Far off planets. Technological advancements. Time travel. There are so many elements to science fiction literature; if we tried to list them all we’d be here all day. However, if sci-fi is your thing then do we have a treat for you. This month at Fully Booked we’re diving into all of these themes as well as all of the other exciting subject matter that science fiction literature has to offer. Oftentimes we read for a sense of escapism, and science fiction literature is such an interesting genre to explore in order to get that feeling. There may be tales of far off planets or alien species, but because this genre tends to have a scientific basis many of these stories can feel surprisingly grounded. Science fiction literature has a subgenre for everyone; let’s take a look at some of our favourites.
Science Fiction Literature: An Enduring History
Science fiction literature can trace its origins as far back as at least the 2nd century, when Lucian of Samosata wrote the novella A True Story. Samosata, a Syrian satirist, is the first writer on record to have taken his characters to planets off of Earth in his story, and had them encounter aliens along the way. Like many stories of its type, A True Story has elements of fantasy as well, which often seems to be the case with the two genres.
Next came the likes of One Thousand and One Nights (or Arabian Nights) – which incorporates several science fiction stories into its collection – and The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, a Japanese folktale incorporating elements of life on other planets. The genre evolved over the centuries, carving out its place in literary history. Even darker horror novels such as Frankenstein are considered to contain science fiction elements (the use of scientific methods to reanimate the dead). Jules Verne and Edgar Allan Poe delved into science fiction literature, but it was H.G. Wells who is credited with really shining a light on the genre. With genre defining stories like The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine under his belt, it’s easy to see why.
Edgar Rice Burroughs, best known for his creation of Tarzan, then created his character John Carter of Mars, a massively successful series (with an unfortunately mediocre attempt at a film adaptation in 2012). By the time Isaac Asimov began his Foundation series, science fiction literature was running at full speed.
There are too many influential titans of the genre to name them all, but you’ve more than likely read or at least stumbled across their stories at some point in time. Philip K. Dick (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), Anne McCaffrey (Drangonriders of Pern), Frank Herbert (Dune), Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451), the list goes on. So many fantastic stories, so little time to get through them all.
Science Fiction Literature: All the Space Filled Stories You’ll Need
Science fiction may seem like it’s all aliens and space travel, but in truth there are so many more intricate subgenres – enough to please this picky reader at any rate. You want a story about an apocalypse? Sci-fi has it in spades. Fascinated by the idea of a space opera? It’s got you covered. Cyberpunk, steampunk, solarpunk… basically all the punks that you could want.
This month we’ll be taking a look at all of the themes that science fiction literature explores, re-examining old favourites, and diving into new discoveries. No matter what your taste, you’ll be able to find recommendations to suit your TBR pile needs. We can’t wait to tackle some armchair space travel, and we hope you’re as excited for the ride as we are. Here’s to Spring and science fiction literature!