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

Professor Bernard Quatermass is a fictional character, originally created by the writer Nigel Kneale for BBC Television. Quatermass appeared in three influential BBC science fiction serials of the 1950s (The Quatermass Experiment, Quatermass II, and Quatermass and the Pit), and returned in a final serial for Thames Television in 1979 (Quatermass). A remake of the first serial appeared on BBC Four in 2005.

The character also appeared in films, on the radio and in print over a fifty-year period. Kneale picked the character's unusual surname from a London telephone directory, while the first name was in honour of the astronomer Bernard Lovell. Quatermass is an intelligent and highly moral British scientist, who continually finds himself confronting sinister alien forces that threaten to destroy humanity. In the initial three serials he is a pioneer of the British space programme, heading up the British Experimental Rocket Group.

The character of Quatermass has been described by BBC News Online as Britain's first television hero, and by The Independent newspaper as "A brilliantly conceived and finely crafted creation... [He] remained a modern 'Mr Standfast', the one fixed point in an increasingly dreadful and ever-shifting universe." In 2005, an article in The Daily Telegraph suggested that "You can see a line running through him and many other British heroes. He shares elements with both Sherlock Holmes and Ellen MacArthur."

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)
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