Portal:Speculative fiction/Science fiction

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Science fiction is a genre of fiction. It 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). Exploring the consequences of such differences is the traditional purpose of science fiction, making it a "literature of ideas". Science fiction is largely based on writing rationally about alternative possibilities. The settings for science fiction are often contrary to known reality.

Following the Age of Reason and the development of modern science itself, Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels was one of the first true science fiction works, together with Voltaire's Micromégas and Kepler's Somnium. This latter work is considered by Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov to be the first science fiction story. 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.)

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.

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.

Selected science fiction work

Last and First Men: A Story of the Near and Far Future is a science fiction novel written in 1930 by the British author Olaf Stapledon. A work of unprecedented scale in the genre, it describes the history of humanity from the present onwards across two billion years and eighteen distinct human species, of which our own is the first and most primitive. Stapledon's conception of history is based on the Hegelian Dialectic, following a repetitive cycle with many varied civilizations rising from and descending back into savagery over millions of years, but it is also one of progress, as the later civilizations rise to far greater heights than the first. The book anticipates the science of genetic engineering, and is an early example of the fictional supermind; a consciousness composed of many telepathically-linked individuals.

A controversial part of the book depicts humans, in the far-off future, escaping the dying Earth and settling on Venus — in the process totally exterminating its native inhabitants, an intelligent marine species. Stapledon's book has been interpreted by some as condoning such interplanetary genocide as a justified act if necessary for racial survival, though a number of Stapledon's partisans denied that such was his intention, arguing instead that Stapledon was merely showing that although mankind had advanced in a number of ways in the future, at bottom it still possessed the same capacity for savagery as it has always had.

Science fiction topics

Creators Artists (list) · Authors · Editors
Media Animation · Anime and manga · Comics · Films (list) · Games (board · role-playing · video) · Literature (magazines · novels · poetry · stories) · Opera · Radio · Television (films · list · sitcoms) · Theatre
Subgenres Alternate history · Apocalyptic · Christian · Comedy · Cyberpunk (derivatives) · Dying Earth · Feminist · Hard · Human society · Libertarian · Military · New Weird · Planetary romance · Recursive · Social · Soft · Space opera · Sword and planet · Tech-noir · Western (Space)
Related genres Fantasy (Science fantasy) · Mystery · Horror · Slipstream · Speculative (Weird) · Superhero
Themes Artificial intelligence · Extraterrestrials (First contact) · Floating city · Lost World · Planets · Politics (Utopia/Dystopia · World government) · Religion (ideas) · Resizing · Sex (gender · homosexuality · reproduction) · Simulated realities/Virtual worlds · Space warfare (weapons) · Superpowers · Timeline (Alternate future · Future history · Hyperspace · Parallel universes · Slipstream · Time travel)
Subculture Fandom: By nationality · Conventions (list) · OrganizationsStudies: Awards · Definitions · History · Journals · New Wave
By Country Australia · Bangladesh · Canada · China · Croatia · Czech Republic · France · Japan · Norway · Poland · Romania · Russia/Soviet Union · Serbia

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