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Prehistory & early history of Science Fiction SOAR – Global SF Spring 2010 D. W. Koon.

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Presentation on theme: "Prehistory & early history of Science Fiction SOAR – Global SF Spring 2010 D. W. Koon."— Presentation transcript:

1 Prehistory & early history of Science Fiction SOAR – Global SF Spring 2010 D. W. Koon

2 Prehistory of SF  Homer (ca. 850 BCE?)  Lucian of Samosata (b. 125AD)  Kepler (1634)  Cyrano de Bergerac (1657)  Raspé: Munchausen (1785)  Munchausen by Doré: Wikipedia munchausen-illustration.jpg

3 Homer (850 BCE?)  Iliad: Hephaestus (Vulcan) creates mechanical help-mates. e.g. Talose.g. Talos  Guardian of Crete  Made of Copper From “A history of Science Fiction: prehistory”, Dr. Agatha Taormina, NVCC-Loudoun, Image: Computational Vision and Robotics Laboratory, Heraklion, Crete, Greece,

4 Lucian of Samosata (b. 125 A.D.)  Icaromenippos (Journey through the air) : using strap-on wings to reach Moon. Interplanetary voyageInterplanetary voyage Prosthetic limbsProsthetic limbs CyborgsCyborgs From “A history of Science Fiction: prehistory”, Dr. Agatha Taormina, NVCC- Loudoun, Lucian Picture: Wikipedia, Icarus Picture: Aviation University

5 Some French proto-SF and modern SF 1657 deBergerac: Comical History...Moon Voltaire: Micromégas visitors from other planets...and many more Jules Verne: Five weeks in a balloon. Dropoff in French SF during US Golden Age of SF. Recovery since late 1950s, but in the image of Anglo SF? &

6 French literature: Jules Verne ( )  Over 50 works, from : A Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1864)A Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1864) From the Earth to the Moon (1865)From the Earth to the Moon (1865) Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1869–1870)Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1869–1870) Around the World in Eighty Days (1873)Around the World in Eighty Days (1873) 

7 Early SF film (& horror, adventure, fantasy, etc.) SOAR – Global SF Spring 2010 D. W. Koon

8 Le voyage dans la lune (1902)  Georges Méliès, France (Bacon number = 4). Directed 561 films,  A bullet-like rocket is fired from a cannon, lands on Moon. Adventures with the natives ensue. Revolutionary special effects.  Other films include The Impossible Voyage (1904). (Journey through Alps to the Sun)

9 Himmelskibet (“Airship” 1917) Holger-Madsen, Denmark. Appeared in English under a variety of names. Earthlings visit Mars, convert to vegetarianism, pacifism from natives, spread the message back home.

10 Der Golem (1914, 1920)  Paul Wegener, Germany (also plays the Golem).  60 min.  Taken from Jewish folk legend, 16 th Century automaton created to protect the Jews of Prague. Contains the precursor to machine programming. (Emet → Meit = truth → death)  One of first examples of German Expressionism in film (See Metropolis)

11 Classics  1924 Aelita. Yakov Protazanov, USSR.  1926 Metropolis. Fritz Lang, Germany. w.jpg  1929 Woman in the Moon. Lang. Origin of the … countdown.Origin of the … countdown.

12 Flash Gordon v Buck Rogers  Popular US serials, typically episodes each Flash Gordon: Space Soldiers1936 Flash Gordon: Space Soldiers 1938 Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars1938 Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars 1939 Buck Rogers Conquers the Universe1939 Buck Rogers Conquers the Universe 1940 Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe1940 Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe Flash: Buck:

13 Conclusions?  Longer and longer films, thanks to advances in the technology.  Better and better special effects, production values.  Sensational genres = big box office: horror, adventure, science fiction (before it had a name), noir.

14 The pulp era of Science Fiction (“Scientifiction”) SOAR – Global SF Spring 2010 D. W. Koon

15 Pulp-era SF  Cheap, lowbrow magazines for mass consumption. “Pulp” refers to the quality of paper used, as opposed to the “slicks”.  “Pulps” published SF, detective (e.g. noir), romance, horror, Western, true crime  Is this the “Golden Age” of Science Fiction?  What is the “Golden Age” of Science Fiction?

16 The Frank Reade series: Dime store novels and penny dreadfuls  Steam Man: the world’s first robot:  Steam Man of the Prairies: 1865; Steam Man of the Plains:

17 Frank Reade, continued Frank Reade’s Victorian Airships: “Steam rules!”

18 “Highbrow” SF novels of the era  Jules Verne ( ). SF from 1863 to 1904.SF from 1863 to Wikipedia: g/wiki/Jules_VerneWikipedia: g/wiki/Jules_Verne  Herbert George Wells ( ). SF from SF from Time MagazineTime Magazine /time/covers/0,16641, ,00.html ?internalid=AChttp://www.time.com /time/covers/0,16641, ,00.html ?internalid=AC

19 Edgar Rice Burroughs ( )  Tarzan series ( )  Barsoom or John Carter of Mars series ( )  Believed that "...if people were paid for writing rot such as I read in some of those magazines that I could write stories just as rotten. As a matter of fact, although I had never written a story, I knew absolutely that I could write stories just as entertaining and probably a whole lot more so than any I chanced to read in those magazines." Erbzine:

20 Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars (1912) erbzine.com, amazon.com

21 Hugo Gernsback ( )  1904 Immigrates from Luxembourg  1905 Founds Electric Importing Company  1911 Writes Ralph 124C 41+  1926 Founds Amazing Stories  1929 Starts Wonder Tales  Great Depression: Radio Craft, Short Wave Craft, Sexology  80 patents at time of death  1953 First Hugo Awards awarded for science fiction. Wikipedia.org

22 Ralph 124C 41+: Hugo Gernsback (1911) Predictions: Radar 2-way TV Solar energy collection Fluorescent lighting Tape recording Synthetic fabrics Frank R. Paul gallery: 1.5A.html

23 Pulp SF classics: Amazing Stories (Gernsback,1926)

24 John W. Campbell, Jr. ( )  SF Author, Editor, Mentor  Editor, , of Astounding Science Fiction (Analog since 1960).  “Stable of writers” includes Heinlein, Asimov, Sturgeon, van Vogt, L. Ron Hubbard  Memorial prizes for Best SF Novel, Best New Writer in his honor delos/delos55/img/robot/ asimov/john-w-campbell.jpg

25 Pulp SF covers: Astounding Science Fiction

26 More pulp SF: Buxom babes and bug-eyed monsters

27 What is the “Golden Age” of Science Fiction? “The Golden Age of Science Fiction is thirteen.” – Terry Carr? Damon Knight? Isaac Asimov? Harlan Ellison? James Blish? Peter Graham?

28 Works cited  The Ultimate Science Fiction Guide site, SF/SF-Index.html.  The Internet Movie Database,  Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org.

29 Works Cited “A history of Science Fiction: prehistory”, Dr. Agatha Taormina, NVCC-Loudoun, history of Science Fiction: prehistory”, Dr. Agatha Taormina, NVCC-Loudoun, Images:Images:  Munchausen by Doré: Wikipedia illustration.jpg  Talos: Computational Vision and Robotics Laboratory, Heraklion, Crete, Greece,  Lucian: Wikipedia,  Icarus: Icarus Picture: Aviation University if


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