Comic science fiction

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Comic science fiction or comedy science fiction is a subgenre of soft science fiction or science fantasy that exploits the genre's conventions for comedic effect.[1] Comic science fiction often mocks or satirizes standard SF conventions like alien invasion of Earth, interstellar travel, or futuristic technology, it can also satirize and criticize present-day society.[2]

An early example was the Pete Manx series by Henry Kuttner and Arthur K. Barnes (sometimes writing together and sometimes separately, under the house pen-name of Kelvin Kent). Published in Thrilling Wonder Stories in the late 1930s and early 1940s, the series featured a time-traveling carnival barker who uses his con-man abilities to get out of trouble. Two later series cemented Kuttner's reputation as one of the most popular early writers of comic science fiction: the Gallegher series (about a drunken inventor and his narcissistic robot) and the Hogben series (about a family of mutant hillbillies). The former appeared in Astounding Science Fiction in 1943 and 1948 and was collected in hardcover as Robots Have No Tails (Gnome, 1952), and the latter appeared in Thrilling Wonder Stories in the late 1940s. In the 1950s comedy became more common in science fiction, some of the authors contributing were: Alfred Bester, Harry Harrison, C.M. Kornbluth, Frederik Pohl, and Robert Sheckley.[3]

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy[4][5][6] is a comic science fiction series created by Douglas Adams. Originally a radio comedy broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1978, it was later adapted to other formats, including stage shows, novels, comic books, a 1981 TV series, a 1984 computer game, and 2005 feature film. A prominent series in British popular culture, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has become an international multi-media phenomenon; the novels are the most widely distributed, having been translated into more than 30 languages by 2005.[7][8]

Red Dwarf primarily consists of a television sitcom that aired on BBC Two between 1988 and 1999, and on Dave since 2009, gaining a cult following.[9] To date, eleven full series of the show plus one "special" miniseries have aired, the latest series, dubbed Red Dwarf XII, started airing in October 2017.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Comedy Science Fiction". Retrieved 2016-03-02. 
  2. ^ The Animal Fable in Science Fiction and Fantasy, Bruce Shaw, McFarland, 2010, page 19
  3. ^ The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy: Themes, Works, and Wonders, Volume 1, Gary Westfahl, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005, Page 145
  4. ^ "Jo Kent saves cult hg2g game from scrapheap". Retrieved 2014-06-24. 
  5. ^ "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". Retrieved 2014-06-24. 
  6. ^ Gaiman, Neil (2003). Don't Panic: Douglas Adams and the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". Titan Books. pp. 144–145. ISBN 1-84023-742-2. 
  7. ^ Simpson, M. J. (2005). The Pocket Essential Hitchhiker's Guide (Second ed.). Pocket Essentials. p. 120. ISBN 1-904048-46-3. 
  8. ^ "The Ultimate Reference Guide to British Popular Culture". Oxford Royale. 23 November 2016. 
  9. ^ "Worldwide Press Office - Red Dwarf on DVD". BBC. Retrieved 28 November 2009. 
  10. ^ "Red Dwarf XII". Retrieved 21 August 2017.