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What Is Science Fiction? Discuss in Relation to at Least Two Works

Autor:   •  March 10, 2016  •  Essay  •  1,499 Words (6 Pages)  •  643 Views

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3.        What is science fiction? Discuss in relation to at least two works.


From Social Commentary to exploring human conditions to political criticisms, Literary fiction occurs in various forms. Science fiction is one of them. It is growing really fast as a genre, in a world undergoing scientific advancement at a good pace.

Therefore, the purpose of this essay is to understand about Science fiction conceptually and also through some popular works.

The essay tries to discuss the topic by defining the topic and its origins first, before getting into details of features of science fiction; and then about how different it is from fantasy. Furthermore, it tries to present two case studies to understand how the work of Science Fiction looks, each followed by an analysis of the work.


Science fiction is one such style of writing which combines fiction and scientific knowledge. It is tough to define the topic as it is as large as human imagination. To explain broadly, the plot creates situations unseen in the present day or the known past and makes them look realistic through scientific backing; and the writer considers scientific possibilities and develops them step by step from known data to make a believable story to the audience.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines science fiction as ‘imaginative fiction based on postulated scientific discoveries or spectacular environmental changes, frequently set in the future or on other planets and involving space or time travel’. The sense of scientific fiction can be observed commonly when the story-telling takes cognizance of scientific concepts and incorporates them into the story towards setting the plot in an imaginative world.


There are two broad approaches commonly ascribed to the origins of Science Fiction.

One considers Science fiction to be as old as literature itself. There are appearances to justify this, like- heroic protagonists seeking new worlds from the ancient Sumerian Epic of ‘Gilgamesh’ (written perhaps in 2000 BC); and plastic surgeries interchanging the organs of man and elephant from the ancient Hindu mythologies (composed around 600 AD).

Other considers Science Fiction to be a recent innovation going back no further than hundred years, to H G Wells and Jules Verne, giving it a youthful profile. This stand is justified by the perception that scientific way of thinking did not develop until 17th century and did not really seep into the society until the 19th century.

Features of Science fiction:

Like the definition of Science fiction, it is also tough to list the features.

 The themes are developed by asking oneself- “What if?” Based on the study of popular science fiction stories from the past, following are some of the commonly observed themes: space travel; time travel; biological changes to man; supernatural powers; aliens; alternate powers; and use of science in human emotions. But, by the inherent nature of evolution of science, the themes of science fiction keep changing. For instance, the idea of robots, their context in the story and their presentation changed as technology progressed.


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