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Release date: April 5, 2022.

Shortlisted for DITMAR Awards for Australian SF: Best Non-fiction, William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review

BSFA Awards Longlist 2023 for Best Non-fiction


The culture we live in shapes us. We also shape the culture we live in. Stories we tell play critical roles in this shaping.
The heart of cultural transmission is how stories and the way we shape knowledge come together and make a novel work. How do they combine within the novel? Genre writing plays a critical role in demonstrating how this transmission functions.

Science fiction and fantasy illustrate this through shared traditions and understanding, colonialism, diasporic experiences, own voices, ethics, selective forgetting and silencing. They illuminate ways in which speculative fiction is important for cultural transmission.

This study uses cultural encoding and baggage within speculative fiction to decode critical elements of modern English-language culture.


Watch the Video launch here.

Story Matrices

SKU: 978-1-913387-91-4
  • “Polack’s natural-speaking prose style effortlessly modulates into formal referenced academic discourse” Van Ikin


    "The book offers an intriguing introduction to one methodology of world-building. It challenges authors to challenge themselves to understand the implicit cultural assumptions that inform their creative process and provides a valuable primer on how to do so." Aurealis 151


    "Story Matrices – Gillian Polack A fascinating personal analysis of the way fictional world building uses cultural blocks and how shared traditions are illuminated in speculative fiction. Polack manages the rare trick of academic rigour and warm conversational style brilliantly. An important contribution to SFF discourse that I expect to be referenced frequently in the future." Kev McVeigh

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