Timeline of science fiction

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This is a timeline of science fiction as a literary tradition. While the date of the start of science fiction is debated, this list includes a range of Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance-era precursors and proto-science fiction as well, as long as these examples include typical science fiction themes and topoi such as travel to outer space and encounter with alien life-forms.


2nd century[edit]

A battle scene from A True Story.
Year Event Historical events
  • A True Story was written by Lucian of Samosata, contains a number of SF elements, like travel in space, alien life forms, interplanetary colonization and war, artificial atmosphere, telescopes, and artificial life forms.
  • 106–117: Roman Empire at largest extent under Emperor Trajan after having conquered modern-day Romania, Iraq and Armenia.
  • 126: Hadrian completes the Pantheon in Rome.
  • 161: Marcus Aurelius becomes emperor of the Roman Empire. He is often ranked by historians as one of the greatest Roman emperors.
  • 180–181: Commodus becomes Roman Emperor.

10th century[edit]

In an illustration from The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, the Moon Princess flies back to her home on the Moon.
Year Event Historical events
  • One Thousand and One Nights has several proto-science fiction stories.[1] One example is "The Adventures of Bulukiya", where the protagonist Bulukiya travels across the cosmos to different worlds much larger than his own world.[2] In "Abu al-Husn and His Slave-Girl Tawaddud", the heroine Tawaddud tells of the mansions of the Moon, and the benevolent and sinister aspects of the planets.[3]
  • The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter is considered proto-science fiction.[1] In the story, an old man finds a beautiful baby girl. When she grew to be a young woman, she told her adoptive parents she was not of this world and must return to her people on the Moon.

13th century[edit]

Year Event Historical events
c. 1270

15th century[edit]

Year Event Historical events
1420
  • An anonymous French account of the exploits of Alexander the Great, Vraye ystoire du bon roy Alixandre (The True History of the Good King Alexander) has fanciful stories about him going underwater in a submarine and being carried aloft in a cage, carried by huge Griffins.

Some 15th century writers imitated the 14th century author Geoffrey Chaucer (1340 -1400), such as John Lydgate and Thomas Hoccleve. Notable poets include Stephen Hawes, Alexander Barclay, William Dunbar, Robert Henryson, and Gawin Douglas. John Skelton wrote ironic and satirical works which blended Medieval and Renaissance styles.

17th century[edit]

New Atlantis
Bacon 1628 New Atlantis title page wpreview.png
Title page of the 1628 edition of Bacon's New Atlantis
AuthorFrancis Bacon
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageLatin/English
GenreUtopian novel
Publication date
1624/1626
Media typePrint (hardback)
Pages46 pp
Kircher's magnetic clock.
Year Event Historical events
1619
1623
1627
1634
1638
1656
1666
1686

18th century[edit]

Year Event Historical events
1733
1741
1752
1765
1771
1780
  • The Passage from the North to the South Pole is published anonymously in France.[8]

19th century[edit]

The Island of Doctor Moreau
IslandOfDrMoreau.JPG
First edition cover
AuthorH. G. Wells
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
GenreScience fiction
PublisherHeinemann, Stone & Kimball
Publication date
1896
Media typePrint (hardcover)
Pages209 p.
Preceded byThe Wonderful Visit 
Followed byThe Wheels of Chance 
An alien invasion as featured in H. G. Wells' 1897 novel The War of the Worlds.
Year Event Historical events
1805
1814
1816
1818
1826
1827
1835
1839
1844
1848
1851
1859
  • Hermann Lang publishes The Air Battle: a Vision of the Future.[13]
1864
1865
1868
1870
1871
1872
1886
1887
1888
1889
1890
1894
1895
1896
1897
1898

1900s[edit]

Year Event Historical events
1900
1901
1902
1903
1905
1907
1909

1910s[edit]

Ralph 124C 41+
ModernElectrics1912-02.jpg
Serialized in Modern Electrics
AuthorHugo Gernsback
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
GenreScience fiction novel
Publication date
1911
Media typePrint (hardback & paperback)
Preceded bynone 
Followed bynone 
Year Event Historical events
1910
1911
1912
1913
1914
1915
1916
1917
1918
1919

1920s[edit]

The Master Mind of Mars
Amazing Stories Annual 1927.jpg
Cover of the pulp magazine Amazing Stories, featuring Master Mind of Mars
AuthorEdgar Rice Burroughs
Cover artistFrank R. Paul
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
SubjectBarsoom
GenreScience fiction
Preceded byThe Chessmen of Mars 
Followed byA Fighting Man of Mars 
The Maschinenmensch from the 1927 film Metropolis
Year Event Historical events
1920
1921
1922
1923
1924
1925
1926
1927
1928
1929

1930s[edit]

First issue of Astounding Stories of Super-Science, dated January 1930. The cover art is by Hans Waldemar Wessolowski.
Year Event Historical events
1930
1931
1932
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938
1939

1940s[edit]

Year Event Historical events
1940
1941
1942
1943
1944
1945
1946
  • ENIAC, the world's first electronic computer, is built.[29]
1947
1948
1949

1950s[edit]

Year Event Historical events
1950
1951
  • The Festival of Britain exhibition celebrates innovative British architecture, scientific discoveries, technology, and industrial design.[30]
1952
1953
1954
1955
1956
1957
  • Terra, a new series of science fiction publications, is launched in Germany.[31]
  • Galaxis is founded in Germany.[31]
1958
1959

1960s[edit]

Year Event Historical events
1960
1961
1962
  • Telstar broadcasts the first live transatlantic pictures.[33]
1963
1964
1965
1966
1967
1968
1969

1970s[edit]

Year Event Historical events
1970
1971
1972
  • President Richard Nixon visits China, an important step in formally normalizing relations between the United States and China.
  • Watergate scandal: Five men arrested for the burglary of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C.
1973
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1979

1980s[edit]

Year Event Historical events
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989

1990s[edit]

Year Event Historical events
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
  • Teenage students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold murder 13 other students and teachers at Columbine High School, sparking an international debate on gun control and bullying.
  • The world prepares for the possible effects of the Y2K bug in computers, which was feared to cause computers to become inoperable and wreak havoc. The problem isn't as large as theorized, preparations are successful, and disaster is averted.

2000s[edit]

Year Event Historical events
2000
2001
  • September 11: The United States is attacked by Al Qaeda using commandeered jet planes that were crashed into the World Trade Center.
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
  • A South Korean student shoots and kills 32 other students and professors in the Virginia Tech massacre before killing himself. It stands as the worst mass shooting in U.S. history until 2012 and spurs a series of debates on gun control and journalism ethics.
2008
  • Iron Man is released
2009

2010s[edit]

Year Event Historical events
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
  • U.S. Vice President Mike Pence orders NASA to fly Americans to the Moon within the next five years, using either government or private carriers.
  • The first image of a black hole is taken.

2020s[edit]

Year Event Historical events
2020

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  3. ^ Irwin, Robert (2003), The Arabian Nights: A Companion, Tauris Parke Palang-faacks, p. 190, ISBN 1-86064-983-1
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External links[edit]