The language of science fiction, and of fantasy, has a steep challenge: that of the creation of other worlds, societies and characters that are alien to us in diverse and fundamental ways, but still compelling and knowable. This exciting book steps away from the issues of race, gender and politics that have saturated sci-fi and fantasy criticism. Rather, it challenges two widely held but poorly substantiated beliefs circulating about science fiction and fantasy - that they are a) written in plain and unremarkable prose and b) apt to present characters that are flat types rather than fully realised individuals. Mandala draws on traditional syntactic categories of stylistic analysis as well as the relatively more recent pragmatic and sociolinguistic paradigms such that the original analyses here take our understanding of these two genres beyond the usual confines, to consider how language is used to draw alternative words, represent the far future and distant past, and create psychologically believable characters. Covering both British and American fiction and television, this is a wide-ranging and perceptive book.