The Big Bing: Science Fiction Literature History, Part 1

The development of the genre of science fiction can roughly be sorted in different eras, all with their particular characteristics and prominent authors. For the purpose of this attempt at blunt categorizing, I have chosen to call these periods Early History, the Middle Ages, Early Modern, War Time, Post-War Time, Modern and Now.

Disclaimer: Because so many films are based of previously published novels, I have here chosen to focus on literature works. That said, movies and TV-series are obviously an important part of the complete science fiction scene, so it is more than likely that those media will be covered in a future article.


Early History


There were three particular authors who during this period who included science fiction-related ideas in their work. The first, and possibly the most famous as well as surprising of these persons, was Homer. Yes, the Homer. In his widely renowned work The Illiad, Homer actually included a description of a form of motorized servants, and his idea of these mechanical beings is not unlike the one of robots.

Another author in this era is Lucian of Samosata, who authored several texts based on futuristic themes and suggestions which were distinctly of the fantastic. Also, Lucian of Samosata was one of the first (or possibly the first) to mention a crude version of prosthetics and cybernetics, and also to employ a narrative which spanned the distance between planets.
The third author belonging to this period is none other than – brace yourselves– Monsieur Cyrano de Bergerac. Once again, the actual fellow. In his novel Voyage to the Moon, he portrays a man who, by the use of dew-filled bottles (!), levitates all the way to the moon.


The Middle Ages


Of the two authors I have chosen to include in this category, the most reputable by far ought to be H. G. Wells. Mr Wells, whose name occasionally appeared in media frequently during the time when the re-make of War of the Worlds premiered in cinemas worldwide, is the author of the book of the same name published in 1897 – possibly one of the most famous science fiction novels ever. Also, he alone is responsible for the inventions of several science fiction sub-categories such as time travel (The Time Machine, 1895), alien invasions (see above), futuristic battles (The World Set Free, 1914), nasty biological testing (The Island of Doctor Moreau, 1897) and interplanetary journeying (The First Men on the Moon, 1901). In other words, we have this man to thank for a lot.

Continued in History and famous authors of science fiction, part 2.


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