With its legion of fans, active subculture, and own awards (the Hugo, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick awards), Science Fiction now seems to inhabit its own self-sustained literary universe. Science Fiction humbly began as a category of speculative fiction that was... [more]
With its legion of fans, active subculture, and own awards (the Hugo, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick awards), Science Fiction now seems to inhabit its own self-sustained literary universe. Science Fiction humbly began as a category of speculative fiction that was infatuated with the possibilities of the machine; however, Science Fiction came into its own as a specific genre by the turn of the twentieth century.
Since its debut, two basic themes have emerged: the ideal of a technocratic utopia and the cautionary tale of technological doom. The latter dystopian mood preoccupied writers of the 1950s and 1960s, who began exploring the social, psychological, and ecological tangle of unfettered scientific and technological growth. By the late 1960s, the genre, which had been dismissed in highbrow intellectual circles as pulp trash, enjoyed a new literary luster as now-classic authors Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury popularized Science Fiction for a larger mainstream audience.
Today, splinter categories like Cyberpunk, Feminist Science Fiction, and Dark Fantasy continue to proliferate as the once-specialized genre dominates both our worldview and everyday reality. Hi-tech computers and hand-held robots have left the ranks of action figures to become mundane realities, bringing past speculations to life in our technologically enhanced world. Asimov's elaborate techno-visions and Ray Bradbury's science-fantasy hybrids led the way for contemporary Science Fiction's diverse images of the future. Marian Zimmer Bradley's Feminist fantasy worlds, Arthur C. Clarke's mystic technologic vistas, Philip K. Dick's hallucinatory dystopias, and Bruce Sterling's Cyberpunk nightmares continue to revise tomorrow in our present day. [show less]