Dying Earth genre
Dying Earth is a subgenre of science fantasy or science fiction which takes place in the far future at either the end of life on Earth or the end of time, when the laws of the universe themselves fail. Themes of world-weariness, idealism, exhaustion/depletion of many or all resources, the hope of renewal tend to dominate; the Dying Earth genre differs from the apocalyptic subgenre in that it deals not with catastrophic destruction, but with entropic exhaustion of the Earth. The genre was prefigured by the works of the Romantic movement. Jean-Baptiste Cousin de Grainville's Le Dernier Homme narrates the tale of Omegarus, the Last Man on Earth, it is a bleak vision of the future when the Earth has become sterile. Lord Byron's poem "Darkness" shows Earth. Another early example is La Fin du Monde, written by Camille Flammarion and published in France in 1893; the first half of the novel deals with a comet on a collision course with earth in the 25th century. The last half focuses on Earth's future history, where civilizations rise and fall, humans evolve, Earth ends as an old and barren planet.
Another early and more famous science fiction work to utilize the familiar Dying Earth imagery was H. G. Wells's famous novella The Time Machine. At the end of this work, the unnamed time traveller travels into the far future, where there are only a few living things on a dying Earth, he returns to his own time to relate his tale to a circle of contemporaries. Two brooding works by William Hope Hodgson would elaborate on Wells's vision; the House on the Borderland takes place in a house besieged by unearthly forces. The narrator travels into a distant future in which humanity has died and even further, past the death of Earth. Hodgson's The Night Land describes a time, millions of years in the future, when the Sun has gone dark; the last few millions of the human race are gathered together in a gigantic metal pyramid, the Last Redoubt, under siege from unknown forces and Powers outside in the dark. A work by the early French science fiction author J.-H. Rosny aîné, La Mort de la Terre, deals with the last, scattered generation of an evolved humankind on an exhausted, desert earth and their encounter with a new type of mineral-metallic life.
In some ways it reads like the inversion of his earlier Les Xipéhuz, in which early humans encounter and battle an utterly alien and incomprehensible form of life. From the 1930s onwards, Clark Ashton Smith wrote a series of stories situated in Zothique, the last continent of Earth. Smith said in a letter to L. Sprague de Camp, dated November 3, 1953: Zothique, vaguely suggested by Theosophic theories about past and future continents, is the last inhabited continent of earth; the continents of our present cycle have sunken several times. Some have remained submerged; the science and machinery of our present civilization have long been forgotten, together with our present religions. But many gods are worshipped. Oars and sails alone are used by mariners. There are no fire-arms—only the bows, swords, etc. of antiquity. Although not technically set on a dying Earth, many of the sword and planet stories of the early twentieth century set on Mars—most notably Edgar Rice Burroughs's Barsoom series and works influenced by it, such as the Eric John Stark stories of Leigh Brackett and C.
L. Moore's series focusing on Northwest Smith—share similarities with the genre. In these stories and exotic Martian civilizations have undergone a decadent decline, enlivened by the presence of demonic adversaries from past ages; the fact that scientists had speculated that Mars had once borne life, which had by the present or entirely, died out, gave a special entropic kick to these escapist adventures. Under the influence of Smith, Jack Vance wrote the short story collection The Dying Earth; the collection would have several sequels. These works gave the subgenre its name. H. P. Lovecraft and Robert H. Barlow — "Till A’the Seas" is a tale of the slow fading of human civilization and the extinction of all life on Earth, as the planet became a desert under the sun that has expanded into a red giant; the story centers on a male protagonist named Ull, the last of his tribe, his journey across lands and abandoned cities in hopes of finding water and other survivors. Don A. Stuart — Night. Short story.
As an unexpected side effect from an experimental anti-gravity device, a test pilot is sent countless billions of years into the future. The Milky Way has been reduced to less than a light-year in diameter, the dead Earth is tidally locked to a much larger and colder red sun. All the gas in the atmosphere, except for helium, is frozen solid. A huge city contains the frozen remains of humans, the machines humanity had perfected are dead due to the superconductivity caused by the cold. Edmond Hamilton — The City at World's End and the comic book story "Superman Under the Red Sun" from Action Comics #300. Arthur C. Clarke — The City and the Stars, a revision and expansion of the earlier novella "Against the Fall of Night". John Brunner — Catch a Falling Star, an extended version of The 100th Millennium, first published as "Earth is But a Star" which features in the Broderick anthology. An early example of a far future tale influenced by Vance. Brian Aldiss — Hothouse (1962, also
Portals in fiction
The word "portal" in science fiction and fantasy refers to a technological or magical doorway that connects two distant locations separated by spacetime. It consists of two or more gateways, with an object entering one gateway leaving via the other instantaneously. Places that are linked by a portal include a different spot in the same universe. A parallel world, such as the Wood between the Worlds in C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, may exist to contain multiple portals to every parallel world in existence. Portals are similar to the cosmological concept of a wormhole, some portals work using wormholes. Portals are used in science fiction to move protagonists into new territory. In video games the concept is used to allow the player to cover territory, explored quickly. A related book plot, used is the struggle to get to the opposite end of a new gate for the first time, before it can be used. In film and television, a portal is portrayed using a ripple effect. Star Trek: The Original Series: One of the earliest examples is the Guardian of Forever, in Star Trek.
The device could open a spacetime portal to any point in history on any world in the universe. It was ring-shaped, with a watery "event horizon"; this device was introduced in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The City on the Edge of Forever" in 1967. Other examples of portals include: Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: Portals appeared in the series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, where interstellar travel was facilitated by a network of portals. Cowboy Bebop: In the anime Cowboy Bebop, hyperspace gates allow for faster—though not instantaneous—travel between the planets and colonies of our solar system. Donnie Darko: In the movie Donnie Darko a portal appears on a cinema screen. A fictional book within the film serves as the basis for fan theories about time travel, parallel universes and portals. Doraemon: A more lighthearted use of portals can be found in the Japanese comic and anime series Doraemon, where the Anywhere Door is used to travel from any point to another; this door operates like an ordinary household door.
The Final Countdown: In the movie The Final Countdown, the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz is transported via a portal to 1941, where its Captain must decide whether to intervene in the Pearl Harbor attack. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: In the cartoon series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and She-Ra: Princess of Power the characters are able to travel through time and space by using magic space portals and time corridors, they can be used by characters with magic abilities, are of a yellow colour. Sometimes they can have a purple appearance. In some instances a portal allows travel from one place to another in just a few moments. In other cases, the user travels through a separate dimension and can change his destination en route. Gargoyles: Two types of portal existed in Disney's mid-1990s Gargoyles animated fantasy adventure series. Gravity Falls: In Gravity Falls and Mabel's Great Uncle Ford constructed a portal underneath the Mystery Shack, it was used by his twin brother Stan to bring him back from an unknown dimension.
Howl's Moving Castle: In the Hayao Miyazaki film Howl's Moving Castle, based on the novel by Diana Wynne Jones, Howl's castle has a door with a four color dial above it, each color setting causes a different location to appear on the other side of the door, only one of, outside the castle. Jackie Chan Adventures: In the cartoon series Jackie Chan Adventures, eight demons were sealed away using portals to trap each of them in a different realm; the portals could be opened again. The demons were released but recaptured and returned in the netherworld. A spell was used on each portal to seal it forever, ensuring that the demons could never escape again. Jak and Daxter: "Warp gates" in Jak and Daxter are rings enclosing a rippling blue substance used for transportation; the Legend of Korra: In The Legend of Korra, the two spirit portals, located in the north and south poles, connect the physical world and the spirit world, allowing passage to the spirit world without meditation. However, a new portal was created in the center of Downtown Republic City after Kuvira's sprit energy weapon overloaded.
Lost in Space: The 1998 film Lost in Space featured a space-bound hypergate system. The premise of the film is that the Robinson family will pilot a spaceship to Alpha Centauri to construct a receiving hypergate, allowing instantaneous travel between Earth and Alpha Centauri. Mighty Max: In the Mighty Max television series and toyline, the titular character Max receives a magical baseball cap capable of projecting wormhole-like portals that allow Max to teleport across time and space and travel to alternate dimensions and the astral plane. Monsters, Inc.: The animated film Monsters, Inc. involved portals that open through children's closets. This enabled the inhabitants of the monster world to en
History of science fiction
The literary genre of science fiction is diverse, its exact definition remains a contested question among both scholars and devotees. This lack of consensus is reflected in debates about the genre's history over determining its exact origins. There are two broad camps of thought, one that identifies the genre's roots in early fantastical works such as the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh. A second approach argues that science fiction only became possible sometime between the 17th and early 19th centuries, following the scientific revolution and major discoveries in astronomy and mathematics. Question of deeper origins aside, science fiction developed and boomed in the 20th century, as the deep integration of science and inventions into daily life encouraged a greater interest in literature that explores the relationship between technology and the individual. Scholar Robert Scholes calls the history of science fiction "the history of humanity's changing attitudes toward space and time... the history of our growing understanding of the universe and the position of our species in that universe."
In recent decades, the genre has diversified and become established as a major influence on global culture and thought. There are a number of ancient or early modern texts including a great many epics and poems that contain fantastical or "science-fictional" elements, yet were written before the emergence of science fiction as a distinct genre; these texts include elements such as a fantastical voyage to the moon or the use of imagined advanced technology. Although fantastical and science fiction-like elements and imagery exist in stories such as Ovid's Metamorphoses, the Old English epic heroic poem Beowulf, the Middle German epic poem Nibelungenlied, their relative lack of references to science or technology puts them closer to fantasy rather than science fiction. One of the earliest and most commonly-cited texts for those looking for early precursors to science fiction is the ancient Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh, with the earliest text versions identified as being from about 2000 BC. American science fiction author Lester del Rey was one such supporter of using Gilgamesh as an origin point, arguing that "science fiction is as old as the first recorded fiction.
That is the Epic of Gilgamesh." French science fiction writer Pierre Versins argued that Gilgamesh was the first science fiction work due to its treatment of human reason and the quest for immortality. In addition, Gilgamesh features a flood scene that in some ways resembles work of apocalyptic science fiction. However, the lack of explicit science or technology in the work has led some to argue that it is better categorized as fantastic literature. Ancient Indian poetry such as the Hindu epic Ramayana includes Vimana flying machines able to travel into space or under water, destroy entire cities using advanced weapons. In the first book of the Rigveda collection of Sanskrit hymns, there is a description of "mechanical birds" that are seen "jumping into space speedily with a craft using fire and water... containing twelve stamghas, one wheel, three machines, 300 pivots, 60 instruments." The ancient Hindu mythological epic, the Mahabharata includes the story of King Kakudmi, who travels to heaven to meet the creator Brahma and is shocked to learn that many ages have passed when he returns to Earth, anticipating the concept of time travel.
Ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes has several works that include elements associated with the "fantastic voyage", including air travel to another world. Examples include The Birds and The Peace. One cited text is the Syrian-Greek writer Lucian's 2nd-century satire True History, which uses a voyage to outer space and conversations with alien life forms to comment on the use of exaggeration within travel literature and debates. Typical science fiction themes and topoi in True History include: travel to outer space, encounter with alien life-forms, interplanetary warfare and planetary imperialism, motif of giganticism, creatures as products of human technology, worlds working by a set of alternate physical laws, an explicit desire of the protagonist for exploration and adventure. In witnessing one interplanetary battle between the People of the Moon and the People of the Sun as the fight for the right to colonize the Morning Star, Lucian describes giant space spiders who were "appointed to spin a web in the air between the Moon and the Morning Star, done in an instant, made a plain campaign upon which the foot forces were planted..." L. Sprague de Camp and a number of other authors argue this to be one of the earliest if not the earliest example of science fiction or proto-science fiction.
However, since the text was intended to be explicitly satirical and hyperbolic, other critics are ambivalent about its rightful place as a science fiction precursor. For example, English critic Kingsley Amis wrote that "It is hardly science-fiction, since it deliberately piles extravagance upon extravagance for comic effect" yet he implicitly acknowledged its SF character by comparing its plot to early 20th-century space operas: "I will remark that the sprightliness and sophistication of True History make it read like a joke at the expense of nearly all early-modern science fiction, that written between, say, 1910 and 1940." Lucian translator Bryan Reardon is more explicit, describing the work as "an account of a fantastic journey - to the moon, the underworld, the belly of a whale, so forth. It is not science fiction, although it has sometimes
Black holes in fiction
The study of black holes, gravitational sources so massive that light cannot escape from them, goes back to the late 18th century. Major advances in understanding were made throughout the first half of the 20th century, with contributions from many prominent mathematical physicists, though the term black hole was only coined in 1967. With the development of general relativity other properties related to these entities came to be understood, their features have been included in many notable works of fiction. Many works of fiction use ideas or concepts with features similar to the idea of a black hole, predating the coinage of the term "Black Hole" by Wheeler in 1967. Science fiction stories written before this date portray one or two features of black holes but display a naive view of them overall; the Sword of Rhiannon: a novel written by Leigh Brackett published as "The Sea-Kings of Mars" in Thrilling Wonder Stories. In a forgotten tomb of the old Martian god Rhiannon, a strange singularity plunges the hero into the Red Planet's fantastic past.
The tomb encloses a bubble of darkness... those lank black spots far out in the galaxy which some scientists have dreamed are holes in the continuum itself, windows into the infinite outside our universe! Rhiannon is regarded as the best of Brackett's sword and planet works set in the neo-Burroughsian Martian past on the other side of the black hole. Stowaway to the Mushroom Planet: a juvenile science fiction novel written by Eleanor Cameron. Two boys experience adventures and strange encounters on and around the Mushroom Planet, a tiny moon in an invisible orbit around the Earth. One of the hazards of the journey there is a "hole in space," rendered visible by a swarm of meteors that orbits it in a funnel-shaped circle and falls into it to vanish from sight. In the hole... there's no time --. It's all just one big long NOW; as he fell into the hole, Horatio felt as though I were being wrenched bone from bone... That must be; the City and the Stars: the debut novel of Arthur C. Clarke, with the reworked version being considered one of the strongest tales of conceptual breakthrough in genre science fiction.
A once glorious galactic Empire was nearly destroyed by a pure disembodied intelligence called the Mad Mind. The Mad Mind could not be destroyed, it was there imprisoned in a way we do not understand. Its prison was a strange artificial star known as the Black Sun, there it remains to this day; the Black Sun is interpreted as a black hole—an identification made explicit in Gregory Benford's sequel Beyond the Fall of Night. "Kyrie": a short story written by Poul Anderson. An expedition exploring a fresh supernova remnant emerges from jump to face an electromagnetic nebular storm as it draws close to the cataclysm's residual black hole. Rescue is effected by Lucifer, a plasma-based being allied to the ship, who can communicate instantaneously over unlimited distances with the ship's onboard telepath. Exhausted by the effort of fending off the deadly hazard, Lucifer tumbles into the black hole, his death agonies stretched to forever in her mind as his fall in the hole's gravitational field slows his clock asymptotically to zero at the event horizon.
She will never stop hearing his screams, there is no place in the universe where she will find peace. Creatures of Light and Darkness: a novel written by Roger Zelazny. In this novel of science fiction and ancient Egyptian folklore, recognized for its complex plot, mythic resonance, fluent verbal intensity, the god Thoth has ruled the Universe, but now must dedicate all his remaining powers toward containing his archenemy, the Thing That Cries In The Night. Thoth's brother Typhon contains within himself the black hole-like "Skagganauk Abyss", described as: sometimes called the chasm in the sky, the place where it is said that all things stop and nothing exits … empty of space, also, it is a bottomless hole, not a hole, it is a gap in the fabric of space itself … It is the big exit leading nowhere, over, out of it all. In 1958, David Finkelstein identified the Schwarzschild surface of a black hole as an event horizon, extending the commonplace notion that objects beyond a horizon cannot be seen, calling it "a perfect unidirectional membrane: causal influences can cross it in only one direction."
This result helped usher in the golden age of general relativity, marked by general relativity and black holes becoming mainstream subjects of research. Tales tend to portray black holes in a fashion more in accord with modern understanding. An early term for the black hole produced by stellar collapse was "collapsar" with the term black hole itself being introduced by John Wheeler in 1967 and adopted enthusiastically by science fiction writers. In science fiction stories written up to this date, black holes are called by a variety of more or less suggestive names, including "black" and "hole" used in isolation. "He Fell into a Dark Hole": a short story by Jerry Pournelle published in Analog science fiction magazine. Ships are mysteriously disappearing on the direct "Alderson" path from the planet Meiji in the 82 Eridani system to the Earth. In Pournelle's future hi
A starship, starcraft or interstellar spacecraft is a theoretical spacecraft designed for traveling between planetary systems, as opposed to an aerospace-vehicle designed for orbital spaceflight or interplanetary travel. The term is found in science fiction, because such craft is not known to have been constructed. Reference to a "star-ship" appears as early as 1882 in Oahspe: A New Bible. Whilst the Voyager and Pioneer probes have travelled into local interstellar space, the purpose of these uncrewed craft was interplanetary and they are not predicted to reach another star system Several preliminary designs for starships have been undertaken through exploratory engineering, using feasibility studies with modern technology or technology thought to be available in the near future. In April 2016, scientists announced Breakthrough Starshot, a Breakthrough Initiatives program, to develop a proof-of-concept fleet of small centimeter-sized light sail spacecraft, named StarChip, capable of making the journey to Alpha Centauri, the nearest extrasolar star system, at speeds of 20% and 15% of the speed of light, taking between 20 and 30 years to reach the star system and about 4 years to notify Earth of a successful arrival.
On November 8, 2018, Elon Musk announced that SpaceX was renaming the Big Falcon Rocket, a reusable launch vehicle and spacecraft system, to Starship. Though the spacecraft will not possess any reasonable interstellar capability, Musk defended the name by claiming that "later versions will." To travel between stars in a reasonable time using rocket-like technology requires high effective exhaust velocity jet, enormous energy to power this, such as might be provided by fusion power or antimatter. There are few scientific studies that investigate the issues in building a starship; some examples of this include: Project Orion manned interplanetary spacecraft Project Daedalus, unmanned interstellar probe Project Longshot, unmanned interstellar probe Project Icarus, unmanned interstellar probe Hundred-Year Starship, manned interstellar craft See interstellar probes, interstellar travelThe Bussard ramjet is an idea to use nuclear fusion of interstellar gas to provide propulsion. Examined in an October 1973 issue of Analog, the Enzmann Starship proposed using a 12,000 ton ball of frozen deuterium to power thermonuclear powered pulse propulsion units.
Twice as long as the Empire State Building and assembled in-orbit, the proposed spacecraft would be part of a larger project preceded by interstellar probes and telescopic observation of target star systems. The NASA Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Program, was a professional scientific study examining advanced spacecraft propulsion systems. A common literary device is to posit a faster-than-light propulsion system or travel through hyperspace, although some starships may be outfitted for centuries-long journeys of slower-than-light travel. Other designs posit a way to boost the ship to near-lightspeed, allowing "quick" travel to nearer stars; this results in a general categorization of the kinds of starships: Sleeper, which put their passengers into stasis during a long trip. This includes Cryonics-based systems. Generation, where the destination will be reached by descendants of the original passengers. Relativistic, taking advantage of time dilation at close-to-light-speeds, so long trips will seem much shorter.
Faster-than-light, which can move between places quickly. Certain common elements are found in most fiction. Fiction that discusses slower-than-light starships is rare, since the time scales are so long. Instead of describing the interaction with the outside world, those fictions tend to focus on setting the whole story within the world of the starship during its long travels. Sometimes the starship is a world, in reality. Travel at velocities greater than the speed of light is impossible according to the known laws of physics, although apparent FTL is not excluded by general relativity; the Alcubierre drive provides a theoretical way of achieving FTL, although it requires negative mass, which has not yet been discovered. Harold G. White at NASA has designed the White–Juday warp-field interferometer to detect a microscopic instance of a warping of space-time according to the Alcubierre drive; the following is a listing of some of the most known vessels in various science fiction franchises. The most prominent cultural use and one of the earliest common uses of the term starship was in Star Trek: The Original Series.
This list is not exhaustive. Andromeda Ascendant Battlestar Galactica Heart of Gold High Charity Hyperion Jupiter 2 Long Shot Moya NSEA Protector SDF-1 Macross SSV Normandy UNSC Infinity USG Ishimura USS Sulaco Yamato White Star Star Trek starships USS Defiant USS Enterprise USS Voyager Stargate starships Star Wars starships Millennium Falcon Star Destroyers Starship Dimensions (to-scale size comparison
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
Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction
Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction is a subgenre of science fiction, science fantasy or horror in which the Earth's technological civilization is collapsing or has collapsed. The apocalypse event may be climatic, such as runaway climate change; the story may involve attempts to prevent an apocalypse event, deal with the impact and consequences of the event itself, or it may be post-apocalyptic, set after the event. The time frame may be after the catastrophe, focusing on the travails or psychology of survivors, the way to maintain the human race alive and together as one, or later including the theme that the existence of pre-catastrophe civilization has been forgotten. Post-apocalyptic stories take place in a non-technological future world or a world where only scattered elements of society and technology remain. Various ancient societies, including the Babylonian and Judaic, produced apocalyptic literature and mythology which dealt with the end of the world and of human society, such as the Epic of Gilgamesh, written c.
2000–1500 BC. Recognizable modern apocalyptic novels had existed since at least the first third of the 19th century, when Mary Shelley's The Last Man was published. However, this form of literature gained widespread popularity after World War II, when the possibility of global annihilation by nuclear weapons entered the public consciousness; the apocalypse event may be climatic, such as runaway climate change. The story may involve attempts to prevent an apocalypse event, deal with the impact and consequences of the event itself, or may be post-apocalyptic, be set after the event; the time frame may be after the catastrophe, focusing on the travails or psychology of survivors, the way to maintain the human race alive and together as one, or later including the theme that the existence of pre-catastrophe civilization has been forgotten. Post-apocalyptic stories take place in a non-technological future world, or a world where only scattered elements of society and technology remain. Other themes may be cybernetic revolt, divine judgment, ecological collapse, resource depletion, supernatural phenomena, technological singularity, or some other general disaster.
The scriptural story of Noah and his Ark describes the end of the corrupted original civilization and its replacement with a remade world. Noah is assigned the task to build the Ark and save the lifeforms so as to reestablish a new post-flood world. Numerous other societies, including the Babylonian, had produced apocalyptic literature and mythology which dealt with the end of the world and of human society. Many of which included stories that refer back to the Biblical Noah or describe a similar flood; the Epic of Gilgamesh, written ca. 2000–1500 BC, details a myth where the angry gods send floods to punish humanity, but the ancient hero Utnapishtim and his family are saved through the intervention of the god Ea. A similar story about the Genesis flood narrative is found in Sura 71 of the Quran, where prophet Noah, Nūḥ, builds the ark and rebuilds humanity. In the Hindu Dharmasastra, the apocalyptic deluge plays a prominent part. According to the Matsya Purana, the Matsya avatar of Lord Vishnu, informed the King Manu of an all-destructive deluge which would be coming soon.
The King was advised to build a huge boat which housed his family, nine types of seeds, pairs of all animals and the Saptarishis to repopulate the Earth, after the deluge would end and the oceans and seas would recede. At the time of deluge, Vishnu appeared as a horned fish and Shesha appeared as a rope, with which Vaivasvata Manu fastened the boat to the horn of the fish. Variants of this story appear in Buddhist and Jain scriptures; the first centuries AD saw the recording of the Book of Revelation, filled with prophecies of destruction, as well as luminous visions. In the first chapter of Revelation, the writer St. John the Divine explains his divine errand: "Write the things which thou hast seen, the things which are, the things which shall be hereafter", he takes it as his mission to convey—to reveal—to God’s kingdom His promise that justice will prevail and that the suffering will be vindicated. The apocalyptist provides a beatific vision of Judgement Day, revealing God’s promise for redemption from suffering and strife.
Revelation describes a New Heaven and a New Earth, its intended Christian audience is enchanted and inspired, rather than terrified by visions of Judgment Day. These Christians believed themselves chosen for God’s salvation, so such apocalyptic sensibilities inspired optimism and nostalgia for the end times; such works feature the loss of a global perspective as protagonists are on their own with little or no knowledge of the outside world. Furthermore, they explore a world without modern technology whose rapid progress may overwhelm people as human brains aren't adapted to contemporary society but evolved to deal with issues that have become irrelevant such as immediate physical threats; such works depict worlds of less complexity, direct contact, primitive needs