert Heinlein's stories.  These reconsiderations, reviews and speculations by Cory and me show the development of a new view of the nature of SF.  Ian Watson said, "The strong suit of this book is its urgent, but never dumbly optimistic, sense of what might be possible, what imaginative span SF might be able to encompass in the future."

(Not currently available)

Art by Boris Artzybasheff For a complete list of available titles and editions, please email

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Decoration by Boris Artzybasheff