Franklin on Science Fiction

Franklin, H. Bruce. “Science Fiction: The Early Years.” n.d. Web. 28 June 2014.

“Though science fiction has antecedents that stretch back at least two thousand years, science fiction as a body of literature–and movies, graphic art, comic books, radio shows, futuristic exhibits, TV serials, video game machines, computer games, virtual reality, and so forth–is a new phenomenon.”

“The word “scientist” appeared for the first time in 1840…”

spaceship2c“The term ‘science fiction’ was used first in 1851 (in Chapter 10 of William Wilson’s A Little Earnest Book upon a Great Old Subject): ‘Science-Fiction, in which the revealed truths of Science may be given interwoven with a pleasing story which may itself be poetical and true.'”

Note: The term science fiction was first used by William Wilson and–as you would know if you were in Edinburgh–Wilson was a Scots.

“So my key definition is this: Science fiction is the major non-realistic mode of imaginative creation of our epoch. It is the principal cultural way we locate ourselves imaginatively in time and space.”

“as fantasy–imaginings of the impossible–”

“The 19th century was the first in which life was continually being metamorphosed by technological change. The century began with the first experimental locomotive in 1801, advanced through the airship in 1852, and ended with the first experimental airplane in the late 1890s. In that century came the first practical steamboat, the screw propeller, the bicycle, and the automobile.”

“America proved especially hospitable to science fiction, even before it acquired a name.”

“Between the Civil War and World War I, the most popular form of literature in America was the dime novel, and its science fiction versions were to have a formative influence on American culture… Only when it became an influential form of mass entertainment did science fiction come to be disdained as vulgar and puerile.”


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