Science fiction Western
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A science fiction Western is a work of fiction which has elements of science fiction in a Western setting. It is the inverse of the Space Western, which is set in outer space and contains Western themes.
A science fiction Western occurs in the past, or in a world resembling the past, in which modern or future technology exists. The anachronistic technology of these stories is present because scientific paradigms occurred earlier in history but are implemented via industrial elements present at that time, or because technology is brought from another time or place. The genre often overlaps with Steampunk.
The film serial The Phantom Empire has been cited as possibly the earliest science fiction Western primarily because it takes place on a dude ranch (with many of the props associated with conventional 19th century westerns) while showcasing technology not in existence during that period. Since then, science fiction Westerns have appeared in film, television, novels, comic books, and other media. Since the characteristic elements of science fiction can occur in any setting, science fiction lends itself to combination with other genres. In 1953, J. B. Priestley described the "Western" as one of the three types of science fiction.
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- Priestley, J. B. (December 5, 1953) "Thoughts in the Wilderness." New Statesman, p. 712. Cited in Michael A. Padlipsky (1960), "More Than Pulp(?): Science Fiction and the Problem of Literary Value", undergraduate thesis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. URL accessed on August 12, 2011
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