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Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more

or less plausible (or at least non-supernatural) content such as future
settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and
paranormal abilities. Exploring the consequences of scientific
innovations is one purpose of science fiction, making it a "literature of
ideas". [1]

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possible worlds or futures. [2] It is similar to, but differs from fantasy in
that, within the context of the story, its imaginary elements are largely
possible within scientifically established or scientifically postulated laws
of nature (though some elements in a story might still be pure
imaginative speculation).



Alternate history
Fantasy Fiction
Fantastic art
Fiction Magazines

Legendary creatures

A time setting in the future, in alternative timelines, or in a

historical past that contradicts known facts of history or the
archaeological record.

Quests & Artifacts

A spatial setting or scenes in outer space (e.g., spaceflight), on


other worlds, or on subterranean earth.[3]


Characters that include aliens, mutants, androids, or humanoid

Technology that is futuristic (e.g., ray guns, teleportation machines,
humanoid computers).[4]
Scientific principles that are new or that contradict known laws of
nature, for example time travel, wormholes, or faster-than-light
New and different political or social systems (e.g. dystopia, postscarcity, or a post-apocalyptic situation where organized society
has collapsed).[5]


Horror Fiction
Fiction Magazines
Science Fiction

Paranormal abilities such as mind control, telepathy, telekinesis,

and teleportation.
Contents [hide]
1 Definitions
2 History
2.1 The term "sci-fi"
2.2 Innovation



The settings for science fiction are often contrary to known reality, but
most science fiction relies on a considerable degree of suspension of
disbelief, which is facilitated in the reader's mind by potential scientific
explanations or solutions to various fictional elements. Science fiction
elements include:



Science fiction is largely based on writing rationally about alternative


Speculative Fiction
Speculative fiction Portal

3 Subgenres
3.1 Hard SF[27/02/2012 09:24:47]

Fiction Magazines

Science fiction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


3.2 Soft and social SF


3.3 Cyberpunk


3.4 Time travel


3.5 Alternate history


3.6 Military SF

3.7 Superhuman
3.8 Apocalyptic


3.9 Space opera


3.10 Space Western

Bahasa Indonesia

3.11 Other sub-genres


Internet Speculative Fiction
The Encyclopedia of Science

4 Related genres
4.1 Speculative fiction, fantasy, and horror
4.2 Fantasy
4.3 Horror fiction


4.4 Mystery fiction

4.5 Superhero fiction
5 Fandom and community
5.1 Awards


5.2 Conventions, clubs, and organizations

5.3 Fanzines and online fandom

5.4 Fan fiction

Bahasa Melayu

6 Science fiction studies

6.1 Science fiction as serious literature

Norsk (bokml)

7 Science fiction world-wide

7.1 Africa and African diaspora

Norsk (nynorsk)

7.2 Asia and the Middle East


7.3 Europe
7.3.1 Germany and Austria


7.3.2 France, other Francophone countries, and Qubec


7.4 Oceania


7.5 North America


7.6 Latin America

8 See also


9 Notes and references

9.1 Notes

Simple English

9.2 References
10 External links

/ Srpski
Srpskohrvatski /




For more details on this topic, see Definitions of science fiction.

Science fiction is difficult to define, as it includes a wide range of subgenres and themes. Author and
editor Damon Knight summed up the difficulty by stating that "science fiction is what we point to when
we say it",[6] a definition echoed by author Mark C. Glassy, who argues that the definition of science
fiction is like the definition of pornography: you don't know what it is, but you know it when you see
it. [7] Vladimir Nabokov argued that if we were rigorous with our definitions, Shakespeare's play The
Tempest would have to be termed science fiction. [8]


According to science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein, "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." [9] Rod Serling's definition is "fantasy is the impossible made[27/02/2012 09:24:47]

Science fiction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ting Vit

probable. Science Fiction is the improbable made possible."[10] Lester del Rey wrote, "Even the
devoted aficionadoor fanhas a hard time trying to explain what science fiction is", and that the
reason for there not being a "full satisfactory definition" is that "there are no easily delineated limits to
science fiction." [11]



For more details on this topic, see History of science fiction.

As a means of understanding the world through speculation and storytelling, science fiction has
antecedents back to mythology, though precursors to science fiction as literature can be seen in
Lucian's True History in the 2nd century, [12][13][14][15][16] some of the Arabian Nights tales, [17][18]
The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter in the 10th century, [18] Ibn al-Nafis' Theologus Autodidactus in the
13th century, [19] and Jules Verne's A Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Twenty Thousand
Leagues Under the Sea in the 19th century.
A product of the budding Age of Reason and the development of modern science itself, Jonathan
Swift's Gulliver's Travels[20] was one of the first true science fantasy works, together with Voltaire's
Micromgas (1752) and Johannes Kepler's Somnium (16201630). [21] Isaac Asimov and Carl Sagan
consider the latter work the first science fiction story.[22][23] It depicts a journey to the Moon and how
the Earth's motion is seen from there. Another example is Ludvig Holberg's novel Nicolai Klimii iter
subterraneum, 1741. (Translated to Danish by Hans Hagerup in 1742 as Niels Klims underjordiske
Rejse.) (Eng. Niels Klim's Underground Travels.) Brian Aldiss has argued that Mary Shelley's
Frankenstein (1818) was the first work of science fiction. [24]
Following the 18th century development of the novel as a literary form, in the early 19th century,
Mary Shelley's books Frankenstein and The Last Man helped define the form of the science fiction
novel;[25] later Edgar Allan Poe wrote a story about a flight to the moon. [26] More examples
appeared throughout the 19th century.
Then with the dawn of new technologies such as electricity, the
telegraph, and new forms of powered transportation, writers like Jules
Verne and H. G. Wells created a body of work that became popular
across broad cross-sections of society. [27] Wells' The War of the
Worlds describes an invasion of late Victorian England by Martians
using tripod fighting machines equipped with advanced weaponry. It is
a seminal depiction of an alien invasion of Earth.
In the late 19th century, the term "scientific romance" was used in
Britain to describe much of this fiction. This produced additional
offshoots, such as the 1884 novella Flatland: A Romance of Many
Dimensions by Edwin Abbott Abbott. The term would continue to be
used into the early 20th century for writers such as Olaf Stapledon.
H. G. Wells

In the early 20th century, pulp

magazines helped develop a new
generation of mainly American SF
writers, influenced by Hugo Gernsback,

the founder of Amazing Stories magazine.[28] In 1912 Edgar Rice

Burroughs published A Princess of Mars, the first of his three-decadelong series of Barsoom novels, situated on Mars and featuring John
Carter as the hero. The 1928 publication of Philip Nolan's original Buck
Rogers story, Armageddon 2419, in Amazing Stories was a landmark
event. This story led to comic strips featuring Buck Rogers (1929),
Brick Bradford (1933), and Flash Gordon (1934). The comic strips and
derivative movie serials greatly popularized science fiction. In the late
1930s, John W. Campbell became editor of Astounding Science
Fiction, and a critical mass of new writers emerged in New York City in
a group called the Futurians, including Isaac Asimov, Damon Knight,
Donald A. Wollheim, Frederik Pohl, James Blish, Judith Merril, and
others.[29] Other important writers during this period included E.E.[27/02/2012 09:24:47]

Jules Verne

Science fiction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(Doc) Smith, Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, Olaf Stapledon, A. E. van Vogt and Stanisaw
Lem. Campbell's tenure at Astounding is considered to be the beginning of the Golden Age of
science fiction, characterized by hard SF stories celebrating scientific achievement and progress. [28]
This lasted until postwar technological advances, new magazines like Galaxy under Pohl as editor,
and a new generation of writers began writing stories outside the Campbell mode.
In the 1950s, the Beat generation included speculative writers like William S. Burroughs. In the 1960s
and early 1970s, writers like Frank Herbert, Samuel R. Delany, Roger Zelazny, and Harlan Ellison
explored new trends, ideas, and writing styles, while a group of writers, mainly in Britain, became
known as the New Wave for their embrace of a high degree of experimentation, both in form and in
content, and a highbrow and self-consciously "literary" or artistic sensibility.[20] In the 1970s, writers
like Larry Niven and Poul Anderson began to redefine hard SF. [30] Ursula K. Le Guin and others
pioneered soft science fiction. [31]
In the 1980s, cyberpunk authors like William Gibson turned away from the optimism and support for
progress of traditional science fiction. [32] The Star Wars franchise helped spark a new interest in
space opera,[33] focusing more on story and character than on scientific accuracy. C. J. Cherryh's
detailed explorations of alien life and complex scientific challenges influenced a generation of
writers.[34] Emerging themes in the 1990s included environmental issues, the implications of the
global Internet and the expanding information universe, questions about biotechnology and
nanotechnology, as well as a post-Cold War interest in post-scarcity societies; Neal Stephenson's
The Diamond Age comprehensively explores these themes. Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan
novels brought the character-driven story back into prominence. [35] The television series Star Trek:
The Next Generation (1987) began a torrent of new SF shows, including three further Star Trek spinoff shows and Babylon 5.[36][37] Concern about the rapid pace of technological change crystallized
around the concept of the technological singularity, popularized by Vernor Vinge's novel Marooned in
Realtime and then taken up by other authors.[citation needed]

The term "sci-fi"


Forrest J Ackerman used the term sci-fi (analogous to the then-trendy "hi-fi") at UCLA in 1954. [38]
As science fiction entered popular culture, writers and fans active in the field came to associate the
term with low-budget, low-tech "B-movies" and with low-quality pulp science fiction. [39][40][41] By
the 1970s, critics within the field such as Terry Carr and Damon Knight were using sci-fi to
distinguish hack-work from serious science fiction, [42] and around 1978, Susan Wood and others
introduced the pronunciation "skiffy". Peter Nicholls writes that "SF" (or "sf") is "the preferred
abbreviation within the community of sf writers and readers". [43] David Langford's monthly fanzine
Ansible includes a regular section "As Others See Us" which offers numerous examples of "sci-fi"
being used in a pejorative sense by people outside the genre.[44] The abbreviation SF (or sf) is
commonly used instead of "sci-fi".



While SF has provided criticism of developing and future technologies, it also produces innovation
and new technology. The discussion of this topic has occurred more in literary and sociological than
in scientific forums. Cinema and media theorist Vivian Sobchack examines the dialogue between
science fiction film and the technological imagination. Technology impacts artists and how they
portray their fictionalized subjects, but the fictional world gives back to science by broadening
imagination. While more prevalent in the beginning years of science fiction with writers like Arthur C.
Clarke, new authors still find ways to make the currently impossible technologies seem closer to being
realized. [45]



For more details on this topic, see Science fiction genre.

A categorization of science fiction into various subgenres can be problematic, because these
subcategories are not simple pigeonholes. Some works may overlap two or more commonly defined
genres, whereas others are beyond the generic boundaries, either outside or between categories.[27/02/2012 09:24:47]

Science fiction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Moreover, the categories and genres used by mass markets and literary criticism differ considerably.
One example that straddles science fiction subgenres is Elizabeth Moon's Vatta's War series, which
has been described by many as military science fiction but also has elements of space opera.

Hard SF


Main article: Hard science fiction

Hard science fiction, or "hard SF", is characterized by rigorous attention to accurate detail in
quantitative sciences, especially physics, astrophysics, and chemistry, or on accurately depicting
worlds that more advanced technology may make possible. Many accurate predictions of the future
come from the hard science fiction subgenre, but numerous inaccurate predictions have emerged as
well. [citation needed] Some hard SF authors have distinguished themselves as working scientists,
including Gregory Benford, Geoffrey A. Landis and David Brin,[46][47] while mathematician authors
include Rudy Rucker and Vernor Vinge. Other noteworthy hard SF authors include Isaac Asimov,
Arthur C. Clarke, Hal Clement, Greg Bear, Larry Niven, Robert J. Sawyer, Stephen Baxter, Alastair
Reynolds, Charles Sheffield, Ben Bova, Kim Stanley Robinson and Greg Egan.

Soft and social SF


Main article: Soft science fiction

The description "soft" science fiction may describe works based on social sciences such as
psychology, economics, political science, sociology, and anthropology. Noteworthy writers in this
category include Ursula K. Le Guin and Philip K. Dick. [28][48] The term can describe stories focused
primarily on character and emotion; SFWA Grand Master Ray Bradbury is an acknowledged master
of this art.[49] The Soviet Union produced a quantity of social science fiction, including works by the
Strugatsky brothers, Kir Bulychov, Yevgeny Zamyatin and Ivan Yefremov. [50][51] Some writers blur
the boundary between hard and soft science fiction. [citation needed]
Related to Social SF and Soft SF are the speculative fiction branches of utopian or dystopian stories;
George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and Margaret Atwood's
The Handmaid's Tale, are examples. Satirical novels with fantastic settings such as Gulliver's Travels
by Jonathan Swift may be considered speculative fiction.



Main article: Cyberpunk

The cyberpunk genre emerged in the early 1980s; combining cybernetics and punk, [52] the term was
coined by author Bruce Bethke for his 1980 short story "Cyberpunk".[53] The time frame is usually
near-future and the settings are often dystopian in nature and characterized by misery. Common
themes in cyberpunk include advances in information technology and especially the Internet, visually
abstracted as cyberspace, artificial intelligence and prosthetics and post-democratic societal control
where corporations have more influence than governments. Nihilism, post-modernism, and film noir
techniques are common elements, and the protagonists may be disaffected or reluctant anti-heroes.
Noteworthy authors in this genre are William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Neal Stephenson, and Pat
Cadigan. James O'Ehley has called the 1982 film Blade Runner a definitive example of the
cyberpunk visual style. [54]

Time travel


Time travel stories have antecedents in the 18th and 19th centuries. The first major time travel novel
was Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. The most famous is H. G. Wells's
1895 novel The Time Machine, which uses a vehicle that allows an operator to travel purposefully
and selectively, while Twain's time traveler is struck in the head. The term "time machine", coined by
Wells, is now universally used to refer to such a vehicle. Stories of this type are complicated by
logical problems such as the grandfather paradox.[55] Time travel continues to be a popular subject
in modern science fiction, in print, movies, and television such as the BBC television series Doctor

Alternate history[27/02/2012 09:24:47]


Science fiction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Main article: Alternate history

Alternate (or alternative) history stories are based on the premise that historical events might have
turned out differently. These stories may use time travel to change the past, or may simply set a
story in a universe with a different history from our own. Classics in the genre include Bring the
Jubilee by Ward Moore, in which the South wins the American Civil War, and The Man in the High
Castle by Philip K. Dick, in which Germany and Japan win World War II. The Sidewise Award
acknowledges the best works in this subgenre; the name is taken from Murray Leinster's 1934 story
"Sidewise in Time." Harry Turtledove is one of the most prominent authors in the subgenre and is
sometimes called the "master of alternate history". [56][57]

Military SF


Main article: Military science fiction

Military science fiction is set in the context of conflict between national, interplanetary, or interstellar
armed forces; the primary viewpoint characters are usually soldiers. Stories include detail about
military technology, procedure, ritual, and history; military stories may use parallels with historical
conflicts. Heinlein's Starship Troopers is an early example, along with the Dorsai novels of Gordon
Dickson. Joe Haldeman's The Forever War is a critique of the genre, a Vietnam-era response to the
World War IIstyle stories of earlier authors.[58] Prominent military SF authors include John Ringo,
David Drake, David Weber, and S. M. Stirling. The publishing company Baen Books is known for
cultivating military science fiction authors.[59]



Superhuman stories deal with the emergence of humans who have abilities beyond the norm. This
can stem either from natural causes such as in Olaf Stapledon's novel Odd John, and Theodore
Sturgeon's More Than Human, or be the result of intentional augmentation such as in A.E. van
Vogt's novel Slan. These stories usually focus on the alienation that these beings feel as well as
society's reaction to them. These stories have played a role in the real life discussion of human
enhancement. Frederik Pohl's Man Plus also belongs to this category.



Main article: Apocalyptic fiction

Apocalyptic fiction is concerned with the end of civilization through war (On the Beach), pandemic
(The Last Man), astronomic impact (When Worlds Collide), ecological disaster (The Wind from
Nowhere), or some other general disaster or with a world or civilization after such a disaster. Typical
of the genre are George R. Stewart's novel Earth Abides and Pat Frank's novel Alas, Babylon.
Apocalyptic fiction generally concerns the disaster itself and the direct aftermath, while postapocalyptic can deal with anything from the near aftermath (as in Cormac McCarthy's The Road) to
375 years in the future (as in By The Waters of Babylon) to hundreds or thousands of years in the
future, as in Russell Hoban's novel Riddley Walker and Walter M. Miller, Jr.'s A Canticle for

Space opera


Main article: Space opera

Space opera is adventure science fiction set in outer space or on distant planets, where the
emphasis is on action rather than either science or characterization. The conflict is heroic, and
typically on a large scale.
Space opera is sometimes used pejoratively, to describe improbable plots, absurd science, and
cardboard characters. But it is also used nostalgically, and modern space opera may be an attempt
to recapture the sense of wonder of the golden age of science fiction. The pioneer of this subgenre is
generally recognized to be Edward E. (Doc) Smith, with his Skylark and Lensman series. The Star
Trek television series franchise is often described as space opera that encourages this sense of
wonder, in that most of the scripts are generally about peaceful space exploration and examinations
of cultural differences rather than about conflict between civilizations. Alastair Reynolds's Revelation
Space series, Peter F. Hamilton's Void, Night's Dawn and Pandora's Star series, and Vernor Vinge's
A Fire Upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky are newer examples of this genre.[27/02/2012 09:24:47]

Science fiction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Space Western


Main article: Space western

Space Western could be considered a sub-genre of space opera that transposes themes of the
American Western books and film to a backdrop of futuristic space frontiers. These stories typically
involve "frontier" colony worlds (colonies that have only recently been terraformed and/or settled)
serving as stand-ins for the backdrop of lawlessness and economic expansion that were predominant
in the American west. Examples include the Sean Connery film Outland, the Firefly television series,
and the film sequel Serenity by Joss Whedon, as well as the manga and anime series Trigun, Outlaw
Star, and Cowboy Bebop.

Other sub-genres


This section requires expansion.

Anthropological science fiction is a sub-genre that absorbs and discusses anthropology and the
study of human kind. Examples include Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer, and Neanderthal by John
Biopunk focuses on biotechnology and subversives.
Comic science fiction is a sub-genre that exploits the genre's conventions for comic effect.
Feminist science fiction poses questions about social issues such as how society constructs
gender roles, the role reproduction plays in defining gender and the unequal political and personal
power of men and women. Some of the most notable feminist science fiction 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 inequalities are
intensified, thus asserting a need for feminist work to continue.[60] Joanna Russ's work, and some
of Ursula Le Guin's work can be thus categorised.
Science fiction poetry is an overlooked and under-discussed sub-category of science fiction. As
Seo-Young Chu remarks in her 2011 book Do Metaphors Dream of Literal Sleep? A ScienceFictional Theory of Representation, science fiction is not often (enough) thought of as a genre
related to lyric poetry. But as Chu points out, there are plenty of examples of science fiction poetry
and verse by writers including Diane Ackerman, Emily Dickinson, Suzette Haden Elgin (who
founded the Science Fiction Poetry Association and authored The Science Fiction Poetry
Handbook), Ruth Fainlight, Robert Frazier, Cathy Park Hong, Andrew Joron, and Frederick
Turner, among many others. Chu also points out that lyricism is an overlooked yet overwhelming
presence in science fiction novels, stories, and films. [61]
Steampunk is based on the idea of futuristic technology existing in the past, usually the 19th
century, and often set in Victorian era Englandbut with prominent elements of either science
fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H.G.
Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer occurring at an
earlier date. Popular examples include The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce
Sterling, as well as the Girl Genius series by Phil and Kaja Foglio, although seeds of the genre
may be seen in certain works of Michael Moorcock, Philip Jose Farmer and Steve Stiles, and in
such games as Space 1889 and Marcus Rowland's Forgotten Futures. Machines are most often
powered by steam in this genre (hence the name).

Related genres


Speculative fiction, fantasy, and horror


For more details on this topic, see Speculative fiction.

The broader category of speculative fiction[62] includes science fiction, fantasy, alternate histories
(which may have no particular scientific or futuristic component), and even literary stories that contain[27/02/2012 09:24:47]

Science fiction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

fantastic elements, such as the work of Jorge Luis Borges or John Barth. For some editors, magic
realism is considered to be within the broad definition of speculative fiction. [63]



Main article: Fantasy

Fantasy is closely associated with science fiction, and many writers have worked in both genres,
while writers such as Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. LeGuin, and Marion Zimmer Bradley have written
works that appear to blur the boundary between the two related genres. [64] The authors' professional
organization is called the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).[65] SF
conventions routinely have programming on fantasy topics, [66][67][68] and fantasy authors such as J.
K. Rowling have won the highest honor within the science fiction field, the Hugo Award.[69]
In general, science fiction differs from fantasy in that the former concerns things that might someday
be possible or that at least embody the pretense of realism. Supernaturalism, usually absent in
science fiction, is the distinctive characteristic of fantasy literature. A dictionary definition referring to
fantasy literature is "fiction characterized by highly fanciful or supernatural elements." [70] Examples
of fantasy supernaturalism include magic (spells, harm to opponents), magical places (Narnia, Oz,
Middle Earth, Hogwarts), supernatural creatures (witches, vampires, orcs, trolls), supernatural
transportation (flying broomsticks, ruby slippers, windows between worlds), and shapeshifting (beast
into man, man into wolf or bear, lion into sheep). Such things are basic themes in fantasy.[71] Literary
critic Fredric Jameson has characterized the difference between the two genres by describing
science fiction as turning "on a formal framework determined by concepts of the mode of production
rather than those of religion" - that is, science fiction texts are bound by an inner logic based more on
historical materialism than on magic or the forces of good and evil. [72] Some narratives are described
as being essentially science fiction but "with fantasy elements". The term "science fantasy" is
sometimes used to describe such material.[73]

Horror fiction


Main article: Horror fiction

Horror fiction is the literature of the unnatural and supernatural,
with the aim of unsettling or frightening the reader, sometimes
with graphic violence. Historically it has also been known as weird
fiction. Although horror is not per se a branch of science fiction,
many works of horror literature incorporates science fictional
elements. One of the defining classical works of horror, Mary
Shelley's novel Frankenstein, is the first fully realized work of
science fiction, where the manufacture of the monster is given a
rigorous science-fictional grounding. The works of Edgar Allan
Poe also helped define both the science fiction and the horror
genres. [74] Today horror is one of the most popular categories of
films.[75] Horror is often mistakenly categorized as science fiction
at the point of distribution by libraries, video rental outlets, etc. For
example, Syfy (distributed via cable and satellite television in the
United States) currently devotes most its air time to horror films

Frankenstein (1931) film poster

with very few science fiction titles. [citation needed]

Mystery fiction


Main article: Mystery fiction

Works in which science and technology are a dominant theme, but based on current reality, may be
considered mainstream fiction. Much of the thriller genre would be included, such as the novels of
Tom Clancy or Michael Crichton, or the James Bond films. [76] Modernist works from writers like Kurt
Vonnegut, Philip K. Dick, and Stanisaw Lem have focused on speculative or existential perspectives
on contemporary reality and are on the borderline between SF and the mainstream. [77] According to
Robert J. Sawyer, "Science fiction and mystery have a great deal in common. Both prize the[27/02/2012 09:24:47]

Science fiction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

intellectual process of puzzle solving, and both require stories to be plausible and hinge on the way
things really do work."[78] Isaac Asimov, Walter Mosley, and other writers incorporate mystery
elements in their science fiction, and vice versa. [citation needed]

Superhero fiction


Main article: Superhero fiction

Superhero fiction is a genre characterized by beings with much higher than usual capability and
prowess, generally with a desire or need to help the citizens of their chosen country or world by
using his or her powers to defeat natural or superpowered threats. Many superhero fiction characters
involve themselves (either intentionally or accidentally) with science fiction and fact, including
advanced technologies, alien worlds, time travel, and interdimensional travel; but the standards of
scientific plausibility are lower than with actual science fiction. Authors of this genre include Stan Lee
(co-creator of Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and the Hulk); Marv Wolfman, the creator
of Blade for Marvel Comics, and The New Teen Titans for DC Comics; Dean Wesley Smith
(Smallville, Spider-Man, and X-Men novels) and Superman writers Roger Stern and Elliot S! Maggin.

Fandom and community


For more details on this topic, see Science fiction fandom.

Science fiction fandom is the "community of the literature of ideas... the culture in which new ideas
emerge and grow before being released into society at large". [79] Members of this community, "fans",
are in contact with each other at conventions or clubs, through print or online fanzines, or on the
Internet using web sites, mailing lists, and other resources.
SF fandom emerged from the letters column in Amazing Stories magazine. Soon fans began writing
letters to each other, and then grouping their comments together in informal publications that became
known as fanzines. [80] 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.[81] Conventions, clubs, and fanzines were the dominant form of fan activity, or "fanac", for
decades, until the Internet facilitated communication among a much larger population of interested



For more details on this topic, see List of science fiction awards.
Among the most respected awards for science fiction are the Hugo Award, presented by the World
Science Fiction Society at Worldcon; the Nebula Award, presented by SFWA and voted on by the
community of authors; and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for short fiction. One notable award for science fiction films
is the Saturn Award. It is presented annually by The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and
Horror Films.
There are national awards, like Canada's Aurora Award, regional awards, like the Endeavour Award
presented at Orycon for works from the Pacific Northwest, special interest or subgenre awards like
the Chesley Award for art or the World Fantasy Award for fantasy. Magazines may organize reader
polls, notably the Locus Award.

Conventions, clubs, and organizations

For more details on this topic, see Science fiction conventions.
Conventions (in fandom, shortened as "cons"),
are held in cities around the world, catering to a
local, regional, national, or international
membership. General-interest conventions cover
all aspects of science fiction, while others focus
on a particular interest like media fandom, filking,
etc. Most are organized by volunteers in nonprofit groups, though most media-oriented events
are organized by commercial promoters. The[27/02/2012 09:24:47]


Science fiction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

convention's activities are called the "program",

which may include panel discussions, readings,
autograph sessions, costume masquerades, and
other events. Activities that occur throughout the
convention are not part of the program; these

Pamela Dean reading at Minicon

commonly include a dealer's room, art show, and hospitality lounge (or "con suites"). [82]
Conventions may host award ceremonies; Worldcons present the Hugo Awards each year. SF
societies, referred to as "clubs" except in formal contexts, form a year-round base of activities for
science fiction fans. They may be associated with an ongoing science fiction convention, or have
regular club meetings, or both. Most groups meet in libraries, schools and universities, community
centers, pubs or restaurants, or the homes of individual members. Long-established groups like the
New England Science Fiction Association and the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society have
clubhouses for meetings and storage of convention supplies and research materials. [83] The Science
Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) was founded by Damon Knight in 1965 as a nonprofit organization to serve the community of professional science fiction authors,[65] 24 years after
his essay "Unite or Fie!" had led to the organization of the National Fantasy Fan Federation. Fandom
has helped incubate related groups, including media fandom,[84] the Society for Creative
Anachronism, [85] gaming,[86] filking, and furry fandom.[87]

Fanzines and online fandom


For more details on this topic, see Science fiction fanzine.

The first science fiction fanzine, The Comet, was published in 1930. [88] Fanzine printing methods
have changed over the decades, from the hectograph, the mimeograph, and the ditto machine, to
modern photocopying. Distribution volumes rarely justify the cost of commercial printing. Modern
fanzines are printed on computer printers or at local copy shops, or they may only be sent as email.
The best known fanzine (or "'zine") today is Ansible, edited by David Langford, winner of numerous
Hugo awards. Other fanzines to win awards in recent years include File 770, Mimosa, and Plokta.[89]
Artists working for fanzines have risen to prominence in the field, including Brad W. Foster, Teddy
Harvia, and Joe Mayhew; the Hugos include a category for Best Fan Artists.[89] The earliest
organized fandom online was the SF Lovers community, originally a mailing list in the late 1970s
with a text archive file that was updated regularly. [90] In the 1980s, Usenet groups greatly expanded
the circle of fans 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 literally millions of web
sites devoted to science fiction and related genres for all media. [83] Most such sites are small,
ephemeral, and/or very narrowly focused, though sites like SF Site offer a broad range of references
and reviews about science fiction.

Fan fiction


For more details on this topic, see Fan fiction.

Fan fiction, known to aficionados as "fanfic", is non-commercial fiction created by fans in the setting
of an established book, film, video game, or television series. [91] This modern meaning of the term
should not be confused with the traditional (pre-1970s) meaning of "fan fiction" within the community
of fandom, where the term meant original or parody fiction written by fans and published in fanzines,
often with members of fandom as characters therein ("faan fiction"). Examples of this would include
the Goon Defective Agency stories, written starting in 1956 by Irish fan John Berry and published in
his and Arthur Thomson's fanzine Retribution. In the last few years, sites have appeared such as
Orion's Arm and Galaxiki, which encourage collaborative development of science fiction universes. In[27/02/2012 09:24:47]

Science fiction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

some cases, the copyright owners of the books, films, or television series have instructed their
lawyers to issue "cease and desist" letters to fans.

Science fiction studies


For more details on this topic, see Science fiction studies.

The study of science fiction, or science fiction studies, is the critical assessment, interpretation, and
discussion of science fiction literature, film, new media, fandom, and fan fiction. Science fiction
scholars take science fiction as an object of study in order to better understand it and its relationship
to science, technology, politics, and culture-at-large. Science fiction studies has a long history dating
back to 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 (1959), Foundation - The
International Review of Science Fiction (1972), and Science Fiction Studies (1973), and the
establishment of the oldest organizations devoted to the study of science fiction, the Science Fiction
Research Association and the Science Fiction Foundation, in 1970. The field has grown considerably
since the 1970s with the establishment of more journals, organizations, and conferences with ties to
the science fiction scholarship community, and science fiction degree-granting programs such as
those offered by the University of Liverpool and Kansas University.
The National Science Foundation has conducted surveys of "Public Attitudes and Public
Understanding" of "Science Fiction and Pseudoscience". [92] They write that "Interest in science fiction
may affect the way people think about or relate to study found a strong relationship
between preference for science fiction novels and support for the space program...The same study
also found that students who read science fiction are much more likely than other students to believe
that contacting extraterrestrial civilizations is both possible and desirable (Bainbridge 1982).[93]

Science fiction as serious literature


Mary Shelley wrote a number of science fiction novels including Frankenstein, and is treated as a
major Romantic writer. [94] Many science fiction works have received widespread critical acclaim
including Childhood's End and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (the inspiration for the movie
Blade Runner). A number of respected writers of mainstream literature have written science fiction,
including Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, George Orwells Nineteen Eighty-Four, Anthony Burgess'
A Clockwork Orange and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. Nobel Laureate Doris Lessing
wrote a series of SF novels, Canopus in Argos, and nearly all of Kurt Vonnegut's works contain
science fiction premises or themes.
The scholar Tom Shippey asks a perennial question of science fiction: "What is its relationship to
fantasy fiction, is its readership still dominated by male adolescents, is it a taste which will appeal to
the mature but non-eccentric literary mind?"[95] In her much reprinted essay "Science Fiction and
Mrs Brown," [96] the science fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin has approached an answer by first citing
the essay written by the English author Virginia Woolf entitled "Mr Bennett and Mrs Brown" in which
she states:
I believe that all novels, deal with character, and that it is to express character not
to preach doctrines, sing songs, or celebrate the glories of the British Empire, 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.
Le Guin argues that these criteria may be successfully applied to works of science fiction and so
answers in the affirmative her rhetorical question posed at the beginning of her essay: "Can a
science fiction writer write a novel?"
Tom Shippey[95] in his essay does not dispute this answer but identifies and discusses the essential
differences that exists between a science fiction novel and one written outside the field. To this end,
he compares George Orwell's Coming Up for Air with Frederik Pohl and C.M.Kornbluth's The Space
Merchants and concludes that the basic building block and distinguishing feature of a science fiction
novel is the presence of the novum, a term Darko Suvin adapts from Ernst Bloch and defines as "a
discrete piece of information recognizable as not-true, but also as not-unlike-true, not-flatly- (and in[27/02/2012 09:24:47]

Science fiction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

the current state of knowledge) impossible".[97]

In science fiction the style of writing is often relatively clear and straightforward compared to classical
literature. Orson Scott Card, an author of both science fiction and non-SF fiction, has postulated that
in science fiction the message and intellectual significance of the work is contained within the story
itself and, therefore, there need not be stylistic gimmicks or literary games; but that many writers and
critics confuse clarity of language with lack of artistic merit. In Card's words:
...a great many writers and critics have based their entire careers on the premise that
anything that the general public can understand without mediation is worthless drivel.
[...] If everybody came to agree that stories should be told this clearly, the professors of
literature would be out of job, and the writers of obscure, encoded fiction would be, not
honored, but pitied for their impenetrability." [98]
Science fiction author and physicist Gregory Benford has declared that: "SF is perhaps the defining
genre of the twentieth century, although its conquering armies are still camped outside the Rome of
the literary citadels." [99] This sense of exclusion was articulated by Jonathan Lethem in an essay
published in the Village Voice entitled "Close Encounters: The Squandered Promise of Science
Fiction." [100] Lethem suggests that the point in 1973 when Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow
was nominated for the Nebula Award, and was passed over in favor of Arthur C. 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." Among the responses to Lethem was one from the editor of
the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction who asked: "When is it [the SF genre] ever going to
realize it can't win the game of trying to impress the mainstream?"[101] On this point the journalist
and author David Barnett has remarked: [102]
The ongoing, endless war between "literary" fiction and "genre" fiction has well-defined
lines in the sand. Genre's foot soldiers think that literary fiction is a collection of
meaningless but prettily drawn pictures of the human condition. The literary guard
consider genre fiction to be crass, commercial, whizz-bang potboilers. Or so it goes.
Barnett, in an earlier essay had pointed to a new development in this "endless war": [103]
What do novels about a journey across post-apocalyptic America, a clone waitress
rebelling against a future society, a world-girdling pipe of special gas keeping mutant
creatures at bay, a plan to rid a colonizable new world of dinosaurs, and genetic
engineering in a collapsed civilization have in common?
They are all most definitely not science fiction.
Literary readers will probably recognise The Road by Cormac McCarthy, one of the
sections of Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway,
The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson and Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood from
their descriptions above. All of these novels use the tropes of what most people
recognize as science fiction, but their authors or publishers have taken great pains to
ensure that they are not categorized as such.

Science fiction world-wide


Although perhaps most developed as a genre and community in the United States, Canada, and the
United Kingdom, Science Fiction is a worldwide phenomenon. Organisations devoted to promotion
and even translation in particular countries are commonplace, as are country- or language-specific
genre awards.

Africa and African diaspora


Masimba Musodza, a Zimbabwean author, published MunaHacha Maive Nei? the first science-fiction
novel in the Shona language, [104] which also holds the distinction of being the first novel in the
Shona language to appear as an ebook first before it came out in print. In South Africa, a movie titled
District 9 came out in 2009, an apartheid allegory featuring extraterrestrial life forms, produced by
Peter Jackson.[27/02/2012 09:24:47]

Science fiction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Asia and the Middle East


Main articles: Bengali science fiction, Science fiction in China, and Japanese science fiction
Indian science fiction, defined loosely as science fiction by writers of Indian descent, began with the
English-language publication of Kylas Chundar Dutt's A Journal of Forty-Eight Hours in the Year 1945
in the Calcutta Literary Gazette (June 6, 1835). Since this story was intended as a political polemic,
credit for the first science fiction story is often given to later Bengali authors such as Jagadananda
Roy, Hemlal Dutta and the polymath Jagadish Chandra Bose (see Bengali science fiction). Similar
traditions exist in Hindi, Marathi, Tamil and English. [105] In English, the modern era of Indian
speculative fiction began with the works of authors such as Samit Basu, Payal Dhar, Vandana Singh
and Anil Menon. Works such as Amitav Ghosh's The Calcutta Chromosome and Salman Rushdie's
Grimus and Boman Desai's The Memory of Elephants are generally classified as magic realist works
but make essential use of SF tropes and techniques.
Modern science fiction in China mainly depends on the magazine Science Fiction World. Many
famous works were published in installments in it originally, including the most successful fiction
Three Body, written by Liu Cixin.
Chalomot Be'aspamia is an Israeli magazine of short science fiction and fantasy stories. The
Prophecies Of Karma, published in 2011, is advertised as the first work of science fiction by an
Arabic author, the Libanese writer Nael Gharzeddine.



Main articles: Science fiction in Croatia, Czech science

fiction and fantasy, French science fiction, Norwegian
science fiction, Science fiction in Poland, Romanian
science fiction, Science fiction in Russia, Science fiction
in Serbia, and Spanish science fiction

Germany and Austria


Current well-known SF authors from Germany are five-time

Kurd-Lawitz-Award winner Andreas Eschbach, whose
books The Carpet Makers and Eine Billion Dollar are big
successes, and Frank Schtzing, who in his book The
Swarm mixes elements of the science thriller with SF
elements to an apocalyptic scenario. The most prominent
German-speaking author, according to Die Zeit, is Austrian
Herbert W. Franke.

Soviet stamp, part of a 1967 series

depicting science fiction images. The
caption runs "On the moon. Space science
fiction", Russian pronunciation:

A well known science fiction book series in German is

Perry Rhodan, which started in 1961. Having sold over one billion copies (in pulp format), it claims to
be the most successful science fiction book series ever written worldwide. [106]

France, other Francophone countries, and Qubec


Jules Verne is a 19th French novelist known for his pioneering science fiction works (Twenty
Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, A Journey to the Center of the Earth, From the Earth to the
Moon ).
A particular trend in French literature of the 20th century has consisted of notorious French authors
releasing science fiction works alongside their more classical production, and through the same
channels, refusing to endorse the science-fiction label, probably out of a mix of snobbishness and
chauvinism (science-fiction being considered by most academics as an inferior genre from America).
Among these lie famous novels and short stories by Ren Barjavel and Robert Merle, for
example.[citation needed] The genre has long been called "anticipation".
There is, nevertheless, a dedicated science-fiction scene in French literature: see main article.
In Belgian and French movies, science-fiction is represented, but not nearly as much as drama,
comedy, or historical film. In Belgian and French comic books, on the other hand, science-fiction is,
among other things, a well established (and often pessimistic) genre.[citation needed][27/02/2012 09:24:47]

Science fiction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In the case of Canada's Qubec, lisabeth Vonarburg and other authors developed a related tradition
of French-Canadian SF. The Prix Boreal was established in 1979 to honour Canadian science fiction
works in French. The Aurora Awards (briefly preceded by the Casper Award) were founded in 1980
to recognize and promote the best works of Canadian science fiction in both French and English.
Also, due to Canada's bilingualism and the US publishing almost exclusively in English, translation of
Science Fiction prose into French thrives and runs nearly parallel upon a book's publishing in the
original English. A sizeable market also exists within Qubec for European-written Francophone
science fiction literature.



Main article: Science fiction in Australia

Australia: David G. Hartwell noted that while there is perhaps "nothing essentially Australian about
Australian science-fiction", many Australian science-fiction (and fantasy and horror) writers are in fact
international English language writers, and their work is commonly published worldwide. This is
further explainable by the fact that the Australian inner market is small (with Australian population
being around 21 million), and sales abroad are crucial to most Australian writers.[107][108]

North America


Main article: Canadian science fiction

Latin America


Although there is still some controversy as to when science fiction began in Latin America, the
earliest works date from the late 19th century. All published in 1875, O Doutor Benignus by the
Brazilian Augusto Emlio Zaluar, El Maravilloso Viaje del Sr. Nic-Nac by the Argentinian Eduardo
Holmberg, and Historia de un Muerto by the Cuban Francisco Calcagno are three of the earliest
novels which appeared in the continent. [109]
Up to the 1960s, science fiction was the work of isolated writers who did not identify themselves with
the genre, but rather used its elements to criticize society, promote their own agendas or tap into the
public's interest in pseudo-sciences. It received a boost of respectability after mainstream authors
such as Horacio Quiroga and Jorge Luis Borges used its elements in their writings. This, in turn, led
to the permanent emergence of science fiction in the 1960s and mid 1970s, notably in Argentina,
Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Cuba. Magic realism enjoyed parallel growth in Latin America, with a
strong regional emphasis on using the form to comment on social issues, similar to social science
fiction and speculative fiction in the English world.
Economic turmoil and the suspicious eye of the dictatorial regimes in place reduced the genre's
dynamism for the following decade. In the mid-1980s, it became increasingly popular once more.
Although led by Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, Latin America now hosts dedicated communities and
writers with an increasing use of regional elements to set them apart from English-language sciencefiction. [110]

See also
Fantastic art
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 and fantasy artists
Non-Aristotelian logicuse in science fiction
Science fiction libraries and museums
Sense of wonder
Transhumanism (a school of thought profoundly inspired by SF)[27/02/2012 09:24:47]


Science fiction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Notes and references




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