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Science Fiction Literature/Introduction and Historical Overview

< Science Fiction Literature

Science fictions generally to have flowered as a literary genre in the twentieth century. Authors composed works in the genre before 1900, of course, but these works are generally not considered pure science fiction. They usually contain an admixture from other genres. Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, for instance, is also considered literary fiction and contains elements of gothic horror. A useful label for all pre-twentieth century science fiction is the Gutenberg library's designation "Precursors of Science Fiction".

1 Lucian of Samosata, ca. 120 - 180

  • Vera Historia

This first precursor tells of a group of travelers who voyage beyond the Gates of Hercules, are blown off course, and travel all the way to the Moon.

2 Voltaire, 1694-1778

  • Romans — Volume 3: Micromégas (French)

3 Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, 1797-1851

  • Frankenstein
  • The Last Man

4 Edward Bulwer Lytton 1803-1873

  • The Coming Race

5 W. H. Hudson 1841-1922

  • A Crystal Age

6 Richard Jefferies 1847-1887

  • After London, or Wild England

7 Fitz-James O'brien

  • The Diamond Lens

8 Mark Twain, 1835-1910

  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

9 Stevenson, Robert Louis, 1850-1894

  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

10. H. G. Wells

  • The Time Machine
  • The War of the World
  • The Island of Doctor Moreau
  • The Invisible Man

11. Jules Verne

  • Journey to the Center of the Earth
  • 20,000 Leagues under the Sea