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Science Fiction Literature:


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Title: Science Fiction Literature:

Science Fiction Literature
  • Tales of Possibilities
  • John M. Busch

  • Science fiction is a literary or cinematic genre
    that focuses on imaginative scientific
    discoveries or developments, consequences of
    environmental or societal changes, space travel,
    or finding life on other planets.
  • Every author seems to have his / her own
    definition of this elusive term.

The Origins of Science Fiction
  • Most scholars argue that Mary Shellys
    Frankenstein was the first pure science fiction
  • Others attribute the creation of the genre to
    Jonathan Swift, Voltaire, and Thomas Moore.
  • Still other critics suggest that science fiction
    began much earlier in prehistory or the time of
    the Babylonian Empire.
  • There are varied opinions on the subject.

Subgenres of Science Fiction
  • There are many varieties of science fiction. Some
    may deal with space colonies while others are
    about time travel.
  • Each of these is known as a subgenre.

Mary ShelleyThe Real Dr. Frankenstein?
  • Mary Shelly published Frankenstein in 1818.
  • She had written the novel in a competition with
    her friends to create the most horrific ghost
  • Frankenstein had a great impact on the literature
    of the world.

H. G. Wells
  • Known as the father of the science romance novel,
    Wells always incorporated social themes in his
  • He was one of the first writers to postulate time
    travel, invisibility potions, alien invasions,
    and genetic manipulation.

Jules Verne
  • Verne was much more interested in scientific
    accuracy. As a result, he predicted the invention
    of elevators, atomic submarines, and rocketships.

Other Nineteenth-Century Writers
  • Edgar Allan Poe dabbled in science fiction with
    many of his short story and his one, incomplete
    novel The Narrative of Gordon Pym.
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne described genetic experiments
    and the quest for immortality in Rappaccini's
    Daughter and Dr. Heideggers Experiment,

The Pulp Novels
  • Many science fiction writers began their careers
    contributing stories to various pulp magazines.
  • During the early twentieth century, there were
    many such magazines in publication.

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Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • Most famous for creating the character Tarzan,
    Burroughs had a penchant for creating strange,
    lost worlds on earth as well as other planets.

H. P. Lovecraft
  • Lovecraft postulated the existence of gigantic,
    malevolent beings who once ruled the earth (and
    who intend to rule it once again once disposing
    of mankind).

Isaac Asimov
  • Perhaps one of the most eclectic writers of the
    twentieth century, Asimov has published works on
    practically every subject.
  • His most famous works include the Foundation and
    The Caves of Steel series.
  • Asimov created the Three Laws of Robotics 1) to
    serve mankind, 2) never to harm mankind, and 3)
    never to disobey mankind unless it would result
    in the breaking of either Rule 1 or 2.

Larry Niven
  • Niven created the Known Space series.
  • His most famous work is Ringworld, in which he
    describes an artificial satellite surrounding an
    entire planet used to support life.
  • He has also created a famous alien race known as
    the Kzinti, giant cat-like creatures out to make
    dinner out of the rest of the galaxy.

Robert A. Heinlein
  • Robert A. Heinleins most famous works include
    Starship Troopers.
  • In A Stranger in a Strange Land, Heinlein
    introduced the world to the popular word grok,
    meaning complete understanding.

Frank Herbert
  • Frank Herberts Dune is considered a classic work
    of literature, in general.
  • Several sequels were written to make Herberts
    imaginary world one of the most extraordinary
    conceptions to be found in science fiction.

Arthur C. Clarke
  • Clarke is probably most famous for writing the
    screenplay for 2001 A Space Odyssey for Stanley
    Kubrick he wrote the novel afterwards.
  • Rendezvous with Rama deals with the exploration
    of a mysterious alien vessel that has entered our
    solar system.
  • Like Verne before him, Clarke conceived of
    scientific achievements in his fiction that
    became reality, namely communication satellites
    that are in geostationary orbit.

Ray Bradbury
  • Like Asimov, Bradbury is a very eclectic author.
  • In The Martian Chronicles, he describes mans
    attempt to establish colonies on other problems.
  • Fahrenheit 451 imagines a future in which all
    forms of writing are forbidden.

Philip K. Dick
  • Dick is famous for writing stories that examine
    mankinds individuality and identity in the
    universe, such as Do Androids Dream of Sheep,
    We Can Remember It for You Wholesale, and
    Paycheck. These were successfully adapted by
  • In The Man in the High Castle, he examines what
    would have happened had the Axis Powers won World
    War II.

Samuel R. Delaney
  • Inspired by his own life experiences, Delaneys
    Dahlgren and Triton explore role of sexuality in
    the future.
  • His Neveryon series of stories are set in the
    mystical past, but include a disease analogous
    with the A.I.D.S. epidemic.

Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Many of Le Guins works focus on the impact
    mankind has had on the environment.
  • Others deal with the manner in which we judge
    others whose way of life are different from our

Octavia Butler
  • Butler is renowned for her works that reflect her
    feminist viewpoints as well as her pride in her
    African-American heritage.
  • Her Patternmaster series focuses on a group of
    telepaths who are controlled by an immortal
  • Many of her stories, like Kindred and
    Bloodchild, reflect the cruelty of slavery as
    practiced by humans and aliens.

Harry Turtledove
  • Turtledove is the master of alternative
    histories, in which he imagines what would have
    happened had past events been altered in some
    manner as in The Guns of the South and the World
    War series.

Orson Scott Card
  • Card is most famous for Enders Game and its
    first sequel, Speaker for the Dead.
  • In 1986 and 1987, he won both the Nebula and Hugo
    Awards for both works. He is the first author to
    win such recognition in two consecutive years.
  • Xenocide and Children of the Mind also belong in
    the series.

Legacy of These Authors
  • The works of these writers have inspired the
    creation of many television shows and movies.
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