The Big Bing: Science Fiction Literature History, Part 2

The second author is Edgar Rice Burroghs. If the name is vaguely familiar, it might be due to the fact that Mr Burroghs wrote Tarzan of the Apes. While there are not many science fiction-related elements in that novel, there are lots more to be found in the one because of which he is mentioned here: A Princess of Mars. In this book (his first), he uses Mars – in this case referred to as “Barsoom” – as background for part of his tale, thus creating the sub-category of Interplanetary Adventure (in difference to Interplanetary Travel – two close, but yet not wholly similar categories).

Early Modern

It is impossible to write an account of science fiction history without including Mr Hugo Gernsback, at times referred to as “The Father of Science Fiction”. Hugo Gernsback, who was active during this era, published a magazine called Amazing Stories which contained strictly science fiction-related stories. This magazine went on to grow in popularity and ran stories by celebrities such as Jules Verne, H. G. Wells and the mighty Edgar Allan Poe. Also, the novel Ralph 124C41 which Gernsback serialized in 1911 is regarded by many as the original pure work of science fiction. In addition, Gernsback is believed to actually have coined the term science fiction, allegedly after that his original suggestion “scientification” met with little approval or response among the public.
While his stories may not have gained the same amount of fame as those of H.G. Wells or Homer, his legacy and his name lives on in the Hugo award; one of the most distinguished prizes available for authors of the fantastic.

War Time

An immensely celebrated author of this time was IIsac Asimov, who began his writing career early in his teens. Of the more than 500 (!) books he penned, he is well known for his many robot stories, such as Reason, Robbie and Runaround. Notably, many of these novels are based around murder mysteries, not unlike common crime novels set in normal, “human” environments. However, it is his massive work found in the Foundation series which have gained the most attention, having found readers all over the world for decades.
Another famous or, if you like, infamous author active during this time was a certain L. Ron Hubbard. Originally an ambitious science fiction writer, he later – when faced with weak reviews and repeated refusals – went on to found the church of scientology. The rest, as they say, is history.

Post-War Time

After the end of World War Two, another widely recognized and important writer emerged on the scene: Ray Bradbury. Of his works, many of which are science fiction bordering on the realm of fantasy, some of the best known titles are The Martian Chronicles (a collection of short storied like in a series published in 1951) and The Fireman (later published as a novel in 1954 called Fahrenheit 451).

Continued in History and famous authors of science fiction, part 3.


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