Space Western is a subgenre of science fiction which uses the themes and tropes of Westerns within science fiction stories. Subtle influences may include exploration of new, lawless frontiers, while more overt influences may feature literal cowboys in outer space who use ray guns and ride robotic horses. Although popular, a strong backlash against perceived hack writing caused the genre to become a more-subtle influence until the 1980s, when it regained popularity. A further critical reappraisal occurred in the 2000s with Firefly. A space Western may emphasize space exploration as "the final frontier"; these Western themes may be explicit, such as cowboys in outer space, or they can be a more subtle influence in space opera. Gene Roddenberry described Star Trek: The Original Series as a space Western. Firefly and its cinematic follow-up Serenity literalized the Western aspects of the genre popularized by Star Trek: it used frontier towns and the styling of classic John Ford Westerns. Worlds that have been terraformed may be depicted as presenting similar challenges as that of a frontier settlement in a classic Western.
Six-shooters and horses may be replaced by ray rockets. Westerns influenced early science fiction pulp magazines. Writers would submit stories in both genres, science fiction magazines sometimes mimicked Western cover art to showcase parallels. In the 1930s, C. L. Moore created one of the first space Northwest Smith. Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon were early influences. After superhero comics declined in popularity in 1940s America, Western comics and horror comics replaced them; when horror comics became untenable with the Comics Code Authority in the mid-1950s, science fiction themes and space Westerns grew more popular. By the mid-1960s, classic Western films fell out of favor, Revisionist Westerns supplanted them. Science fiction, such as Lost in Space, Star Trek, presented a new frontier to be explored, films like Westworld rejuvenated Westerns by updating them with science fiction themes. Peter Hyams, director of Outland, said that studio heads in the 1980s were unwilling to finance a Western, so he made a space Western instead.
Space operas such as the Star Wars film series took strong cues from Westerns. These science fiction films and television series offered the themes and morals that Westerns did; this frontier view of the future is only one of many ways to look at space exploration, not one embraced by all science fiction writers. The Turkey City Lexicon, a document produced by the Turkey City science fiction writers' workshop, condemns the space Western as the "most pernicious" form of a pre-established background that avoids the necessity of creating a fresh world. Galaxy Science Fiction ran an advertisement on its back cover, "You'll never see it in Galaxy", which gave the beginnings of make-believe parallel Western and science fiction stories featuring a character named Bat Durston; such scathing attacks on the subgenre, along with further attacks on space operas, caused a perception that all space Westerns were by definition hack writing and not "true" science fiction. Although the underlying themes remained influential, this bias persisted until the 1980s, when the release of Outland and children's cartoons, such as Bravestarr and The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, repopularized explicit themes of cowboys in space.
In the 1990s, anime series, such as Cowboy Bebop, Outlaw Star, Trigun became prime examples of the genre. In the 2000s, Firefly won critical acclaim, further causing a critical reassessment of space Westerns. Games such as StarCraft and the Borderlands series have popularized the space Western theme. Pastiche Cross-genre Mecha anime Revisionist Western Space opera Space pirate Weird West A Fistful of Datas Solo: A Star Wars Story Abbott, Frontiers Past and Future: Science Fiction and the American West, University Press of Kansas, 2006. Katerberg, William H. Future West: Utopia and Apocalypse in Frontier Science Fiction, University Press of Kansas, 2008. Mogen, Wilderness Visions: The Western Theme in Science Fiction Literature, Borgo Press, 1993. Westfahl, Gary and Beyond: The Frontier Theme in Science Fiction, Greenwood Press, 2000. Gunn, James. "Teaching Science Fiction". Center for the Study of Science Fiction. University of Kansas. Retrieved 2006-01-15. Priestley, J. B. "Thoughts in the Wilderness."
New Statesman. SpaceWesterns.com
Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction in a futuristic setting that tends to focus on a "combination of lowlife and high tech" featuring advanced technological and scientific achievements, such as artificial intelligence and cybernetics, juxtaposed with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order. Much of cyberpunk is rooted in the New Wave science fiction movement of the 1960s and 1970s, when writers like Philip K. Dick, Roger Zelazny, J. G. Ballard, Philip José Farmer and Harlan Ellison examined the impact of drug culture and the sexual revolution while avoiding the utopian tendencies of earlier science fiction. Released in 1984, William Gibson's influential debut novel Neuromancer would help solidify cyberpunk as a genre, drawing influence from punk subculture and early hacker culture. Other influential cyberpunk writers included Rudy Rucker; the Japanese cyberpunk subgenre began in 1982 with the debut of Katsuhiro Otomo's manga series Akira, with its 1988 anime film adaptation popularizing the subgenre.
Early films in the genre include Ridley Scott's 1982 film Blade Runner, one of several of Philip K. Dick's works that have been adapted into films; the films Johnny Mnemonic and New Rose Hotel, both based upon short stories by William Gibson, flopped commercially and critically. The Matrix trilogy were some of the most successful cyberpunk films. More recent additions to this genre of filmmaking include Blade Runner 2049, sequel to the original 1982 film, as well as Upgrade, Alita: Battle Angel based on the 1990s Japanese manga Battle Angel Alita, the 2018 Netflix TV series Altered Carbon. Lawrence Person has attempted to define the content and ethos of the cyberpunk literary movement stating: Classic cyberpunk characters were marginalized, alienated loners who lived on the edge of society in dystopic futures where daily life was impacted by rapid technological change, an ubiquitous datasphere of computerized information, invasive modification of the human body. Cyberpunk plots center on conflict among artificial intelligences and megacorporations, tend to be set in a near-future Earth, rather than in the far-future settings or galactic vistas found in novels such as Isaac Asimov's Foundation or Frank Herbert's Dune.
The settings are post-industrial dystopias but tend to feature extraordinary cultural ferment and the use of technology in ways never anticipated by its original inventors. Much of the genre's atmosphere echoes film noir, written works in the genre use techniques from detective fiction. There are sources who view that cyberpunk has shifted from a literary movement to a mode of science fiction due to the limited number of writers and its transition to a more generalized cultural formation; the origins of cyberpunk are rooted in the New Wave science fiction movement of the 1960s and 70s, where New Worlds, under the editorship of Michael Moorcock, began inviting and encouraging stories that examined new writing styles and archetypes. Reacting to conventional storytelling, New Wave authors attempted to present a world where society coped with a constant upheaval of new technology and culture with dystopian outcomes. Writers like Roger Zelazny, J. G. Ballard, Philip Jose Farmer, Harlan Ellison examined the impact of drug culture and the sexual revolution with an avant-garde style influenced by the Beat Generation and their own ideas.
Ballard attacked the idea that stories should follow the "archetypes" popular since the time of Ancient Greece, the assumption that these would somehow be the same ones that would call to modern readers, as Joseph Campbell argued in The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Instead, Ballard wanted to write a new myth for the modern reader, a style with "more psycho-literary ideas, more meta-biological and meta-chemical concepts, private time systems, synthetic psychologies and space-times, more of the sombre half-worlds one glimpses in the paintings of schizophrenics."This had a profound influence on a new generation of writers, some of whom would come to call their movement "Cyberpunk". One, Bruce Sterling said: In the circle of American science fiction writers of my generation — cyberpunks and humanists and so forth — was a towering figure. We used to have bitter struggles over, more Ballardian than whom. We knew we were not fit to polish the man’s boots, we were scarcely able to understand how we could get to a position to do work which he might respect or stand, but at least we were able to see the peak of achievement that he had reached.
Ballard and the rest of New Wave was seen by the subsequent generation as delivering more "realism" to science fiction, they attempted to build on this. Influential, cited as proto-cyberpunk, is the Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, first published in 1968. Presenting the general feeling of dystopian post-economic-apocalyptic future as Gibson and Sterling deliver, it examines ethical and moral problems with cybernetic, artificial intelligence in a way more "realist" than the Isaac Asimov Robot series that laid its philosophical foundation; this novel was made into the seminal movie Blade Runner, released in 1982. This was one year after another story, "Johnny Mnemonic" helped move proto-cyberpunk concepts into the mainstream; this story, which became a film years involves another dystopian future, where human couriers deliver computer data, stored cybernetically in their own minds. In 1983 a short story written by Bruce Bethke, called Cyberpunk, was published in Amazing Stories.
The term was picked up
Sword and planet
Sword and planet is a subgenre of science fantasy that features rousing adventure stories set on other planets, featuring humans as protagonists. The name derives from the heroes of the genre engaging their adversaries in hand-to-hand combat with simple melée weapons such as swords in a setting that has advanced technology. Although there are works that herald the genre, such as Percy Greg's Across the Zodiac and Edwin Lester Arnold's Lieut. Gullivar Jones: His Vacation, the prototype for the genre is A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs serialized by All-Story in 1912 as "Under the Moons of Mars"; the genre predates the mainstream popularity of science fiction proper, does not feature any scientific rigor, being instead romantic tales of high adventure. For example, little thought is given to explaining why the environment of the alien planet is compatible with life from Earth, just that it does in order to allow the hero to move about and interact with the natives. Native technology will break the known laws of physics.
The genre tag "sword and planet" is constructed to mimic the terms sword and sorcery and sword and sandal. The phrase appears to have first been coined in the 1960s by Donald A. Wollheim, editor of Ace Books, of DAW Books at a time when the genre was undergoing a revival. Both Ace Books and DAW Books were instrumental in bringing much of the earlier pulp sword and planet stories back into print, as well as publishing a great deal of new, imitative work by a new generation of authors. There is a fair amount of overlap between sword and planet and planetary romance although some works are considered to belong to one and not the other. Influenced by the likes of A Princess of Mars yet more modern and technologically savvy and planet more directly imitates the conventions established by Burroughs in the Mars series; that is to say that the hero is alone as the only human being from Earth, swords are the weapon of choice, while the alien planet has some advanced technology, it is used only in limited applications to advance the plot or increase the grandeur of the setting.
In general the alien planet will seem to be more primitive than Earth. This leads to anachronistic situations such as flying ships held aloft by anti-gravity technology, while ground travel is done by riding domesticated native animals. In A Princess of Mars, John Carter, a Confederate officer and soldier, has taken up prospecting in Arizona after the war to regain his fortune. Under mysterious circumstances, he is transported to Mars, called Barsoom by its inhabitants. There he encounters savage and monstrous aliens, a beautiful princess, a life of adventure and wonder. Burroughs followed up this first book with several more Barsoom stories, another series that could be considered Sword & Planet, featuring as hero Carson Napier and his adventures on Venus, natively known as Amtor. Burroughs' Pellucidar series could arguably be considered sword-and- planet, as it follows most of the plot conventions described below. Burroughs established a set of conventions that were followed closely by most other entries in the sword and planet genre.
The typical first book in a sword and planet series uses some or all of the following plot points: A tough but chivalrous male protagonist, from Earth of a period not too distant from our own, finds himself transported to a distant world. The transportation may be via astral projection, time travel, or any similar form of scientific magic, but should not imply that travel between worlds is either easy or common; the Earthman thus finds himself the sole representative of his own race on an alien planet. This planet is at a pre-modern barbaric stage of civilization, but may here and there have remarkable technologies that hint at a more advanced past. There is no obligation for the physical properties or biology of the alien planet to follow any scientific understanding of the potential conditions of habitable worlds. A lower gravity may be invoked to explain such things as large flying animals or people, or the superhuman strength of the hero, but will otherwise be ignored.. Not long after discovering his predicament, the Earthman finds himself caught in a struggle between two or more factions, nations, or species.
He sides, of course, with the nation with the prettiest woman, who will sometimes turn out to be a princess. Before he can set about courting her, she is kidnapped by a fiendish villain or villains; the Earthman, taking up his sword, sets out on a quest to recover the woman and wallop the kidnappers. On the way, he crosses wild and inhospitable terrain, confronts savage animals and monsters, discovers lost civilizations ruled by cruel tyrants or wicked priests, will engage in swashbuckling sword-fights, be imprisoned, daringly escape and rescue other prisoners, kill any men or beasts who stand in his way. At the end of the story he will defeat the villain and free the captive princess, only to find another crisis emerging that will require all his wit and muscle, but will not be resolved until the next thrilling novel in the adventures of...!. Stories in the sword and planet genre fall into two chronological classes; the first includes the stories of Burroughs himself and his early imitators, of whom Otis
Parallel universes in fiction
A parallel universe known as an alternate universe or alternate reality, is a hypothetical self-contained reality co-existing with one's own. A specific group of parallel universes are called a "multiverse", although this term can be used to describe the possible parallel universes that constitute reality. While the three terms are synonymous and can be used interchangeably in most cases, there is sometimes an additional connotation implied with the term "alternate universe/reality" that implies that the reality is a variant of our own, with some overlap with the similarly-named Alternate history; the term "parallel universe" is more general, without implying a relationship, or lack of relationship, with our own universe. A universe where the laws of nature are different – for example, one in which there are no Laws of Motion – would in general count as a parallel universe but not an alternative reality and a concept between both fantasy world and earth; the actual quantum-mechanical hypothesis of parallel universes is "universes that are separated from each other by a single quantum event."
Fiction has long borrowed an idea of "another world" from myth and religion. Heaven, Hell and Valhalla are all "alternative universes" different from the familiar material realm. Plato reflected on the parallel realities, resulting in Platonism, in which the upper reality is perfect while the lower earthly reality is an imperfect shadow of the heavenly; the lower reality is similar but with flaws. The concept is found in ancient Hindu mythology, in texts such as the Puranas, which expressed an infinite number of universes, each with its own gods. In Persian literature, "The Adventures of Bulukiya", a tale in the One Thousand and One Nights, describes the protagonist Bulukiya learning of alternative worlds/universes that are similar to but still distinct from his own. One of the first Science fiction examples is Murray Leinster's Sidewise in Time, in which portions of alternative universes replace corresponding geographical regions in this universe. Sidewise in Time describes it in the manner that similar to requiring both longitude and latitude coordinates in order to mark your location on Earth, so too does time: travelling along latitude is akin to time travel moving through past and future, while travelling along latitude is to travel perpendicular to time and to other realities, hence the name of the short story.
Thus, another common term for a parallel universe is "another dimension", stemming from the idea that if the 4th dimension is time, the 5th dimension - a direction at a right angle to the fourth - are alternate realities. In modern literature, a parallel universe can be divided into two categories: to allow for stories where elements that would ordinarily violate the laws of nature. Examples of the former include Terry Pratchett's Discworld and C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia, while examples of the latter include Harry Turtledove's Worldwar series. A parallel universe may serve as a central plot point, or it may be mentioned and dismissed, having served its purpose of establishing a realm unconstrained by realism; the aforementioned Discworld, for example, only rarely mentions our world or any other worlds, as setting the books on a parallel universe instead of "our" reality is to allow for magic on the Disc. The Chronicles of Narnia utilises this to a lesser extent - the idea of parallel universes are brought up but only mentioned in the introduction and ending, its main purpose to bring the protagonist from "our" reality to the setting of the books.
While technically incorrect, looked down upon by hard science-fiction fans and authors, the idea of another "dimension" has become synonymous with the term "parallel universe". The usage is common in movies and comic books and much less so in modern prose science fiction; the idea of a parallel world was first introduced in comic books with the publication of The Flash #123, "Flash of Two Worlds". In written science fiction, "new dimension" more – and more – refer to additional coordinate axes, beyond the three spatial axes with which we are familiar. By proposing travel along these extra axes, which are not perceptible, the traveler can reach worlds that are otherwise unreachable and invisible. In 1884, Edwin A. Abbott wrote, it describes a world of two dimensions inhabited by living squares and circles, called Flatland, as well as Pointland and Spaceland and posits the possibilities of greater dimensions. Isaac Asimov, in his foreword to the Signet Classics 1984 edition, described Flatland as "The best introduction one can find into the manner of perceiving dimensions."
In 1895, The Time Machine by H. G. Wells used time as an additional "dimension" in this sense, taking the four-dimensional model of classical physics and interpreting time as a space-like dimension in which humans could travel with the right equipment. Wells used the concept of parallel universes as a consequence of time as the fourth dimension in stories like The Wonderful Visit and Men Like Gods, an idea proposed by the astronomer Simon Newcomb, who talked about both time and parallel universes.
Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery. Although its literary origins are sometimes associated with the cyberpunk genre, steampunk works are set in an alternative history of the 19th century's British Victorian era or American "Wild West", in a future during which steam power has maintained mainstream usage, or in a fantasy world that employs steam power; however and Neo-Victorian are different in that the Neo-Victorian movement does not extrapolate on technology while technology is a key aspect of steampunk. Steampunk most recognizably features anachronistic technologies or retrofuturistic inventions as people in the 19th century might have envisioned them, is rooted in the era's perspective on fashion, architectural style, art; such technology may include fictional machines like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or of the modern authors Philip Pullman, Scott Westerfeld, Stephen Hunt, China Miéville.
Other examples of steampunk contain alternative-history-style presentations of such technology as steam cannons, lighter-than-air airships, analogue computers, or such digital mechanical computers as Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine. Steampunk may incorporate additional elements from the genres of fantasy, historical fiction, alternate history, or other branches of speculative fiction, making it a hybrid genre; the first known appearance of the term steampunk was in 1987, though it now retroactively refers to many works of fiction created as far back as the 1950s or 1960s. Steampunk refers to any of the artistic styles, clothing fashions, or subcultures that have developed from the aesthetics of steampunk fiction, Victorian-era fiction, art nouveau design, films from the mid-20th century. Various modern utilitarian objects have been modded by individual artisans into a pseudo-Victorian mechanical "steampunk" style, a number of visual and musical artists have been described as steampunk.
Steampunk is influenced by and adopts the style of the 19th-century scientific romances of Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, Mary Shelley, Edward S. Ellis's The Steam Man of the Prairies. Several more modern works of art and fiction significant to the development of the genre were produced before the genre had a name. Titus Alone, by Mervyn Peake, is regarded by scholars as the first novel in the genre proper, while others point to Michael Moorcock's 1971 novel The Warlord of the Air, influenced by Peake's work; the film Brazil was an important early cinematic influence that helped codify the aesthetics of the genre. The Adventures of Luther Arkwright was an early comic version of the Moorcock-style mover between timestreams. In fine art, Remedios Varo's paintings combine elements of Victorian dress and technofantasy imagery. In television, one of the earliest manifestations of the steampunk ethos in the mainstream media was the CBS television series The Wild Wild West, which inspired the film. Although many works now considered seminal to the genre were published in the 1960s and 1970s, the term steampunk originated in the late 1980s as a tongue-in-cheek variant of cyberpunk.
It was coined by science fiction author K. W. Jeter, trying to find a general term for works by Tim Powers, James Blaylock, himself —all of which took place in a 19th-century setting and imitated conventions of such actual Victorian speculative fiction as H. G. Wells' The Time Machine. In a letter to science fiction magazine Locus, printed in the April 1987 issue, Jeter wrote: Dear Locus, Enclosed is a copy of my 1979 novel Morlock Night. Though of course, I did find her review in the March Locus to be quite flattering. I think Victorian fantasies are going to be the next big thing, as long as we can come up with a fitting collective term for Powers and myself. Something based on the appropriate technology of the era. While Jeter's Morlock Night and Infernal Devices, Powers' The Anubis Gates, Blaylock's Lord Kelvin's Machine were the first novels to which Jeter's neologism would be applied, the three authors gave the term little thought at the time, they were far from the first modern science fiction writers to speculate on the development of steam-based technology or alternative histories.
Keith Laumer's Worlds of the Imperium and Ronald W. Clark's Queen Victoria's Bomb apply modern speculation to past-age technology and society. Michael Moorcock's Warlord of the Air is another early example. Harry Harrison's novel A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah! Portrays a British Empire of an alternative year 1973, full of atomic locomotives, coal-powered flying boats, ornate submarines, Victorian dialogue; the Adventures of Luther Arkwright was the first steampunk comic. In February 1980, Richard A. Lupoff and Steve Stiles published the first "chapter" of their 10-part comic strip The Adventures of Professor Thintwhistle and His Incredible Aether Flyer; the first use of the word in a title was in Paul Di Filippo's 1995 Steampunk Trilogy, consisting of three short novels: "Victoria", "Hottentots", "Walt and Emily", which imagine the replacement of Queen Victoria by a human/newt clone, an invasion of Massachusetts by Lovecraftian monsters, a love affair between
Hard science fiction
Hard science fiction is a category of science fiction characterized by concern for scientific accuracy and logic. The term was first used in print in 1957 by P. Schuyler Miller in a review of John W. Campbell's Islands of Space in the November issue of Astounding Science Fiction; the complementary term soft science fiction, formed by analogy to hard science fiction, first appeared in the late 1970s. The term is formed by analogy to the popular distinction between the "hard" and "soft" sciences. Science fiction critic Gary Westfahl argues. Stories revolving around scientific and technical consistency were written as early as the 1870s with the publication of Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea in 1870, among other stories; the attention to detail in Verne's work became an inspiration for many future scientists and explorers, although Verne himself denied writing as a scientist or predicting machines and technology of the future. Hugo Gernsback believed from the beginning of his involvement with science fiction in the 1920s that the stories should be instructive, although it was not long before he found it necessary to print fantastical and unscientific fiction in Amazing Stories to attract readers.
During Gernsback's long absence from SF publishing, from 1936 to 1953, the field evolved away from his focus on facts and education. The Golden Age of Science Fiction is considered to have started in the late 1930s and lasted until the mid-1940s, bringing with it "a quantum jump in quality the greatest in the history of the genre", according to science fiction historians Peter Nicholls and Mike Ashley. However, Gernsback's views were unchanged. In his editorial in the first issue of Science-Fiction Plus, he gave his view of the modern sf story: "the fairy tale brand, the weird or fantastic type of what mistakenly masquerades under the name of Science-Fiction today!" and he stated his preference for "truly scientific, prophetic Science-Fiction with the full accent on SCIENCE". In the same editorial, Gernsback called for patent reform to give science fiction authors the right to create patents for ideas without having patent models because many of their ideas predated the technical progress needed to develop specifications for their ideas.
The introduction referenced the numerous prescient technologies described throughout Ralph 124C 41+. The heart of the "hard SF" designation is the relationship of the science content and attitude to the rest of the narrative, the "hardness" or rigor of the science itself. One requirement for hard SF is procedural or intentional: a story should try to be accurate, logical and rigorous in its use of current scientific and technical knowledge about which technology, phenomena and situations that are and/or theoretically possible. For example, the development of concrete proposals for spaceships, space stations, space missions, a US space program in the 1950s and 1960s influenced a widespread proliferation of "hard" space stories. Discoveries do not invalidate the label of hard SF, as evidenced by P. Schuyler Miller, who called Arthur C. Clarke's 1961 novel A Fall of Moondust hard SF, the designation remains valid though a crucial plot element, the existence of deep pockets of "moondust" in lunar craters, is now known to be incorrect.
There is a degree of flexibility in how far from "real science" a story can stray before it leaves the realm of hard SF. HSF authors scrupulously avoid such technology as faster-than-light travel, while authors writing softer SF accept such notions Readers of "hard SF" try to find inaccuracies in stories. For example, a group at MIT concluded that the planet Mesklin in Hal Clement's 1953 novel Mission of Gravity would have had a sharp edge at the equator, a Florida high-school class calculated that in Larry Niven's 1970 novel Ringworld the topsoil would have slid into the seas in a few thousand years; the same book featured another inaccuracy: the eponymous Ringworld is not in a stable orbit and would crash into the sun without active stabilization. Niven fixed these errors in his sequel The Ringworld Engineers, noted them in the foreword. Films set in outer space that aspire to the hard SF label try to minimize the artistic liberties taken for the sake of practicality of effect. Factors include:.
How the film depicts sound despite the vacuum of space. Whether telecommunications are instant or are limited by the speed of light. Arranged chronologically by publication year. Hal Clement, "Uncommon Sense" James Blish, "Surface Tension", (Book 3 of The Seedling Stars Tom Godwin, "The Cold Equations" Isaac Asimov, "Evidence" Poul Anderson, "Kyrie" Frederik Pohl, "Day Million" Larry Niven, "Inconstant Moon" and "The Hole Man" and "Neutron Star" Greg Bear, "Tangents" Geoffrey A. Landis, "A Walk in the Sun" Vernor Vinge, "Fast Times at Fairmont High" Robert A. Heinlein, The Rolling Stones Hal Clement, Mission of Gravity Harry Martinson, Aniara John Wyndham, The Outward Urge Stanisław Lem, Solaris Arthur C. Clarke, A Fall of Moondust, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Rendezvous with Rama Michael Crichton, The Andromeda Strain Poul Anderson, Tau Zero James P. Hogan, The Two Faces of Tomorrow Robert L. Forward, Dragon's Egg Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park
Feminist science fiction
Feminist science fiction is a subgenre of science fiction focused on theories that include feminist themes including but not limited to gender inequality, race and reproduction. Feminist SF is political because of its tendency to critique the dominant culture; some of the most notable feminist science fiction works have illustrated these themes using utopias to explore a society in which gender differences or gender power imbalances do not exist, or dystopias to explore worlds in which gender inequalities are intensified, thus asserting a need for feminist work to continue. Science fiction and fantasy serve as important vehicles for feminist thought as bridges between theory and practice. No other genres so invite representations of the ultimate goals of feminism: worlds free of sexism, worlds in which women's contributions are recognized and valued, worlds that explore the diversity of women's desire and sexuality, worlds that move beyond gender. Feminist science fiction distinguishes between feminist SF authors.
Both female and feminist SF authors are significant to the feminist SF subgenre, as female writers have increased women's visibility and perspectives in SF literary traditions, while the feminist writers have foregrounded political themes and tropes in their works. Because distinctions between female and feminist can be blurry, whether a work is considered feminist can be debatable, but there are agreed-upon canonical texts, which help define the subgenre; as early as the English Restoration, female authors were using themes of SF and imagined futures to explore women's issues and place in society. This can be seen as early as 1666 in Margaret Cavendish's The Blazing World, in which she describes a utopian kingdom ruled by an empress; this foundational work has garnered attention from some feminist critics, such as Dale Spender, who considered this a forerunner of the science fiction genre, more generally. Another early female writer of science fiction was Mary Shelley, her novel Frankenstein dealt with the asexual creation of new life, has been considered by some a reimagining of the Adam and Eve story.
Women writers involved in the utopian literature movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries could be considered the first feminist SF authors. Their texts, emerging during the first-wave feminist movement addressed issues of sexism through imagining different worlds that challenged gender expectations. In 1881, Mizora: A Prophecy described a women-only world with technological innovations such as parthenogenesis and artificial meat, it was followed by other feminist utopian works, such as Elizabeth Burgoyne Corbett's New Amazonia: A Foretaste of the Future. In 1892, poet and abolitionist Frances Harper published Iola Leroy, one of the first novels by an African American woman. Set during the antebellum South, it follows the life of a mixed race woman with white ancestry and records the hopes of many African Americans for social equality—of race and gender—during Reconstruction. Unveiling a Parallel features a male protagonist who takes an "aeroplane" to Mars, visiting two different "Marsian" societies.
In one, women have adopted the negative characteristics of men. Two American Populists, A. O. Grigsby and Mary P. Lowe, published NEQUA or The Problem of the Ages, which explores issues of gender norms and posited structural inequality; this rediscovered novel displays familiar feminist SF conventions: a heroine narrator who masquerades as a man, the exploration of sexist mores, the description of a future hollow earth society where women are equal. The Sultana's Dream, by Bengali Muslim feminist Rokeya Sakhawat Hussain, engages with the limited role of women in colonial India. Through depicting a gender-reversed purdah in an alternate technologically futuristic world, Hussain's book has been described as illustrating the potential for cultural insights through role reversals early on in the subgenre's formation. Along these same lines, Charlotte Perkins Gilman explores and critiques the expectations of women and men by creating a single-sex world in Herland the most well-known of the early feminist SF and utopian novels.
During the 1920s and 1930s, many popular pulp science fiction magazines exaggerated views of masculinity and featured portrayals of women that were perceived as sexist. These views would be subtly satirized by Stella Gibbons in Cold Comfort Farm and much by Margaret Atwood in The Blind Assassin; as early as 1920, women writers of this time, such as Clare Winger Harris and Gertrude Barrows Bennett, published science fiction stories written from female perspectives and dealt with gender and sexuality based topics. The Post-WWII and Cold War eras were a pivotal and overlooked period in feminist SF history. During this time, female authors utilized the SF genre to assess critically the changing social and technological landscape. Women SF authors during the post-WWII and Cold War time periods directly engage in the exploration of the impacts of science and technology on women and their families, a focal point in the public consciousness during the 1950s and 1960s; these female SF authors published in SF magazines such as The Avalonian, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Galaxy, which were open to new stories and authors that pushed the boundaries of form and content.
At the beginning of the Cold War