Scientific fiction constitutes a fictional genre that addresses the effect accrued to imaginative innovation(s) which occur in science/technology, and several times in settings that are futuristic. It is different from fantasy within the story context due to the fact that its component of imagination is to a vast extent scientific in nature and can be defined in terms of natural laws (perhaps there may be instances of imaginary speculations). The exploration of the outcomes of the variations in sci-fi brings about its fundamental purpose and makes it literature-of-idea.
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This paper will compare/contrast classic scientific fiction from prominent writers such as Heinlein, Asimov, and Bradbury (ancient writers) against recent science-fiction writers such as Tim Maly, Mike Krath, Jack London, and a number of others. The paper will also discuss the attribute of change and evolution of the genre in sci-fi over the years as well as the constancy that has continued to be obtained in science fiction. This will be achieved through addressing the antagonistic, protagonistic, theme, technological, world-building, and the scientific aspect of sci-fi elements involved with the science fiction under consideration.
Science Fiction Genre
A genre ordinarily constitutes an array of likely themes which are threefold. Sci-fi only has a number of able themes which have run all through history; before 1950, sci-fi was not quite popular. Several sci-fi stories go along with prophetic structures and are usually timed in the future. Studies have reviewed that:
‘They are usually visualized through fanciful settings and advanced technology gadgets, scientific developments or by amazing special effects’ (Wolfe 24).
With regards to movies, a strong theme supports the expression of technological anxiety as well as forecasts and controls impacts on technology and changes on the environment. A lot of individuals make use of technology daily without any peculiar knowledge of the machinery working system. A majority of movies express ignorance as well as the repercussion of technological advances underestimation. Disch notes the following of such movies:
‘There will be encounters with aliens, creatures or beings, of which a battle will occur, good vs. evil scenario’ (26).
Quite frankly, these aliens may not be consistently bad; especially considering E.T-the- extra-terrestrial. However, invading alien movies which were written in the war days of the fifties presented humankind as victims who desperately desired mercies. An example could be found in Independence Day which has quite a number of desired mercies. An example could be found in Independence Day which has quite a number of strong themes and aliens.
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Barron has noted:
‘Science fiction films tend to attempt to figure out the future, set in the future and extraordinary creatures created by misguided mad scientists’ (928).
Classic Sci-fi such as Asimov, Heinlein, and Bradbury vs More Contemporary Writer-works
The themes in classic sci-fi were treated with an attitude that fashioned sequential suspensions through presentations of great technological inventions of the time, such as spaceships to audiences that surely marveled at developments in the science world. A number of these classics such as found in the works of Asimov, Heinlein, and Bradbury had domination of military/political situations/characters with incidental moments of horror. This deviates in a great sense from contemporary works of sci-fi which are often structured with humor; an example could be found at The End of the World as we know it. The latter presents themes that define human nature through narrations that express the potential of humans to prevail in the presence of danger, hostility, and unfriendly forces. A major driving force of themes for classic science fictions has been noted by Reginald as follow:
‘The War politics undoubtedly contributed to suspicion and paranoia of anything ‘Un-American’. All forces were often a metaphor for Communism’ (47).
In works of Asimov and those of Bradbury, themes are presented to project reasons for the audience to believe in the powers of science whereas most contemporary works would rather project a patriotic spirit in the audiences. For more contemporary works, the themes could further be subdivided into sub-narratives that are most times hoped to generate a sense of realism as well as emotional responses and may include various characters from varying ethnic and social backgrounds which could be inter-chained and a sense of positivity and negativism. Otherwise, this may have articles such as identification of age and sex. It is necessary to clearly define sci-fi as it stands out from fantasy.
Science fiction and fantasy stories are make-believe tales. Fantasy stories are unlikely tales that have strange or imagined characters, places, or events. Science fiction stories are about life in the future or life on other planets (Weldes 39).
Evolution of Science Fiction
Based on the fact that Science fiction development has become quite synonymous with life structural development, searching for a favorable niche amidst of humankinds’ environment, there is a structure of evolution of punctuation in the equilibrium which supports it development and has a natural occurrence recently. Sci-fi and science usually compliment each other. Thus Clute augurs that:
When Science is popular, science fiction is frowned upon. When the soft, sociological sciences are making the greatest strides, science fiction turns to hard technology. When scientists are reluctant to consider the implications of their research, science fiction provides a valuable forum for speculation and cautions (228).
The Literary Nature of Science Fiction
The recognition of science fiction as a form of literature has only been completely accepted in recent years. This can be linked with the critical change of individuals’ attitude to the section as well as how there has been constituted pressure persistently against an enhanced and better genre of sci-fi. The reason for this is argued by Westfahl thus:
‘The history of science fiction is, in miniature, the history of all creative writing’ (34).
Through there is a changes in the history of sci-fi, a corresponding change in quality and content of sci-fi has become unstoppable.
The innovative aspect of science fiction is linked with the provision of criticism in the development of technology. Studies by Clute and Peter (20) agree that the reason is based on dialogues between scientific fictions and technological innovations. Reginald says:
‘Technology does impact how artists portray their fictionalized subjects, but the fictional world gives back to science by broadening imagination’ (542).
Authors/filmmakers rely greatly on vast spectrum of knowledge. However, the marketing section as well as literary-critics assume the separation of literary/cinematic work(s) into a number of groupings or ‘genres’ –which are further reduced to sub-genres.
These are not simple pigeonholes; works can be overlapped into two or more commonly-defined genres, while others are beyond the generic boundaries, either outside or between categories, and the categories and genres used by mass markets and literary criticism differ considerably (Reginald 67).
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Scientific fiction has been considered as constituting fictional genre that addresses the effect accrued to imaginative innovation(s) which occur in science/technology, and several times in settings that are futuristic. The paper has noted that it is different from fantasy within the story-context due to the fact that its component of imagination is to a vast extent scientific in nature and can be defined in terms of natural laws.
This paper has also compare/contrast classic scientific fictions from prominent writers such as Heinlein, Asimov, and Bradbury against recent science-fiction writers such as Tim Maly, Mike Krath, Jack London and a number of others. Effort is also made in discussing the attribute of change and evolution of genre in sci-fic over years as well as the constancy that has continue to be obtained in science fictions. This has been achieved through addressing the antagonistic, protagonistic, theme, and technological, world-building, and the scientific aspect of sci-fi elements involved with the science fictions under consideration.
Barron, Neil. Anatomy of Wonder: A Critical Guide to Science Fiction. Westport: Libraries Unlimited, 2004. Print.
Clute, John and Peter Nicholls. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. St Albans: Granada Publishing, 1979. Print.
Clute, John. Science Fiction: The Illustrated Encyclopedia. London: Dorling Kindersley, 1995. Print.
Disch, Thomas. The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of. New York: The Free Press, 1998. Print.
Reginald, Robert. Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature, 1975-1991. Washington: Gale, 1992. Print.
Weldes, Jutta. To Seek Out New Worlds: Exploring Links between Science Fiction and World Politics. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. Print.
Westfahl, Gary. The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy: Themes, Works, and Wonders. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2005. Print.
Wolfe, Gary. Critical terms for Science Fiction and Fantasy: A Glossary and Guide to Scholarship. New York: Greenwood Press, 1986. Print.