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Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a
genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it normally describes a Category of being, category of literature, ...

genre
of
speculative fiction Speculative fiction is a broad category of fiction encompassing genres with elements that do not exist in reality, recorded history, nature, or the present universe. Such fiction covers various themes in the context of supernatural The sup ...
which typically deals with
imaginative Imagination is the ability to produce and simulate novel objects, sensations, and ideas in the mind File:Descartes mind and body.gif, 200px, René Descartes' illustration of mind–body dualism. Descartes believed inputs are passed on by the S ...

imaginative
and futuristic concepts such as advanced
science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of ...

science
and
technology Technology ("science of craft", from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. I ...

technology
,
space exploration Space exploration is the use of astronomy Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the science that studies the laws of the stars) is a natural science that studies astronomical object, celestial objects and ce ...
,
time travel Time travel is the concept of movement between certain points in , to movement between different points in by an object or a person, typically with the use of a hypothetical device known as a time machine. Time travel is a widely recognized co ...

time travel
, parallel universes, and
extraterrestrial life Extraterrestrial lifeWhere "extraterrestrial" is derived from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around ...
. It has been called the "
literature Literature broadly is any collection of written Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosophy), entitie ...

literature
of
ideas In common usage and in philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical reality Reality is the sum or agg ...

ideas
", and it often explores the potential consequences of
scientific, social, and technological innovations
scientific, social, and technological innovations
. Science fiction can trace its roots back to ancient mythology, and is related to
fantasy Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction involving Magic (supernatural), magical elements, typically set in a fictional universe and sometimes inspired by mythology and folklore. Its roots are in oral traditions, which then became fantasy lit ...

fantasy
,
horror Horror may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Genres *Horror fiction, a genre of fiction **Japanese horror, Japanese horror fiction **Korean horror, Korean horror fiction *Horror film, a film genre *Horror comics, comic books focusing on h ...
, and
superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character that possesses Superpower (ability), ''superpowers'', abilities beyond those of ordinary people, and fits the role of the hero, typically using his or her powers to help the World peace, world b ...

superhero
fiction, and contains many
subgenres Genre () is any form or type of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosophy), entities or Organization, groups through the use of sufficien ...
. Its exact definition has long been disputed among
author An author is the creator or originator of any written work such as a book A book is a medium for recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or item ...

author
s,
critic A critic is a person who communicates an assessment and an opinion of various forms of creative works such as art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widesp ...
s,
scholar A scholar is a person who pursues academic and intellectual activities, particularly those that develop expertise in an area of Studying, study. A scholar may also be an academic, who works as a professor, teacher or researcher at a university or ...

scholar
s, and readers. Science fiction, in
literature Literature broadly is any collection of written Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosophy), entitie ...

literature
,
film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of applying paint Paint is any pigmented liquid, liquefiable, ...
,
television Television, sometimes shortened to TV or telly, is a telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire A wire is a single usually cylindrical A cylinder (from Gre ...
, and other media, has become popular and influential over much of the world. Besides providing
entertainment Entertainment is a form of activity that holds the attention and interest In finance Finance is the study of financial institutions, financial markets and how they operate within the financial system. It is concerned with the creatio ...

entertainment
, it can also criticize present-day society, and it is often said to inspire a "
sense of wonder A sense of wonder (sometimes jokingly written sensawunda) is an intellectual and emotional state frequently invoked in discussions of science fiction File:Imagination 195808.jpg, Space exploration, as predicted in August 1958 by the science fi ...
".


Definitions

American science fiction author and editor
Lester del Rey Lester del Rey (June 2, 1915 – May 10, 1993) was an American science fiction author Some notable science fiction authors (in alphabetical order): A *Dafydd ab Hugh (born 1960) *Alexander Abasheli (1884–1954) *Edwin Abbo ...
wrote, "Even the devoted aficionado or fan—has a hard time trying to explain what science fiction is," and the lack of a "full satisfactory definition" is because "there are no easily delineated limits to science fiction." According to
Isaac Asimov Isaac Asimov (; 1920 – April 6, 1992) was an American writer and professor of biochemistry at Boston University. During his lifetime, Asimov was considered one of the "Big Three" science fiction writers, along with Robert A. Heinlein and A ...
, "Science fiction can be defined as that branch of literature which deals with the reaction of human beings to changes in
science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of ...

science
and
technology Technology ("science of craft", from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. I ...

technology
."Asimov, "How Easy to See the Future!", ''Natural History'', 1975
Robert A. Heinlein Robert Anson Heinlein (; July 7, 1907 – May 8, 1988) was an American science fiction File:Imagination 195808.jpg, Space exploration, as predicted in August 1958 in the science fiction magazine ''Imagination (magazine), Imagination.'' Sc ...

Robert A. Heinlein
wrote that "A handy short definition of almost all science fiction might read: realistic speculation about possible future events, based solidly on adequate knowledge of the real world, past and present, and on a thorough understanding of the nature and significance of the
scientific method The scientific method is an empirical Empirical evidence for a proposition is evidence, i.e. what supports or counters this proposition, that is constituted by or accessible to sense experience or experimental procedure. Empirical evidence ...

scientific method
." Part of the reason that it is so difficult to pin down an agreed definition of science fiction is because there is a tendency among science fiction enthusiasts to act as their own arbiter in deciding what exactly constitutes science fiction.
Damon Knight Damon Francis Knight (September 19, 1922 – April 15, 2002) was an American science fiction author Some notable science fiction authors (in alphabetical order): A *Dafydd ab Hugh (born 1960) *Alexander Abasheli (1884–1954) * ...
summed up the difficulty, saying "science fiction is what we point to when we say it." Ultimately, it may be more useful to talk around science fiction as the intersection of other, more concrete, genres and subgenres.


Alternative terms

Forrest J Ackerman Forrest James Ackerman (November 24, 1916 – December 4, 2008) was an American magazine editor; science fiction writer Some notable science fiction File:Imagination 195808.jpg, Space exploration, as predicted in August 1958 in the science ...
is credited with first using the term "sci-fi" (analogous to the then-trendy "
hi-fi High fidelity (often shortened to Hi-Fi or HiFi) is the high-quality reproduction of sound. It is important to audiophile An audiophile is a person who is enthusiastic about high-fidelity High fidelity (often shortened to Hi-Fi or HiFi) i ...
") in about 1954. As science fiction entered
popular culture Popular culture (also called mass culture or pop culture) is generally recognized by members of a society A society is a group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and ...
, writers and fans active in the field came to associate the term with low-budget, low-tech "
B-movies A B movie or B film is a low-budget A low-budget film or low-budget movie is a motion picture shot with little to no funding from a major film studio or private investor. Many independent films are made on low budgets, but films made on the ...

B-movies
," and with low-quality
pulp science fiction Pulp magazines (often referred to as "the pulps") were inexpensive fiction magazines that were published from 1896 to the late 1950s. The term "pulp" derives from the cheap Pulp (paper), wood pulp paper on which the magazines were printed. In con ...
. By the 1970s, critics within the field, such as
Damon Knight Damon Francis Knight (September 19, 1922 – April 15, 2002) was an American science fiction author Some notable science fiction authors (in alphabetical order): A *Dafydd ab Hugh (born 1960) *Alexander Abasheli (1884–1954) * ...
and
Terry Carr Terry Gene Carr (February 19, 1937 – April 7, 1987) was an American science fiction science fiction fandom, fan, author, editor, and writing instructor. Background and discovery of fandom Carr was born in Grants Pass, Oregon. He attended the ...
, were using "sci fi" to distinguish hack-work from serious science fiction.
Peter NichollsPeter Nicholls may refer to: *Peter Nicholls (artist) (1936–2021), New Zealand sculptor *Peter Nicholls (writer) (1939–2018), Australian literary scholar and critic *Peter Nicholls (musician) (born 1959), British musician See also

*Peter Ni ...
writes that "SF" (or "sf") is "the preferred abbreviation within the community of sf writers and readers."
Robert Heinlein Robert Anson Heinlein (; July 7, 1907 – May 8, 1988) was an American science fiction File:Imagination 195808.jpg, Space exploration, as predicted in August 1958 in the science fiction magazine ''Imagination (magazine), Imagination.'' Sc ...
found even "science fiction" insufficient for certain types of works in this genre, and suggested the term
speculative fiction Speculative fiction is a broad category of fiction encompassing genres with elements that do not exist in reality, recorded history, nature, or the present universe. Such fiction covers various themes in the context of supernatural The sup ...
to be used instead for those that are more "serious" or "thoughtful."


History

Some scholars assert that science fiction had its beginnings in
ancient times Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3.0
"History"
from t ...

ancient times
, when the line between
myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the ca ...
and
fact A fact is something that is true True most commonly refers to truth Truth is the property of being in accord with fact or reality.Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionarytruth 2005 In everyday language, truth is typically ascribed to things ...
was blurred. Written in the 2nd century CE by the
satirist This is an incomplete list of writers, cartoonists and others known for involvement in satire Satire is a genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-u ...
Lucian Lucian of Samosata, '; la, Lucianus Samosatensis (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referre ...
, ''
A True Story ''A True Story'' ( grc, Ἀληθῆ διηγήματα, ''Alēthē diēgēmata''; or ) is a long novella A novella is a narrative prose fiction whose length is shorter than that of most novels, but longer than most short stories. The Englis ...
'' contains many themes and tropes characteristic of modern science fiction, including travel to other worlds,
extraterrestrial life Extraterrestrial lifeWhere "extraterrestrial" is derived from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around ...
forms, interplanetary warfare, and artificial life. Some consider it the first science-fiction
novel A novel is a relatively long work of narrative A narrative, story or tale is any account of a series of related events or experiences, whether nonfiction Nonfiction (also spelled non-fiction) is any document A document is a written ...

novel
. Some of the stories from ''
The Arabian Nights ''One Thousand and One Nights'' ( ar, أَلْفُ لَيْلَةٍ وَلَيْلَةٌ, ) is a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age. It is often known in English as the ''Arabian Nights'', ...
'', along with the 10th-century ''
The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter is a ''monogatari'' (fictional prose narrative) containing elements of Japanese folklore. Written by an unknown author in the late 9th or early 10th century during the Heian period, it is considered the oldest surviving work in the ''monogatar ...
'' and 13th-century '' Theologus Autodidactus,'' also contain elements of science fiction. Written during the
Scientific Revolution The Scientific Revolution was a series of events that marked the emergence In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, ...

Scientific Revolution
and the
Age of Enlightenment The Age of Enlightenment (also known as the Age of Reason or simply the Enlightenment); ger, Aufklärung, "Enlightenment"; it, L'Illuminismo, "Enlightenment"; pl, Oświecenie , "Enlightenment"; pt, Iluminismo, "Enlightenment"; es, link= ...
,
Johannes Kepler Johannes Kepler (; ; 27 December 1571 – 15 November 1630) was a German astronomer An astronomer is a in the field of who focuses their studies on a specific question or field outside the scope of . They observe s such as s, s, , s and ...

Johannes Kepler
's '' Somnium'' (1634),
Francis Bacon Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban, (; 22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626), also known as Lord Verulam, was an English philosopher and statesman who served as Attorney General for England and Wales, Attorney General and as Lord Chancellor of K ...

Francis Bacon
's ''
New Atlantis ''New Atlantis'' is an incomplete utopian A utopia ( ) is an imagined community or society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a large social group sharing the ...
'' (1627),
Athanasius Kircher Athanasius Kircher (2 May 1602 – 28 November 1680) was a German Society of Jesus, Jesuit scholar and polymath who published around 40 major works, most notably in the fields of comparative religion, geology, and medicine. Kircher has b ...

Athanasius Kircher
's ''Itinerarium extaticum'' (1656),
Cyrano de Bergerac Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac ( , ; 6 March 1619 – 28 July 1655) was a French novelist, playwright, Letter (message), epistolarian, and duelist. A bold and innovative author, his work was part of the libertine literature of the first hal ...

Cyrano de Bergerac
's ''
Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon ''The Other World: Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon'' (french: L’Autre monde ou les états et empires de la Lune) was the first of three satirical novels written by Cyrano de Bergerac Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac ( , ; 6 ...
'' (1657) and ''
The States and Empires of the Sun Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac ( , ; 6 March 1619 – 28 July 1655) was a French novelist, playwright, Letter (message), epistolarian and duelist. A bold and innovative author, his work was part of the libertine literature of the first hal ...
'' (1662),
Margaret Cavendish Margaret Lucas Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (1623 – 15 December 1673) was an English philosopher, poet, scientist, fiction-writer, and playwright. Born Margaret Lucas, she was the youngest sister of the royalists Sir John Lucas a ...
's "" (1666),
Jonathan Swift Jonathan Swift (30 November 1667 – 19 October 1745) was an Anglo-Irish Anglo-Irish () is a term which was more commonly used in the 19th and early 20th centuries to identify an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of ...
's ''
Gulliver's Travels ''Gulliver's Travels'', or ''Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. In Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships'' is a 1726 prose satire Satire is a of the , , and s, usually in ...

Gulliver's Travels
'' (1726),
Ludvig Holberg Ludvig Holberg, Baron of Holberg (3 December 1684 – 28 January 1754) was a writer, essayist, philosopher, historian and playwright born in Bergen, Norway, during the time of the Denmark-Norway, Dano-Norwegian dual monarchy. He was influenced ...

Ludvig Holberg
's '' Nicolai Klimii Iter Subterraneum'' (1741) and
Voltaire François-Marie Arouet (; 21 November 169430 May 1778), known by his ''nom de plume A pen name, also called a ''nom de plume'' () or a literary double, is a pseudonym A pseudonym () or alias () (originally: ψευδώνυμος in Greek) is a ...

Voltaire
's ''
Micromégas ''Le Micromégas'' is a 1752 novella A novella is a short novel A novel is a relatively long work of narrative A narrative, story or tale is any account of a series of related events or experiences, whether nonfictional ( memoir, biogr ...
'' (1752) are regarded as some of the first true
science-fantasy Science fantasy is a mixed genre within the umbrella of speculative fiction which simultaneously draws upon or combines trope (literature), tropes and elements from both science fiction and fantasy. In a science fiction story, the world is presen ...
works.
Isaac Asimov Isaac Asimov (; 1920 – April 6, 1992) was an American writer and professor of biochemistry at Boston University. During his lifetime, Asimov was considered one of the "Big Three" science fiction writers, along with Robert A. Heinlein and A ...
and
Carl Sagan Carl Edward Sagan (; November 9, 1934December 20, 1996) was an American astronomer, planetary scientist, physical cosmology, cosmologist, Astrophysics, astrophysicist, Astrobiology, astrobiologist, author, and science communicator. His best know ...
considered '' Somnium'' the first science-fiction story; it depicts a journey to the
Moon The Moon is Earth's only natural satellite. At about one-quarter the diameter of Earth (comparable to the width of Australia (continent), Australia), it is the largest natural satellite in the Solar System relative to the size of its plane ...

Moon
and how the
Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% is Water distribution on Earth, covered wi ...

Earth
's motion is seen from there. Following the 17th-century development of the
novel A novel is a relatively long work of narrative A narrative, story or tale is any account of a series of related events or experiences, whether nonfiction Nonfiction (also spelled non-fiction) is any document A document is a written ...

novel
as a
literary form A literary genre is a category of literary composition. Genres may be determined by literary technique A narrative technique (known for literary fictional narrative A narrative, story or tale is any account of a series of related events or exp ...
, Mary Shelley's ''
Frankenstein ''Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus'' is an 1818 novel A novel is a relatively long work of narrative A narrative, story or tale is any account of a series of related events or experiences, whether nonfiction Nonfiction (also ...

Frankenstein
'' (1818) and ''
The Last Man ''The Last Man'' is an apocalyptic, dystopian science fiction novel by Mary Shelley, which was first published in 1826. The book describes a future Earth at the time of the late 21st century, ravaged by a new pandemic of a mysterious disease ...
'' (1826) helped define the form of the science-fiction novel.
Brian Aldiss Brian Wilson Aldiss (; 18 August 1925 – 19 August 2017) was an English writer and anthologies, anthology editor, best known for science fiction novels and short stories. His byline reads either Brian W. Aldiss or simply Brian Aldiss, except for ...

Brian Aldiss
has argued that ''Frankenstein'' was the first work of science fiction.
Edgar Allan Poe Edgar Allan Poe (; born Edgar Poe; January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American writer, poet, editor, and literary criticism, literary critic. Poe is best known for his poetry and short stories, particularly his tales of mystery and ...

Edgar Allan Poe
wrote several stories considered to be science fiction, including "
The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall "The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall" (1835) is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe published in the June 1835 issue of the monthly magazine ''Southern Literary Messenger'' as "Hans Phaall -- A Tale", intended by Poe to be a hoax. The story ...
" (1835) which featured a trip to the
Moon The Moon is Earth's only natural satellite. At about one-quarter the diameter of Earth (comparable to the width of Australia (continent), Australia), it is the largest natural satellite in the Solar System relative to the size of its plane ...

Moon
.
Jules Verne Jules Gabriel Verne (;''Longman Pronunciation Dictionary John Christopher Wells (born 11 March 1939) is a British Phonetics, phonetician and Esperantist. Wells is a professor emeritus at University College London, where until his retirement ...

Jules Verne
was noted for his attention to detail and scientific accuracy, especially in ''
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea ''Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas: A World Tour Underwater'' (french: Vingt mille lieues sous les mers: Tour du monde sous-marin) is a classic science fiction adventure novel by French writer Jules Verne. The novel was originally Seria ...

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
'' (1870). In 1887, the novel '' El anacronópete'' by Spanish author Enrique Gaspar y Rimbau introduced the first
time machine Time travel is the concept of movement between certain points in time Time is the indefinite continued sequence, progress of existence and event (philosophy), events that occur in an apparently irreversible process, irreversible succession f ...

time machine
. Many critics consider H. G. Wells one of science fiction's most important authors, or even "the
Shakespeare William Shakespeare (bapt. 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is often called England's national p ...

Shakespeare
of science fiction." His notable science-fiction works include ''
The Time Machine ''The Time Machine'' is a science fiction novella by H. G. Wells, published in 1895. The work is generally credited with the popularization of the concept of time travel by using a vehicle or device to travel purposely and selectively forw ...
'' (1895), ''
The Island of Doctor Moreau ''The Island of Doctor Moreau'' is an 1896 science fiction File:Imagination 195808.jpg, Space exploration, as predicted in August 1958 in the science fiction magazine ''Imagination (magazine), Imagination.'' Science fiction (sometimes short ...
'' (1896), ''
The Invisible Man ''The Invisible Man'' is a science fiction File:Imagination 195808.jpg, Space exploration, as predicted in August 1958 in the science fiction magazine ''Imagination (magazine), Imagination.'' Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or ...
'' (1897), and ''
The War of the Worlds ''The War of the Worlds'' is a novel by English author , first serialised in 1897 by ' in the UK and by ' magazine in the US. The novel's first appearance in hardcover was in 1898 from publisher of London. Written between 1895 and 1897, it ...

The War of the Worlds
'' (1898). His science fiction imagined
alien invasion The alien invasion or space invasion is a common feature in science fiction File:Imagination 195808.jpg, Space exploration, as predicted in August 1958 by the science fiction magazine ''Imagination (magazine), Imagination'' Science fiction (s ...

alien invasion
,
biological engineering Biological engineering, bioengineering, or bio-engineering is the application of principles of biology and the tools of engineering to create usable, tangible, economically-viable products. Biological engineering employs knowledge and experti ...
,
invisibility Image:INVIS MIRROR.png, thumb Invisibility is the state of an object that cannot be Visual perception, seen. An object in this state is said to be ''invisible'' (literally, "not visible"). The term is often used in fantasy/science fiction, whe ...

invisibility
, and
time travel Time travel is the concept of movement between certain points in , to movement between different points in by an object or a person, typically with the use of a hypothetical device known as a time machine. Time travel is a widely recognized co ...

time travel
. In his
non-fiction Nonfiction (also spelled non-fiction) is any document or content (media), media content that intends, in good faith, to present only truth and accuracy regarding information, events, or people. Nonfictional content may be presented either Objecti ...
futurologist Futurists (also known as futurologists, prospectivists, foresight practitioners and horizon scanning, horizon scanners) are people whose specialty or interest is Futures studies, futurology or the attempt to systematically explore predictions an ...
works he predicted the advent of
airplane An airplane or aeroplane (informally plane) is a fixed-wing aircraft that is propelled forward by thrust from a jet engine, Propeller (aircraft), propeller, or rocket engine. Airplanes come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and wing configurati ...

airplane
s, military tanks,
nuclear weapon A nuclear weapon (also known as an atom bomb, atomic bomb, nuclear bomb or nuclear warhead, and colloquially as an A-bomb or nuke) is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reaction In nuclear physics Nucl ...
s,
satellite television Satellite television is a service that delivers television programming to viewers by relaying it from a communications satellite A communications satellite is an artificial satellite that relays and amplifies radio telecommunication signals v ...
, space travel, and something resembling the
World Wide Web The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system An information system (IS) is a formal, sociotechnical Sociotechnical systems (STS) in organizational development is an approach to complex organizational ...
.
Edgar Rice Burroughs Edgar Rice Burroughs (September 1, 1875 – March 19, 1950) was an American author, best known for his prolific output in the adventure An adventure is an exciting experience that is typically bold, sometimes risk In simple terms, risk i ...
' ''
A Princess of Mars ''A Princess of Mars'' is a science fantasy Science fantasy is a hybrid genre A cross-genre (or hybrid genre) is a literary genre, genre that blends themes and elements from two or more different genres. Hybrid genres are not new but a longs ...
'', published in 1912, was the first of his three-
decade A decade is a period of 10 years. The word is derived (via French and Latin) from the grc, δεκάς, dekas, which means ''a group of ten''. Decades may describe any ten-year period, such as those of a person's life, or refer to specific groupin ...
-long
planetary romance Planetary romance is a subgenre of science fiction File:Imagination 195808.jpg, Space exploration, as predicted in August 1958 in the science fiction magazine ''Imagination (magazine), Imagination.'' Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sc ...
series of Barsoom novels which were set on
Mars Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System, being larger than only Mercury (planet), Mercury. In English, Mars carries the name of the Mars (mythology), Roman god of war and is often referred to ...

Mars
and featured John Carter as the
hero A hero (heroine in its feminine form) is a real person or a main fictional character who, in the face of danger, combats adversity through feats of ingenuity, courage Courage (also called bravery or valour) is the choice and willing ...
. In 1926,
Hugo Gernsback Image:Radio News Nov 1928 Cover.jpg, 200px, right , Gernsback watching a television broadcast by his station WRNY (defunct), WRNY on the cover of his ''Radio News'' (Nov 1928) Hugo Gernsback (; born Hugo Gernsbacher, August 16, 1884 – August 1 ...
published the first
American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is ...

American
science-fiction magazine, ''
Amazing Stories ''Amazing Stories'' is an United States, American science fiction magazine launched in April 1926 by Hugo Gernsback's Experimenter Publishing. It was the first magazine devoted solely to science fiction. Science fiction stories had made regular ...
''. In its first issue he wrote: In 1928, E. E. "Doc" Smith's first published work, ''
The Skylark of Space ''The Skylark of Space'' is a science fiction novel by American writer E. E. Smith, Edward E. "Doc" Smith, written between 1915 and 1921 while Smith was working on his doctorate. Though the original idea for the novel was Smith's, he co-wrote the fi ...
,'' written in collaboration with Lee Hawkins Garby, appeared in ''
Amazing Stories ''Amazing Stories'' is an United States, American science fiction magazine launched in April 1926 by Hugo Gernsback's Experimenter Publishing. It was the first magazine devoted solely to science fiction. Science fiction stories had made regular ...
''. It is often called the first great
space opera Space opera is a subgenre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it normally describes a Category of b ...
. The same year, Philip Francis Nowlan's original
Buck Rogers Buck Rogers is a science fiction (and later, particularly space opera) character created by Philip Francis Nowlan in the novella ''Armageddon 2419 A.D.'', subsequently appearing in multiple media. First published in the August 1928 issue of the p ...
story, '' Armageddon 2419'', also appeared in ''Amazing Stories''. This was followed by a Buck Rogers
comic strip A comic strip is a sequence of drawings, often cartoons A cartoon is a type of illustration An illustration is a decoration, interpretation or visual explanation of a text, concept or process, designed for integration in print and digi ...
, the first serious science-fiction comic. In 1937, John W. Campbell became editor of ''Astounding Science Fiction'', an event which is sometimes considered the beginning of the Golden Age of Science Fiction, which is characterized by stories celebrating scientific achievement and progress. In 1942,
Isaac Asimov Isaac Asimov (; 1920 – April 6, 1992) was an American writer and professor of biochemistry at Boston University. During his lifetime, Asimov was considered one of the "Big Three" science fiction writers, along with Robert A. Heinlein and A ...
started his Foundation series, which chronicles the rise and fall of galactic empires and introduced psychohistory (fictional), psychohistory. The series was later awarded a one-time Hugo Award for "Best All-Time Series." The "Golden Age" is often said to have ended in 1946, but sometimes the late 1940s and the 1950s are included. Theodore Sturgeon, Theodore Sturgeon's ''More Than Human'' (1953) explored possible future human evolution. In 1957, ''Andromeda: A Space-Age Tale'' by the Russians, Russian writer and paleontologist Ivan Yefremov presented a view of a future interstellar Communism, communist civilization and is considered one of the most important Soviet Union, Soviet science fiction novels. In 1959, Robert A. Heinlein, Robert A. Heinlein's ''Starship Troopers'' marked a departure from his earlier juvenile stories and novels. It is one of the first and most influential examples of military science fiction, and introduced the concept of powered armor exoskeletons. The Germany, German
space opera Space opera is a subgenre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it normally describes a Category of b ...
series ''Perry Rhodan'', written by various authors, started in 1961 with an account of the first Moon landing and has since expanded in space to multiple universes, and in time by billions of years. It has become the most popular science fiction book series of all time. In the 1960s and 1970s, New Wave science fiction was known for its embrace of a high degree of experimentation, both in form and in content, and a highbrow and Self-consciousness, self-consciously "literary" or "artistic" sensibility. In 1961, ''Solaris (novel), Solaris'' by Stanisław Lem was published in Poland. The novel dealt with the Theme (arts), theme of human limitations as its characters attempted to study a seemingly Intelligence, intelligent ocean on a newly discovered planet. 1965's ''Dune (novel), Dune'' by Frank Herbert featured a much more complex and detailed imagined future society than had previous science fiction. In 1967 Anne McCaffrey began her ''Dragonriders of Pern'' science fantasy series. Two of the novellas included in the first novel, ''Dragonflight'', made McCaffrey the first woman to win a Hugo Award, Hugo or Nebula Award.''Publishers Weekly'' review of Robin Roberts, ''Anne McCaffrey: A Life with Dragons'' (2007)
Quoted by Amazon.com
. Retrieved 2011-07-16.
In 1968, Philip K. Dick, Philip K. Dick's ''Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?,'' was published. It is the literary source of the ''Blade Runner (franchise), Blade Runner'' movie franchise.Sammon, Paul M. (1996). Future Noir: the Making of Blade Runner. London: Orion Media. p. 49. . 1969's ''The Left Hand of Darkness'' by Ursula K. Le Guin was set on a planet in which the inhabitants have no fixed gender. It is one of the most influential examples of social science fiction, feminist science fiction, and anthropological science fiction. In 1979, ''Science Fiction World'' began publication in the People's Republic of China. It dominates the Chinese science fiction magazine Market economy, market, at one time claiming a circulation of 300,000 copies per issue and an estimated 3-5 readers per copy (giving it a total estimated readership of at least 1 million), making it the world's most popular science fiction Periodical literature, periodical. In 1984, William Gibson, William Gibson's first novel, ''Neuromancer,'' helped popularize cyberpunk and the word "cyberspace," a term he originally Coined term, coined in his 1982 short story ''Burning Chrome''. In 1986, ''Shards of Honor'' by Lois McMaster Bujold began her Vorkosigan Saga.Loud Achievements: Lois McMaster Bujold's Science Fiction
in ''New York Review of Science Fiction'', October 1998 (Number 122)
1992's ''Snow Crash'' by Neal Stephenson Prediction, predicted immense social upheaval due to the information revolution. In 2007, Liu Cixin's novel, ''The Three-Body Problem (novel), The Three-Body Problem'', was published in China. It was translated into English by Ken Liu and published by Tor Books in 2014, and won the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Novel, making Liu the first Asian writer to win the award. Emerging themes in late 20th and early 21st century science fiction include List of environmental issues, environmental issues, the implications of the Internet and the expanding information universe, questions about biotechnology, nanotechnology, and post-scarcity societies. Recent trends and subgenres include steampunk, biopunk, and mundane science fiction.


Film

The first, or at least one of the first, recorded science fiction film is 1902's ''A Trip to the Moon'', directed by French people, French filmmaker Georges Méliès. It was profoundly influential on later Filmmaking, filmmakers, bringing a different kind of creativity and
fantasy Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction involving Magic (supernatural), magical elements, typically set in a fictional universe and sometimes inspired by mythology and folklore. Its roots are in oral traditions, which then became fantasy lit ...

fantasy
to the cinematic Media (communication), medium. In addition, Méliès's innovative editing and special effects techniques were widely imitated and became important elements of the medium. 1927's ''Metropolis (1927 film), Metropolis'', directed by Fritz Lang, is the first feature-length science fiction film. Though not well received in its time, it is now considered a great and influential film. In 1954, ''Godzilla (1954 film), Godzilla'', directed by Ishirō Honda, began the kaiju subgenre of science fiction film, which feature large creatures of any form, usually attacking a major city or engaging other monsters in battle. 1968's ''2001: A Space Odyssey (film), 2001: A Space Odyssey'', directed by Stanley Kubrick and based on the work of Arthur C. Clarke, rose above the mostly B-movie offerings up to that time both in scope and quality, and greatly influenced later science fiction films. That same year, ''Planet of the Apes (1968 film), Planet of the Apes'' (the original), directed by Franklin J. Schaffner and based on the 1963 French people, French
novel A novel is a relatively long work of narrative A narrative, story or tale is any account of a series of related events or experiences, whether nonfiction Nonfiction (also spelled non-fiction) is any document A document is a written ...

novel
''Planet of the Apes (novel), La Planète des Singes'' by Pierre Boulle, was released to popular and critical acclaim, due in large part to its vivid depiction of a Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, post-apocalyptic world in which intelligent apes dominate humans. In 1977, George Lucas began the Star Wars, ''Star Wars'' film series with the film now identified as "''Star Wars (film), Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.''" The series, often called a
space opera Space opera is a subgenre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it normally describes a Category of b ...
, went on to become a worldwide
popular culture Popular culture (also called mass culture or pop culture) is generally recognized by members of a society A society is a group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and ...
Cultural impact of Star Wars, phenomenon, and the List of highest-grossing franchises and film series, second-highest-grossing film series of all time. Since the 1980s, science fiction films, along with
fantasy Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction involving Magic (supernatural), magical elements, typically set in a fictional universe and sometimes inspired by mythology and folklore. Its roots are in oral traditions, which then became fantasy lit ...

fantasy
, horror film, horror, and
superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character that possesses Superpower (ability), ''superpowers'', abilities beyond those of ordinary people, and fits the role of the hero, typically using his or her powers to help the World peace, world b ...

superhero
films, have dominated Cinema of the United States, Hollywood's big-budget productions. Science fiction films often "Cross-genre, cross-over" with other genres, including animation ''(WALL-E'' - 2008, ''Big Hero 6 (film), Big Hero 6'' - 2014), Gangster film, gangster (''Sky Racket (1937 film), Sky Racket'' - 1937), Western (genre), Western (''Serenity (2005 film), Serenity'' - 2005), comedy (''Spaceballs'' -1987, ''Galaxy Quest'' - 1999), War film, war (''Enemy Mine (film), Enemy Mine'' - 1985), Action film, action (''Edge of Tomorrow'' - 2014, ''The Matrix'' - 1999), Adventure film, adventure (''Jupiter Ascending'' - 2015, ''Interstellar (film), Interstellar'' - 2014), Sports film, sports (''Rollerball (1975 film), Rollerball'' - 1975), Mystery film, mystery (''Minority Report (film), Minority Report'' - 2002), Thriller film, thriller (''Ex Machina (film), Ex Machina'' - 2014), Horror film, horror (''Alien (film), Alien'' - 1979), film noir (''Blade Runner'' - 1982), Superhero film, superhero (''Marvel Cinematic Universe'' - 2008-), Drama (film and television), drama (''Melancholia (2011 film), Melancholia'' - 2011, ''Predestination (film), Predestination'' - 2014), and Romance film, romance (''Her (film), Her'' - 2013).Science Fiction Film: A Critical Introduction, Keith M. Johnston, Berg, 9 May 2013, pages 24–25. Some of the examples are given by this book.


Television

Science fiction and television have consistently been in a close relationship. Television or television-like Technology, technologies frequently appeared in science fiction long before television itself became widely available in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Science Fiction TV, J. P. Telotte, Routledge, 26 March 2014, pages 112, 179 The first known science fiction television program was a thirty-five-minute Film adaptation, adapted excerpt of the play ''R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), RUR'', written by the Czech (people), Czech playwright Karel Čapek, Broadcasting, broadcast Live television, live from the BBC's Alexandra Palace studios on 11 February 1938. The first popular science fiction program on Television in the United States, American television was the Children's television series, children's adventure Serial (radio and television), serial ''Captain Video and His Video Rangers'', which ran from June 1949 to April 1955. ''The Twilight Zone (1959 TV series), The Twilight Zone'' (the original series), produced and narrated by Rod Serling, who also wrote or co-wrote most of the episodes, ran from 1959 to 1964. It featured
fantasy Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction involving Magic (supernatural), magical elements, typically set in a fictional universe and sometimes inspired by mythology and folklore. Its roots are in oral traditions, which then became fantasy lit ...

fantasy
, Suspense (genre), suspense, and Horror film, horror as well as science fiction, with each episode being a complete story. Critics have ranked it as one of the best TV programs of any
genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it normally describes a Category of being, category of literature, ...

genre
. The Animation, animated series ''The Jetsons'', while intended as Comedy film, comedy and only running for one Season (television), season (1962–1963), Prediction, predicted many inventions now in common use: Flat panel display, flat-screen televisions, newspapers on a computer-like computer monitor, screen, computer viruses, Videotelephony, video chat, tanning beds, home treadmills, and more. In 1963, the time travel-themed ''Doctor Who'' premiered on BBC Television. The original series ran until 1989 and was revived in 2005. It has been extremely Popular culture, popular worldwide and has greatly influenced later TV science fiction. Other programs in the 1960s included ''The Outer Limits (1963 TV series), The Outer Limits'' (1963-1965), ''Lost in Space'' (1965-1968), and ''The Prisoner'' (1967). ''Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek'' (the original series), created by Gene Roddenberry, premiered in 1966 on NBC Television and ran for three seasons. It combined elements of
space opera Space opera is a subgenre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it normally describes a Category of b ...
and Space Western. Only mildly successful at first, the series gained popularity through Broadcast syndication, syndication and extraordinary Cultural influence of Star Trek#Fandom, fan interest. It became a very popular and influential Star Trek franchise, franchise with many List of Star Trek films, films, List of Star Trek television series, television shows, List of Star Trek novels, novels, and other works and products.Roddenberry, Gene (11 March 1964)
''Star Trek'' Pitch
, first draft. Accessed at ''LeeThomson.myzen.co.uk''.
''Star Trek: The Next Generation'' (1987-1994) led to four additional ''Star Trek'' shows (''Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Deep Space 9'' (1993-1999), ''Star Trek: Voyager, Voyager'' (1995-2001)'','' ''Star Trek: Enterprise, Enterprise'' (2001-2005), and ''Star Trek: Discovery, Discovery'' (2017–present))--with more in some form of development. The miniseries V (1983 miniseries), ''V'' premiered in 1983 on NBC. It depicted an attempted takeover of Earth by reptilian aliens. ''Red Dwarf'', a comic science fiction series aired on BBC Two between 1988 and 1999, and on Dave (TV channel), Dave since 2009. ''The X-Files'', which featured UFOs and conspiracy theories, was created by Chris Carter (screenwriter), Chris Carter and broadcast by Fox Broadcasting Company from 1993 to 2002, and again from 2016 to 2018. ''Stargate (film), Stargate'', a film about ancient astronauts and interstellar teleportation, was released in 1994. ''Stargate SG-1'' premiered in 1997 and ran for 10 seasons (1997-2007). Spin-off series included ''Stargate Infinity'' (2002-2003), ''Stargate Atlantis'' (2004-2009), and ''Stargate Universe'' (2009-2011). Other 1990s series included ''Quantum Leap'' (1989-1993) and ''Babylon 5'' (1994-1999). Syfy, SyFy, launched in 1992 as The Sci-Fi Channel, specializes in science fiction, supernatural horror, and
fantasy Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction involving Magic (supernatural), magical elements, typically set in a fictional universe and sometimes inspired by mythology and folklore. Its roots are in oral traditions, which then became fantasy lit ...

fantasy
. ''Orphan Black'' began its 5 season run in 2013, about a woman who assumes the identity of one of her several genetically identical human clones. In December of the same year debuted ''Rick and Morty'', an adult animated sci-fi series following the outer space and across dimensions misadventures of a cynical mad scientist and his good-hearted but fretful grandson. In late 2015 Syfy, SyFy premiered ''The Expanse (TV series), The Expanse'' to great critical acclaim, an American tv series about Humanity's colonization of the Solar System. Its later seasons would then be aired through Amazon Prime Video.


Social influence

Science fiction's great rise in popularity during the first half of the 20th century was closely tied to the popular respect paid to science at that time, as well as the rapid pace of technological innovation and new inventions.Astounding Wonder: Imagining Science and Science Fiction in Interwar America, John Cheng, University of Pennsylvania Press, 19 March 2012 pages 1–12. Science fiction has often Prediction, predicted scientific and technological progress (history), progress. Some works predict that new inventions and progress will tend to improve life and society, for instance the stories of Arthur C. Clarke and ''Star Trek''. Others, such as H. G. Wells, H.G. Wells's ''
The Time Machine ''The Time Machine'' is a science fiction novella by H. G. Wells, published in 1895. The work is generally credited with the popularization of the concept of time travel by using a vehicle or device to travel purposely and selectively forw ...
'' and Aldous Huxley, Aldous Huxley's ''Brave New World'', warn about possible negative consequences.The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy: Themes, Works, and Wonders, Volume 2, Gary Westfahl, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005 In 2001 the National Science Foundation conducted a Survey (human research), survey on "Public Attitude (psychology), Attitudes and Public Understanding: Science Fiction and Pseudoscience." It found that people who read or prefer science fiction may think about or relate to science differently than other people. They also tend to support the space program and the idea of contacting Extraterrestrial life, extraterrestrial civilizations.
Carl Sagan Carl Edward Sagan (; November 9, 1934December 20, 1996) was an American astronomer, planetary scientist, physical cosmology, cosmologist, Astrophysics, astrophysicist, Astrobiology, astrobiologist, author, and science communicator. His best know ...
wrote: "Many scientists deeply involved in the exploration of the Solar System, solar system (myself among them) were first turned in that direction by science fiction."
Brian Aldiss Brian Wilson Aldiss (; 18 August 1925 – 19 August 2017) was an English writer and anthologies, anthology editor, best known for science fiction novels and short stories. His byline reads either Brian W. Aldiss or simply Brian Aldiss, except for ...

Brian Aldiss
described science fiction as "Culture, cultural wallpaper." Evidence for this widespread influence can be found in trends for writers to employ science fiction as a tool for advocacy and generating cultural insights, as well as for educators when teaching across a range of academic disciplines not limited to the natural sciences. Scholar and science fiction critic George Edgar Slusser said that science fiction "is the one real international literary form we have today, and as such has branched out to visual media, interactive media and on to whatever new media the world will invent in the 21st century. Crossover issues between the
science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of ...

science
s and the humanities are crucial for the century to come."


As protest literature

Science fiction has sometimes been used as a means of social protest. George Orwell, George Orwell's ''Nineteen Eighty-Four'' (1949) is an important work of Dystopian fiction, dystopian science fiction. It is often invoked in protests against governments and leaders who are seen as totalitarianism, totalitarian. James Cameron, James Cameron's 2009 film ''Avatar (2009 film), Avatar'' was intended as a protest against imperialism, and specifically the European colonization of the Americas. Its images have been used by, among others, Palestinians in their Boycotts of Israel, protests against the Israel, State of Israel.Science Fiction Film, Television, and Adaptation: Across the Screens, Jay Telotte, Gerald Duchovnay, Routledge, 2 August 2011 Robots, Artificial intelligence, artificial humans, human cloning, clones, intelligent computers, and their possible conflicts with human society have all been major themes of science fiction since, at least, the publication of Shelly's ''
Frankenstein ''Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus'' is an 1818 novel A novel is a relatively long work of narrative A narrative, story or tale is any account of a series of related events or experiences, whether nonfiction Nonfiction (also ...

Frankenstein
''. Some critics have seen this as reflecting authors’ concerns over the social alienation seen in modern society.Androids, Humanoids, and Other Science Fiction Monsters: Science and Soul in Science Fiction Films, Per Schelde, NYU Press, 1994, pages 1–10 Feminist science fiction poses questions about social issues such as how society constructs gender roles, the role reproduction plays in defining gender, and the inequitable political or personal power of one gender over others. Some works have illustrated these themes using utopias to explore a society in which gender differences or gender power imbalances do not exist, or dystopias to explore worlds in which Gender inequality, gender inequalities are intensified, thus asserting a need for feminist work to continue. Climate fiction, or "cli-fi," deals with issues concerning Climate variability and change, climate change and global warming. University Course (education), courses on
literature Literature broadly is any collection of written Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosophy), entitie ...

literature
and environmental issues may include climate change fiction in their Syllabus, syllabi, and it is often discussed by other media (communication), media outside of science fiction fandom. Libertarian science fiction focuses on the politics and social order implied by right libertarian philosophies with an emphasis on individualism and private property, and in some cases anti-statism. Science fiction comedy often Satire, satirizes and Criticism, criticizes present-day society, and sometimes makes fun of the Convention (norm), conventions and clichés of more serious science fiction.The Animal Fable in Science Fiction and Fantasy, Bruce Shaw, McFarland, 2010, page 19


Sense of wonder

Science fiction is often said to inspire a "
sense of wonder A sense of wonder (sometimes jokingly written sensawunda) is an intellectual and emotional state frequently invoked in discussions of science fiction File:Imagination 195808.jpg, Space exploration, as predicted in August 1958 by the science fi ...
." Science fiction editor and critic David Hartwell wrote: "Science fiction’s appeal lies in combination of the rational, the believable, with the miraculous. It is an appeal to the sense of wonder." Carl Sagan said: "One of the great benefits of science fiction is that it can convey bits and pieces, hints, and phrases, of knowledge unknown or inaccessible to the reader . . . works you ponder over as the water is running out of the bathtub or as you walk through the woods in an early winter snowfall." In 1967, Isaac Asimov commented on the changes then occurring in the science fiction community: "And because today’s real life so resembles day-before-yesterday’s fantasy, the old-time fans are restless. Deep within, whether they admit it or not, is a feeling of disappointment and even outrage that the outer world has invaded their private domain. They feel the loss of a 'sense of wonder' because what was once truly confined to 'wonder' has now become prosaic and mundane."


Science fiction studies

The study of science fiction, or science fiction studies, is the Criticism, critical assessment, Aesthetic interpretation, interpretation, and Conversation, discussion of science fiction
literature Literature broadly is any collection of written Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosophy), entitie ...

literature
, film, TV shows, new media, fandom, and fan fiction. Science fiction
scholar A scholar is a person who pursues academic and intellectual activities, particularly those that develop expertise in an area of Studying, study. A scholar may also be an academic, who works as a professor, teacher or researcher at a university or ...

scholar
s study science fiction to better understand it and its relationship to science, technology, politics, other genres, and culture-at-large. Science fiction studies began around the turn of the 20th century, but it was not until later that science fiction studies solidified as a discipline with the publication of the academic journals ''Extrapolation (journal), Extrapolation'' (1959), ''Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction'' (1972), and ''Science Fiction Studies'' (1973), and the establishment of the oldest organizations devoted to the Research, study of science fiction in 1970, the Science Fiction Research Association and the Science Fiction Foundation. The field has grown considerably since the 1970s with the establishment of more Academic journal, journals, organizations, and conferences, as well as science fiction Academic degree, degree-granting programs such as those offered by the University of Liverpool and the University of Kansas.


Classification

Science fiction has historically been sub-divided between hard science fiction and soft science fiction, with the division centering on the feasibility of the science central to the story. However, this distinction has come under increasing scrutiny in the 21st century. Some
author An author is the creator or originator of any written work such as a book A book is a medium for recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or item ...

author
s, such as Tade Thompson and Jeff VanderMeer, have pointed out that stories that focus explicitly on physics, astronomy, mathematics, and engineering tend to be considered "hard" science fiction, while stories that focus on botany, mycology, zoology, and the social sciences tend to be categorized as "soft," regardless of the relative Rigour, rigor of the science. Max Gladstone defined "hard" science fiction as stories "where the Mathematics, math works," but pointed out that this ends up with stories that often seem "weirdly dated," as scientific paradigms shift over time. Michael Swanwick dismissed the traditional definition of "hard" SF altogether, instead saying that it was defined by characters striving to solve problems "in the right way–with determination, a touch of stoicism, and the consciousness that the universe is not on his or her side." Ursula K. Le Guin also criticized the more traditional view on the difference between "hard" and "soft" SF: "The 'hard' science fiction writers dismiss everything except, well, physics, astronomy, and maybe chemistry. Biology, sociology, anthropology—that's not
science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of ...

science
to them, that's soft stuff. They're not that interested in what Human, human beings do, really. But I am. I draw on the social sciences a great deal."


As serious literature

Respected authors have written science fiction. Mary Shelley wrote a number of science fiction novels including ''Frankenstein, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus'' (1818), and is considered a major writer of the Romantic Age. Aldous Huxley, Aldous Huxley's ''Brave New World'' (1932) is often listed as one of England's most important novels, both for its criticism of modern culture and its prediction of future trends including reproductive technology and Social engineering (political science), social engineering. Kurt Vonnegut was a highly respected American author whose works contain science fiction premises or themes. Other science fiction authors whose works are widely considered to be "serious" literature include Ray Bradbury (including, especially, ''Fahrenheit 451'' (1953) and ''The Martian Chronicles'' (1951)), Arthur C. Clarke (especially for ''Childhood's End''), and Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger, writing under the name Cordwainer Smith. In his book "The Western Canon", literary critic Harold Bloom includes ''Brave New World'', ''Solaris'', ''Cat's Cradle'' (1963) by Vonnegut, and ''The Left Hand of Darkness'' as culturally and aesthetically significant works of western literature. David Barnett (writer), David Barnett has pointed out that there are books such as ''The Road'' (2006) by Cormac McCarthy, ''Cloud Atlas (novel), Cloud Atlas'' (2004) by David Mitchell (author), David Mitchell, ''The Gone-Away World'' (2008) by Nick Harkaway, ''The Stone Gods (novel), The Stone Gods'' (2007) by Jeanette Winterson, and ''Oryx and Crake'' (2003) by Margaret Atwood, which use recognizable science fiction Trope (literature), tropes, but whose authors and publishers do not Marketing, market them as science fiction. Doris Lessing, who was later awarded the Nobel Prize in literature, wrote a series of five SF
novel A novel is a relatively long work of narrative A narrative, story or tale is any account of a series of related events or experiences, whether nonfiction Nonfiction (also spelled non-fiction) is any document A document is a written ...

novel
s, ''Canopus in Argos, Canopus in Argos: Archives'' (1979-1983), which depict the efforts of more advanced species and civilizations to influence those less advanced, including humans on Earth. In her much reprinted 1976 essay "Science Fiction and Mrs Brown," Ursula K. Le Guin was asked: "Can a science fiction writer write a novel?" She answered: "I believe that all novels, . . . deal with Character (arts), character, and that it is to express character–not to preach doctrines [or] sing songs... that the form of the novel, so clumsy, verbose, and undramatic, so rich, elastic, and alive, has been evolved. . . . The great novelists have brought us to see whatever they wish us to see through some character. Otherwise, they would not be novelists, but poets, historians, or pamphleteers." Orson Scott Card, best known for his 1985 science fiction novel ''Ender's Game'', has postulated that in science fiction the message and intellectual significance of the work are contained within the story itself and, therefore, does not need stylistic gimmicks or literary games. Jonathan Lethem, in a 1998 essay in the ''Village Voice'' entitled "Close Encounters: The Squandered Promise of Science Fiction," suggested that the point in 1973 when Thomas Pynchon, Thomas Pynchon's ''Gravity's Rainbow'' was nominated for the Nebula Award and was passed over in favor of Clarke's ''Rendezvous with Rama,'' stands as "a hidden tombstone marking the death of the hope that SF was about to merge with the mainstream." In the same year science fiction author and physicist Gregory Benford wrote: "SF is perhaps the defining genre of the twentieth century, although its conquering Army, armies are still camped outside the Roman Empire, Rome of the literary citadels."


Community


Authors

Science fiction is being written, and has been written, by Cultural diversity, diverse authors from around the world. According to 2013 statistics by the science fiction Publishing, publisher Tor Books, men outnumber women by 78% to 22% among submissions to the publisher. 2015 Hugo Awards controversy, A controversy about voting slates in the 2015 Hugo Awards highlighted tensions in the science fiction community between a trend of increasingly diverse works and authors being honored by awards, and reaction by groups of authors and fans who preferred what they considered more "traditional" science fiction.


Awards

Among the most respected and well-known awards for science fiction are the Hugo Award for
literature Literature broadly is any collection of written Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosophy), entitie ...

literature
, presented by the World Science Fiction Society at Worldcon, and voted on by fans; the Nebula Award for literature, presented by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and voted on by the community of authors; the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel, presented by a jury of writers; and the Theodore Sturgeon Award, Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for Short story, short fiction, presented by a jury. One notable award for science fiction films and TV programs is the Saturn Award, which is presented annually by Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films, The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films. There are other national awards, like Canada's Prix Aurora Awards, regional awards, like the Endeavour Award presented at OryCon, Orycon for works from the Pacific Northwest, U.S. Pacific Northwest, and special interest or subgenre awards such as the Chesley Award for art, presented by the Association of Science Fiction & Fantasy Artists, or the World Fantasy Award for fantasy. Magazines may organize reader polls, notably the Locus Award.


Conventions

Convention (meeting), Conventions (in fandom, often shortened as "cons," such as "comic-con") are held in City, cities around the world, catering to a local, regional, national, or international membership. Interest (emotion), General-interest conventions cover all aspects of science fiction, while others focus on a particular interest like media fandom, filking, and so on. Most science fiction conventions are organized by volunteering, volunteers in Non-profit organization, non-profit groups, though most media-oriented events are organized by Advertising, commercial promoters.


Fandom and fanzines

Science fiction fandom emerged from the Comic book letter column, letters column in ''
Amazing Stories ''Amazing Stories'' is an United States, American science fiction magazine launched in April 1926 by Hugo Gernsback's Experimenter Publishing. It was the first magazine devoted solely to science fiction. Science fiction stories had made regular ...
'' magazine. Soon fans began writing Letter (message), letters to each other, and then grouping their comments together in informal publications that became known as fanzines. Once they were in regular contact, fans wanted to meet each other, and they organized local clubs. In the 1930s, the first science fiction conventions gathered fans from a wider area. The earliest organized online fandom was the SF Lovers Community, originally a mailing list in the late 1970s with a text File archiver, archive file that was updated regularly. In the 1980s, Usenet groups greatly expanded the circle of fans Online and offline, online. In the 1990s, the development of the World-Wide Web exploded the community of online fandom by orders of magnitude, with thousands and then millions of websites devoted to science fiction and related
genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it normally describes a Category of being, category of literature, ...

genre
s for all media. The first Science-fiction fanzine, science fiction fanzine, ''The Comet'', was published in 1930 by the Science Correspondence Club in Chicago, Illinois. One of the best known fanzines today is ''Ansible'', Editing, edited by David Langford, winner of numerous Hugo Award, Hugo awards. Other notable fanzines to win one or more Hugo awards include ''File 770'', ''Mimosa (magazine), Mimosa'', and ''Plokta''. Artists working for fanzines have frequently risen to prominence in the field, including Brad W. Foster, Teddy Harvia, and Joe Mayhew; the Hugo Award, Hugos include a category for Hugo Award for Best Fan Artist, Best Fan Artists.


Elements

Science fiction elements can include, among others: *Temporal settings in the future, or in alternate history, alternative histories. *Space travel in science fiction, Space travel, settings in outer space, on other worlds, in Hollow Earth, subterranean earth, or in Parallel universe (fiction)#Science fiction, parallel universes. * Aspects of biology in fiction such as Extraterrestrial life, aliens, Mutant (fictional), mutants, and enhanced humans. * Predicted or speculative
technology Technology ("science of craft", from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. I ...

technology
such as Brain–computer interface, brain-computer interface, Biological engineering, bio-engineering, Superintelligence, superintelligent computers, robots, and Raygun, ray guns and other Weapons in science fiction, advanced weapons. * Undiscovered scientific possibilities such as teleportation,
time travel Time travel is the concept of movement between certain points in , to movement between different points in by an object or a person, typically with the use of a hypothetical device known as a time machine. Time travel is a widely recognized co ...

time travel
, and faster-than-light travel or Ansible, communication. * New and different political and social systems and situations, including Utopian, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, or post-scarcity. * Future history and Speculative evolution, evolution of humans on
Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% is Water distribution on Earth, covered wi ...

Earth
or on other planets.Ashley, M. (April 1989). The Immortal Professor, Astro Adventures No.7, p.6. * Paranormal abilities such as Mind control in popular culture, mind control, telepathy, and telekinesis.


International examples


Subgenres


Related genres


See also

* Outline of science fiction * History of science fiction * Timeline of science fiction * Fantastic art * Fictional worlds * Futures studies * List of comic science fiction * List of religious ideas in science fiction * List of science fiction and fantasy artists * List of science fiction authors * List of science fiction films * List of science fiction novels * List of science fiction television programs * List of science fiction themes * List of science fiction universes * Planets in science fiction * Political ideas in science fiction * Retrofuturism * Robots in science fiction * Science fiction comics * Science fiction libraries and museums * Science in science fiction * Technology in science fiction * Time travel in fiction * Transhumanism


References


Sources

* Brian Aldiss, Aldiss, Brian. ''Billion Year Spree: The True History of Science Fiction'', 1973. * Aldiss, Brian, and David Wingrove, Wingrove, David. ''Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction'', revised and updated edition, 1986. * Kingsley Amis, Amis, Kingsley. ''New Maps of Hell: A Survey of Science Fiction'', 1958. * Barron, Neil, ed. ''Anatomy of Wonder: A Critical Guide to Science Fiction'' (5th ed.). Westport, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited, 2004. . * Damien Broderick, Broderick, Damien. ''Reading by Starlight: Postmodern Science Fiction.'' London: Routledge, 1995. Print. * John Clute, Clute, John ''Science Fiction: The Illustrated Encyclopedia''. London: Dorling Kindersley, 1995. . * John Clute, Clute, John and
Peter NichollsPeter Nicholls may refer to: *Peter Nicholls (artist) (1936–2021), New Zealand sculptor *Peter Nicholls (writer) (1939–2018), Australian literary scholar and critic *Peter Nicholls (musician) (born 1959), British musician See also

*Peter Ni ...
, eds., ''The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction''. St Albans, Herts, UK: Granada Publishing, 1979. . * John Clute, Clute, John and
Peter NichollsPeter Nicholls may refer to: *Peter Nicholls (artist) (1936–2021), New Zealand sculptor *Peter Nicholls (writer) (1939–2018), Australian literary scholar and critic *Peter Nicholls (musician) (born 1959), British musician See also

*Peter Ni ...
, eds., ''The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction''. New York: St Martin's Press, 1995. . * Thomas M. Disch, Disch, Thomas M. ''The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of''. New York: The Free Press, 1998. . * Fredric Jameson, Jameson, Fredric. ''Archaeologies of the Future: This Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions.'' London and New York: Verso, 2005. * Andrew Milner, Milner, Andrew. ''Locating Science Fiction''. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2012. * Masood Ashraf Raja, Raja, Masood Ashraf, Jason W. Ellis and Swaralipi Nandi. eds., ''The Postnational Fantasy: Essays on Postcolonialism, Cosmopolitics and Science Fiction''. McFarland 2011. . * Reginald, Robert. ''Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature, 1975–1991''. Detroit, MI/Washington, D.C./London: Gale Research, 1992. . * Roy, Pinaki. "Science Fiction: ''Some Reflections''". ''Shodh Sanchar Bulletin'', 10.39 (July–September 2020): 138-42. * * Darko Suvin, Suvin, Darko. ''Metamorphoses of Science Fiction: on the Poetics and History of a Literary Genre.'' New Haven : Yale University Press, 1979. * Weldes, Jutta, ed. ''To Seek Out New Worlds: Exploring Links between Science Fiction and World Politics''. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. . * Westfahl, Gary, ed. ''The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy: Themes, Works, and Wonders'' (three volumes). Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2005. * Wolfe, Gary K. ''Critical Terms for Science Fiction and Fantasy: A Glossary and Guide to Scholarship''. New York: Greenwood Press, 1986. .


External links


Science Fiction (Bookshelf)
at Project Gutenberg
SF Hub
resources for science fiction research, created by the University of Liverpool Library
Science fiction fanzines (current and historical) online

SFWA "Suggested Reading" list

Science Fiction Museum & Hall of Fame

Science Fiction Research Association

A selection of articles written by Mike Ashley, Iain Sinclair and others, exploring 19th-century visions of the future.
from the British Library's Discovering Literature website.
Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation and Fantasy
at Toronto Public Library
Science Fiction Studies' Chronological Bibliography of Science Fiction History, Theory, and Criticism
{{Authority control Science fiction, Speculative fiction, Speculative fiction