The first four volumes, originally published in Mentor Books and recently reprinted by Scarecrow Books, trace the origins of science fiction from Lucian of Samosata through Wells, Heinlein, and Asimov, up to George Alec Effinger.
An unusual entry into our gender-bender category - a novel by Golden Age icon Isaac Asimov, known for years for the chasteness of his prose, The Gods Themselves was published in 1972 and won both the Hugo and the Nebula awards.
Unlike many commercial ventures striving to make money off of pop culture, the SciFi Channel made sure that it was the real deal, including Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and author Isaac Asimov on its board of directors.
Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) is considered (with good cause) one of the writers of science fiction's Golden Age, that period of ferment that spanned the fifties and sixties.
Not only does Asimov establish a future milieu, he painstakingly works out the human consequences of living within that milieu.