The Science Fiction
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It’s often said that Science Fiction is the literature of change. When a culture is undergoing a lot of changes due to scientific advances and technological, and developments expects to undergo more, it’s hardly surprising if stories about these changes become popular as a way of expressing people’s feelings (optimistic or otherwise) about change.
Note that the changes may be in our ability to control the world, or just in our understanding of it. For example, some “post-holocaust” stories, such as Wyndham’s The Chrysalids (also known as Rebirth), portray cultures that understand and control less of the world than we do; the scientific element consists of our understanding of their world, and of how it arouse out of our world.
Other stories offer future technologies that we can hope for based on present-day science, but haven’t developed yet, such as fusion-powered spaceships. Yet others go beyond this to dazzle us with future science that differs from what is now believed, but they retain some recognizable elements of the world we live in, so we can at least believe that the world depicted in the story might some day come to be.
In organizational or marketing contexts, science fiction can be synonymous with the broader definition of speculative fiction (term used as an inclusive descriptor covering a group of fiction genres that speculate about worlds that are unlike the real world in various important ways), encompassing creative works incorporating imaginative elements not found in contemporary reality; this includes fantasy, horror, and related genres. “… he principles of science fiction based on the fundamental principles of science: that the universe is understandable, and human reason can fathom the most intricate mysteries of existence, given time. Science fiction is a fundamentally optimistic literature.
We tend to see the human race not as failed angels, but as evolving apes, struggling toward godhood (Ben Bova, 1998). One way to analyze a work of fiction is to uncover the reasons the plot ( refers to the sequence of events in a story) is constructed in a certain way.
In a well-written piece of fiction, events do not occur randomly. They are arranged according to the author’s wishes. The typical plot structure contains elements of the following sequence of events: exposition, where the author provides needed context and background information ; rising action, where the author develops a series of crises; climax of the story, where the crisis is resolved in a certain way, followed by a period of falling action or denouement, where the final elements of the plot are untangled, and the story is concluded.
One such author who has experienced uncanny success at predicting what future years will be like was H. G. Wells (1866? 1946). As early as 1899 in When the Sleeper Awakes, Wells foresaw such technological advances as air conditioning, video recordings, automatic doors, portable television sets, aerial bombings, and war between armed aircraft. In the same work Wells made other predictions that as yet have not become reality.
Consider automatic clothes-making machines that can measure size and produce instantly; moving conveyor roadways; pleasure-cities which are designed to placate the masses; and super cities which encompass all of Earth’s population in groups numbering in the tens of millions. Are these predictions so unbelieveable that any one of us can deny their possibility? (Franco, A. ,1979). One of the famous science fiction authors was Hugo Gernsback form August 16, 1884 to Aug. 19, 1967.
Hugo was a Luxemborg American inventor, he was the publisher of the first Radio magazine in the world, Radio Craft, later Radio-Electronics, Amazing Stories, Sexology, and other magazines. He is married for three times to Rose Harvey 1906, Dorothy Kantrowitz in 1921, and Mary Hancher in 1951. He founded radio station WRNY and is involved in the first television broadcasts. His contributions to the genre as publisher were so significant that, along with H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, he is sometimes popularly called “The Father of Science Fiction”.
Hugo Gernsback also coined the word scientifiction, which we now know as Science Fiction. Despite his many colorful achievements, it is for his association with science fiction that Gernsback is generally remembered. Although only officially called the “Hugo” award since 1993, the Annual Science Fiction Achievement Award, created in the mid 1950s, had already been widely known as the “Hugo”, named after the man whose pulp magazines (and the many clones they spawned) served as the vehicle for countless science fiction notables.
However, Gernsback’s association with science fiction actually began long before the publication of Amazing Stories. In fact, many years earlier he had begun sneaking science fiction pieces into his popular science magazines – including his own “Ralph 124C41+”, a twelve-part serial billed as “A Romance of the Year 2660. ” Gernsback died in 1967 at the age of 83. In somewhat characteristic form he donated his body to science, specifically to the Cornell University Medical School. Leigh Brackett was one of the famous female science fiction author which was born in Los Angeles, California, on December 7, 1915.
She grew up in her grandfather’s house in the small beach community of Santa Monica by her own admission a “tomboy,” constantly at odds with her mother and maiden aunt (her father had died in the influenza epidemic of 1918). She spent her time either in vigorous outdoor activity or reading and dreaming of far lands and distant galaxies. Her mother forced her to attend an all-girls high school, and she developed an interest in the theatre, but early on decided she stood a better chance of becoming a professional writer than an actress.
Brackett’s grandfather supported her efforts at selling to top-of-the-line pulp magazines of the day (Argosy and Adventure), but she soon gave up trying to compete with the pros and gambled on Laurence D’Orsay and his agency-cum-writing-course, where her efforts fell into the hands of his reader Henry Kuttner. The rest, as they say, is history: Kuttner criticized her work, introduced her to the science fiction and fantasy literateurs of 1940s L. A. , and even got her an agent–his own, Julius Schwartz. Schwartz sold her first story in 1939 and her first novel, “No Good from a Corpse”, in 1943.
Shadow Over Mars (1944) was her first novel-length science fiction story, and though still somewhat rough-edged, marked the beginning of a new style, strongly influenced by the characterization of the 1940s detective story and film noir. Brackett’s heroes from this period are tough, two-fisted, semi-criminal, ill-fated adventurers. Shadow’s Rick Urquhart (reputedly modeled on Humphrey Bogart’s shadier film characters) is a ruthless, selfish space drifter, who just happens to be caught in a web of political intrigue that accidentally places the fate of Mars in his hands.
Brackett married fellow science fiction writer Edmond Hamilton in 1946, and they maintained houses in both Southern California and rural Ohio for the rest of their lives. She wrote many screenplays for Howard Hawks, and novels in every genre, most notably science fiction, but also in the Western genre (1963’s Follow the Free Wind won the Golden Spur for Best Western). She also found time to write for television, including one episode of the ill-fated Archer show, based on Ross Macdonald’s private eye character. Most of her science fiction characterized as space opera or planetary romance.
Almost all of her planetary romances take place within a common invented universe, the Leigh Brackett Solar System, which contains richly detailed fictional versions of the consensus Mars and Venus of science fiction in the 1930s–1950s. According to Leigh Mars appears as a marginally habitable desert world, populated by ancient, decadent, and mostly humanoid races; Venus as a primitive, wet jungle planet, occupied by vigorous, primitive tribes and reptilian monsters. Brackett’s Skaith combines elements of Brackett’s other worlds with fantasy elements.
Leigh Brackett’s last work was the screenplay for “The Empire Strikes Back”, and the film was dedicated to her after death. She died in Lancaster, California, on March 17, 1978. Some of famous, influential and controversial author of “hard” science fiction was Robert Anson Heinlein from July 7, 1907 to May 8, 1988. He often called as “the Dean of Science Fiction writers”. He sets a high standard for science and engineering plausibility that few have equaled, and also helped to raise the genre’s standards of literary quality.
He was the first writer to break the mainstream general magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post in the late 1940s with unvarnished science fiction. Heinlein was the first authors of best selling novel-length science fiction in the modern mass-market era. The major themes of Heinlein’s work were social: radical individualism, libertarianism, solipsism, religion, the relationship between physical and emotional love, and speculation about unorthodox family relationships. His iconoclastic approach to these themes led to wildly divergent perceptions of his works and attempts to place mutually contradictory labels on his work.
His 1959 novel Starship Troopers was excoriated by some as being fascist. His 1961 novel Stranger in a Strange Land, on the other hand, put him in the unexpected role of pied piper to the sexual revolution and counterculture and through this book he was credited with popularizing the notion of polyamory, or responsible nonmonogamy. The English language has absorbed several words from his fiction, including “grok”, meaning “to understand something so thoroughly that it becomes part of the observer. ” Heinlein won four Hugo Awards for his novels, awarded following the year of publication.
In addition, fifty years after publication, three of his works were awarded “ Retro Hugos” awards given retrospectively for years in which no Hugos had been awarded. He also won the first Grandmaster Award given by the Science Fiction Writers of America for lifetime achievement. At the time of his death in 1988, Robert Heinlein had published more than 60 novels, countless short stories and had been the guest of honor at the World Science Fiction Convention three times. He influenced thousands with his talents for writing, and made the sub-genre of speculative fiction what it is today.
He was the Admiral, the Beast, the Dean of Science Fiction, and the Man Who Knew How. Conclusion Science fiction shows what an extension of the science that is known today can do in application to everyday life. It is the idealism of science’s application, the “what if” scenarios that make its appeal distinctly separate from the normal branch of fiction. Some authors are trying to depict humanity at it’s best. Others are predicting that humanity will have to get worse before it gets better. Science fiction is based on truths, questions of reality, and questions of survival.
According to Anthony Franco, “Science Fiction has a high interest, it is easily readable and can be necessarily meaningful for today’s youth”. Action drama with clear plot lines and characterization makes science fiction literature accessible for us as a student. The great growth of Science Fiction film and its ensuing popularity provides a stepping stone for introduction to the more serious treatment it deserves in its literary form. More important, science fiction enables us to start thinking about what will happen for tomorrow or in the future and to be prepared to meet every challenge.