Science Fiction Beginnings

Science fiction is a very popular book genre.

But sci-fi wasn’t always accepted as “real writing”.

Sharing an interesting fact about the development of science fiction into a recognized and respected form of 20th century literature.

Though science fiction enjoys a wide audience of readers today, it’s not the type of story that suits my reading preferences. Would much rather watch a well done film adaptation of a sci-fi novel. Why? Because a lot of the language in SF books is too complicated for me. (Everybody’s brain works different.) But to see an apocalyptic catastrophe on the big screen? Totally get it!  Additionally, extreme relief washes over me to know that the event is just a product of a writer’s detailed research and overactive imagination. Whew!  So it’s great that science fiction book writers have a loyal fan base because their novels might be made into fantastic movies!


bykst / Pixabay


If you are a sci-fi book fan, this information likely comes as no revelation, but it was news to me!  According to Kingsley Amis, there are three literary works thought of as precursors of OR that in some way created an opening for the SF genre to find its way into the hearts of book lovers:

  1. Voltaire’s Micromégas;
  2. Shakespeare’s The Tempest; and
  3. Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.


Jonathan Swift’s Lilliputians? OK. A land of little people sounds like science fiction. But François-Marie Arouet, aka Voltaire, and William Shakespeare? Writers of sci-fi? Amis published his survey of science fiction in 1960; however, it was first delivered as a lecture series.

New Maps of Hell
Amis, Kingsley W. New Maps of Hell. New York: Ballantine, 1960. Print.


  • Jonathan Swift (1667 – 1745)
  • François-Marie Arouet aka Voltaire (1694 – 1778)
  • William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)
  • Sir Kingsley William Amis, CBE (1922 – 1995)



Featured image credit: Wikimedia Commons

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