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The Beginnings of Science Fiction

Science fiction is a very popular book genre.

But sci-fi wasn’t always accepted as “real writing”.

Sharing an interesting fact about the beginning of science fiction; how it developed into a recognized and respected form of 20th-century literature.

Though science fiction enjoys a wide audience of readers today, it’s not the type of story that suits my reading preferences. Would much rather watch a well-done film adaptation of a sci-fi novel. Why? Because a lot of the language in sci-fi books is too complicated for me. (Everybody’s brain works differently.) But to see an apocalyptic catastrophe on the big screen? I totally get it!  Additionally, extreme relief washes over me to know that the event is just a product of a writer’s detailed research and his or her overactive imagination. Whew!  So it’s great that science fiction book writers have a loyal fan base because, later on, their novels might be made into fantastic movies!

If you are a sci-fi book fan, this information likely comes as no revelation, but it was news to me!  According to Kingsley Amis, there are three literary works thought of as precursors of OR that in some way created an opening for the Sci-Fi genre to find its way into the hearts of book lovers:

  1. Voltaire’s Micromégas;
  2. Shakespeare’sThe Tempest; and
  3. Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.

 

Jonathan Swift’s Lilliputians? OK. I think a land of little people sounds like science fiction. But François-Marie Arouet, aka Voltaire, and William Shakespeare? Writers of sci-fi? Not so sure that I agree.  At any rate, Amis published his survey of science fiction in 1960.

REF: Amis, Kingsley W. New Maps of Hell. New York: Ballantine, 1960.

Other Links of Interest:

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  • Question of

    Do you enjoy reading science fiction books?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question of

    Do you enjoy watching science fiction movies?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question of

    Do you agree with Kingsley Amis that Voltaire and Shakespeare wrote science fiction?

    • Yes
    • No

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  1. If you include fantasy you could add Shakespeare’s A Midsummers Nights Dream.

    I wouldn’t call Shakespeare and the others science fiction writers. Maybe proto-science fiction. As far as I am concerned, Jules Verne was the first science fiction author.

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