Nevins on Science Fiction

Nevins, Jess. “May Day, 1871: The Day ‘Science Fiction’ Was Invented.” io9.com. 29 April 2011. Web. 28 June 2014.

“by May Day 1871 there was not only a corpus of science fiction—at least one science fictional story or novel had been published every year since 1832—but a general consciousness that science fiction was a separate genre of fiction, and different in distinct ways from mysteries and romances and other fictional genres.

Descriptive labels had even begun to be attached to the genre.”

“So by May 1, 1871, the genre of science fiction had a body of work to call its own and labels which separated it from other literary genres. But for all that science fiction was an obscure sub-genre in the United States and Great Britain, both commercially and critically. In sales and output, science fiction was dwarfed by other genres, especially Sensation novels… and historical romances. … read by few and written by fewer.

May Day 1871, permanently changed this situation.”

Science clipart“The rise in production of Anglophone science fiction led to a shift in emphasis. Science fiction went from something predominantly European-more works of science fiction were produced in France from 1860-April 30, 1871 than in the United States and the United Kingdom combined-to something dominated by Anglophones, both writers and audience. (The number of English-language translations of European works of science fiction roughly quadrupled from 1870 to 1880). The increased output led to an increase in coverage by reviewers, but also by critics.”

For LonCon3 “Constructing Genre History”

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