Science Fiction

Bessemerbiblioteket

What is Science Fiction?

History of sf?

Hard SF or Soft SF?

Classic Themes

Subgenres

A Presentation of Authors

What is Science Fiction?

Science fiction is a genre of speculative fiction

that typically deals with imaginative and futuristic concepts

such as advanced science and technology,

space exploration, time travel, parallel universes, and extraterrestrial life.

 

It has been called the "literature of ideas", and often explores the

potential consequences of scientific, social, and technological innovations.

Science fiction is related to fantasy, horror, and superhero fiction,

and contains many subgenres.

"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"

- Robert A. Heinlein

When did it start?

Illustration by Aubrey Beardsley for Lucian's A True Story.

Science fiction had its beginnings in ancient times, when the line between myth and fact was blurred. Written in the 2nd century AD (ca 100 e.Kr) by Lucian,

A True Story contains many themes and tropes characteristic of modern science fiction, including travel to other worlds, extraterrestrial lifeforms, interplanetary warfare, and artificial life. Some consider it the first science-fiction novel.

It was written as a satire.

The Romantic era (1800-tal)

During the Romantic era literature gave people an opportunity to escape their often harsh realities - long working days, unsafe working conditions, poverty, living in slums, inequality.

 

 

ESCAPISM

Reading stories made you able to escape reality

to foreign and exotic places.

Escapism coupled with the developing technology and new innovations of the industrial era

created the genre of Science Fiction!

 

One of the first Science Fiction novels

is Mary Shelleys Frankenstein.

Mary Wolstonecraft Shelley 1797 - 1851

1818

Jules Verne

1828-1905

Verne wrote:

 

From earth to the moon

Journey to the centre of the earth

20 000 Leagues under the sea

Among other things.

 

Thus stimulating the imagination of

countless people and inspiring authors throughout the ages.

Verne often wrote about machines or technologies that didn't exist at the time, earning him a reputation of being a "prophet of scientific progress".

  

The genre of scientific fiction grew immensely during the 1900's midcentury. The post-war age filled with hope for the future in combination with a strong technological advancement fueled both the dreams of outer space as well as fear for the loss of nature and humanity to machines.

 

 

Verne - Shelley

Hard and/or soft Science Fiction

These two authors exemplify the rise of a debated division in this genre.

Hard Sciences

Soft Sciences

Biology

Chemistry

Engineering

Mathematics

Physics

Anthropology

Criminology

Pshycology

Sociology

Politics

Is a division like this just snobbery

or can it help us choose the right book for you?

Hard Science Fiction

focuses on technology/natural sciences

Soft Science Fiction

focuses on social sciences.

Alien cultures, social

changes after an apocalypse,

justice systems, economy,

sociology.

Space travel, engineering

computers, alien races and their technology.

Classical themes

Technology

First contact with aliens

Robots and A.I.

Space travel

The themes in modern SF are endless

and can read as a list of human fears.

Interstellar warfare

Space plagues

Controlling dystopian societies

End of humanity

Destruction of the planet/s

Cli-Fi - Climate Fiction

covering the climate issue.

 

 

 

SF can also give us hope!

The genre is set in a future time, meaning we have the time to change for the better.

To seek out new and better tomorrows.

It reminds us that as a species we can dream, explore, cast our imaginations beyond the boundaries of our reality.

Margaret Atwood

Ursula Le Guin

Doris Lessing

Apart from delving into feminist themes, gender inequality and sexuality. These authors are just fantastic story tellers and have created classics in this field.

Feminism in SF

Ethnicity and diversity in SF

 

 

A hologram, a cat, a robot, and two humans.

The Crew of the Red Dwarf

The Crew of the Wayfarer

The Crew of Enterprise

A historic kiss

 

 

Dystopian subgenre

Dystopian fiction are cautionary tales about imminent threats as they are percieved by the author. The author may choose to place this threat in the future, or the past or even in the present.

 

Dystopian literature almost always contains a critical view on the society the author is familiar with. To understand dystopian fiction, one must understand the context of the the authors time and place.

 

Dystopian fiction, even though it is classified as Science Fiction, can lack technology or other signifiers of the genre.

George Orwell was inspired by his experiences covering the Spanish war and his hatred of fascism and totaliarianism. He wanted to warn of us a future were capitalism and political authority ran rampant. He saw a future were people were monitored and controlled. Where history was no longer something people could agree on and hate 

distracted us from the facts

Published in 1949

Does that sound familiar?

Let's take a look at the authors of

the short stories you will read...

Ray Bradbury 1920-2012

Was an American writer and screenplay writer with Swedish ancestry, his mother was a Swedish immigrant.  Mostly known for his highly imaginative short stories and science fiction novels, he also wrote in other genres such as fantasy, horror and mystery fiction. His most famous work is the science fiction novel Fahrenheit 451.

He liked to read and write as a child and has said that Jules Verne and H.G. Wells inspired him to write science fiction. His writing style blend poetic language with nostalgia for childhood, social criticism and awareness of the hazards of runaway technology.  

 

 

The Pedestrian 

The Veldt

Kurt Vonnegut 1922-2007

Was an American writer, most famous for his darkly satirical, bestselling Science Fiction novel Slaughterhouse-five.  He grew up in Indianapolis, and even though he described himself as a pascifist, he enlisted in the US. Army in 1943 and was sent to Europe to fight in WWII.  He was caught by the Germans and sent to Dresden as a POW but survived the bombing of the city in 1945.  After returning to America he married his high school sweetheart and got a job at an electrical factory. His writing was inspired both by his experiences in the war as well as being a factory worker and his writing style is marked by a dark humor that highlight the horrors and ironies of 20th-century civilization.

 

 

Harrison Bergeron

Questions?

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