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science Fiction


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A popular modern branch of prose fiction that explores the probable consequences of some improbable or impossible transformation of the basic conditions of human (or intelligent non‐human) existence. This transformation need not be brought about by a technological invention, but may involve some mutation of known biological or physical reality, e.g. time travel, extraterrestrial invasion, ecological catastrophe. Science fiction is a form of literary fantasy or romance that often draws upon earlier kinds of utopian and apocalyptic writing. The term itself was first given general currency by Hugo Gernsback, editor of the American magazine Amazing Stories from 1926 onwards, and it is usually abbreviated to SF or sci‐fi; before this, such works were called ‘scientific romances’ by H. G. Wells and others. Several early precedents have been claimed for the genre—notably Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818)—but true modern science fiction begins with Jules Verne's Voyage au centre de la terre (1864) and H. G. Wells's The Time Machine (1895). Once uniformly dismissed as pulp fiction, SF gained greater respect during the 1950s, as writers like Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and Arthur C. Clarke expanded its range. SF has also had an important influence on postmodernist fiction by writers not devoted to this genre alone: Thomas Pynchon, Kurt Vonnegut, Doris Lessing, and Italo Calvino are significant examples. For a fuller account, consult Adam Roberts, Science Fiction (2005).

http://library.tamu.edu/cushing/sffrd Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Database at Texas A&M.

Subjects: Literature.


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