New Wave

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The New Wave was a school of largely experimental science fiction that arose in the 1960s, featuring highly stylized, metaphoric stories.

"New Wave" was first used in an sf context in early 1964 when it was used by Jim Linwood in Les Spinge to describe the first fanzines of Peter Weston and Charles Platt. Not much later the review column "Amateur Magazines," in New Worlds no. 145, Nov./Dec. 1964, p126, says,

Beyond 6 (1/6), from Charles Platt, 8 Sollershott West, Letchworth, Herts. This one also carries fiction and like Zenith represents the 'new wave' of SF fans -- the young ones demanding more serious SF criticism in fan magazines.

But just a few months later the meaning of the phrase changed significantly when New Worlds described itself and Science Fantasy as the "New Wave" and an article by Christopher Priest in the March 1965 issue of Zenith-Speculation described New Worlds as a "New Wave prozine."

This latter meaning quickly dominated and the term came to mean the new sf writing style which emphasized form over story. After the usual period of excess β€” which split those parts of fandom which cared about writing β€” its positive lessons were absorbed into sf and most of the schtick was forgotten.

Since the ’60s, to much of fandom "new wave" has meant "SF in which stylistic experimentation overwhelms story." It is rarely used as a compliment.

Entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.

Fanspeak 1964
This is a fanspeak page. Please extend it by adding information about when and by whom it was coined, whether it’s still in use, etc.