LRWG # 06 a new article (part 2) The school allowed me to submit a new article.
| For generations science fiction writers have taken us places we can only dream of going. The genre began with three men, writers touted as the father of science fiction by critics and fans alike. They shared a drive of imagination, creativity, and for two of them a tedious professional relationship. These three men who are directly responsible for the genre are Hugo Gernsback (1884-1967), Jules Verne (1828-1905), and H. G. Wells (1866-1946).
Hugo Gernsback was more the first publisher with his magazine dedicated to the genre. Amazing Stories was a periodical that began publication in April 1926. Three years later he lost the company in a bankruptcy. Not to be dismayed, he went on to found two other magazines, Science Wonder Stories and‚ Air Wonder Stories. In 1930 he merged these two magazines into one titled Wonder Stories. He then sold this publication in 1936. After a significant break, he returned to publication in 1952-53 with Science-Fiction Plus.His legacy begins with genre publications and continues today with the Hugo Award.
Jules Verne, a French author who studied law in Paris wrote opera librettos and plays. Verne took us on many adventures, including 20,000 Thousand Leagues Under The Sea (1870), A Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), Around the World in Eighty Days (1873), From the Earth to the Moon (1866) and Mysterious Island (1874).
Herbert George Wells, an English author and political philosopher, was famous for his science-fantasy novels with their depictions of the triumphs of technology as well as the horrors of the twentieth century. H.G. Wells wrote about incredible adventures in The Time Machine (1895), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1895), The Invisible Man (1897), and The War of the Worlds (1898).
It is amazing to consider that these authors created their masterpieces in a time when technology was in its infancy. Back then cars and computers were unheard of. And yet Verne and Wells both imagined technologies, such as time travel, that even today seem futuristic.
There is an entire universe out there waiting to be explored by writers eager to open the doors to their insights and visions. To aid them is an expanse of information both science fact and fiction. This includes speculative scientific discoveries, environmental changes, space travel, and life on other planets. We only have to look at the examples of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells to see the wonder and understand the evolution of this genre.
Sadly these men were more competitors than friends. It was rumored that Wells once claimed "Verne couldn't write himself out of a paper sack." In turn, Verne had made accusations that Wells had "scientifically implausible ideas." With today's understanding of science, neither of them may have been all that accurate. However, their philosophies are intriguing and the adventures of their books make early science fiction enjoyable to read.
Verne's story Around the World in Eighty Days proves that he did have an understanding of the human psyche. It is a clear depiction of man's competitive spirit and drive to attempt the impossible. He peppers this tale with the narcissistic tendencies of perfectionism and preciseness. Whether intentionally or not, he does an excellent job portraying these human quirks.
Wells' tale The Island of Dr. Moreau, written when research on DNA and genetics was all but non-existent, may well be the first fictional depiction of mutant humans. Today mutants abound in fiction, but usually as heroes, like Superman, and Spiderman. Unlike today's mutant heroes, Wells portrayed his creations as victims.
It is doubtful that either Wells or Verne had even an inkling of the world of fiction they had created and the incredible future it would have. Their work paved the way for future creators such as Timothy Zahn of Star Wars, Stan Lee who is best known for his comic books The X-Men, and Evan Innes who wrote the series America 2040.
While complex in their lives and philosophies, Verne and Wells shared similar passions. Both had a desire to write and share their imaginations. Perhaps they had unusual insights into things yet to come, an ability to see into the future. As they cannot be interviewed for their opinions we must resort to historical records. From them we can speculate how these gentlemen thought and what drove them to write the future.
The European brand of the genre began near the end of the nineteenth century with the scientific romances of Jules Verne. His science leaned toward invention, while H.G. Wells focused on the science-oriented novels of social criticism.
In retrospect, the development of American science fiction as a self-conscious genre dates from 1926. During this time, between the 1880s and the 1930s, inexpensive magazines published science fiction side by side with other genres of horror and fantasy. Such magazines included Argosy, Bluebook, Weird Tales, Amazing Stories, and All-Story. Only Amazing Stories was devoted entirely to science fiction because of the interests of its editor and publisher Hugo Gernsback.
Following the path laid by Verne and Wells, Gernsback continued to pave the way for future writers of the genre. He opened the doors for the talents of such famous writers as Talbot Mundy (1879-1940), Edgar Wallace (1875-1932), A, Merritt (1884-1943) and Arthur Henry Ward (1883-1959) E.E. "Doc" Smith (1890-1965) was the father of the space opera. Key publications include: Skylark of Space (1928) in Argosy and the Gray Lensman Series.
Karel Capek, a Czechoslovakian is most noted as the author of Rossum's Universal Robots (1920), a play that introduced the word "robot," a Czech word for "work," into the English language. His other notable work is the novel War with the Newts (1936).
C.S. Lewis (1898-1963), a scholar and essayist well known for his writings on Christianity wrote Perelandra Trilogy (1943), that asks whether Christ died for aliens as well as humans. He also wrote the children's classic series The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950). This is a series of children's novels with Christian allegory presented as juvenile fantasy. Other works of Lewis' include That Hideous Strength (1945) and Out of the Silent Planet (1938).
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) wrote Brave New World (1932), set in an altered society six centuries in the future. Olaf Stapleton (1886-1950) turned scientific concepts into vast epic prose poems. Key works included Last and the First Men: A Story of the Near and Far Future (1930), Starmaker (1937), and Odd John (1935). This list concludes with James Hilton who wrote Lost Horizon (1933), about the mythical land of Shangri-la.
These are just a handful of the many writers of science fiction, shining diadems of history. From this vault, many have been inspired to tell their tales. Writers have these names and many more to thank.
Were it not for minds such as Wells and Verne braving the path, allowing for others to follow, science-fiction would not be where it is today. Fans would not bare witness to the aspects of these creations.
Another prime example would be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) who is best known for the Sherlock Holmes Mysteries beginning with A Study in Scarlet (1887) and spanning his career through 1927 and The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes.
Doyle expanded his career with adventures of The Lost World (1912) the story of a small group of adventurers stranded on an isolated plateau where dinosaurs and many other extinct species existed.
According to Barnes and Nobles, one of the major bookstore chains in the United States, the science fiction genre keeps growing and expanding every year. Fans still anxiously await the arrivals of new works from their favorite writers.
After 150 years science fiction is stronger and more popular than ever. With every generation, we see a new crop of writers venturing into this genre. They continue to fuel the fires of our imaginations sparked by Gernsback, Verne, and Wells.