Science fiction origins
Ancient Greek knowledge of travel inspired early forms of science fiction literature. Science fiction tradition begins with an incredible journeys Odysseus of Homer’s “Odyssey”. Dr. Karen Ni – Mheallaigh from Liverpool examines how contemporary theories of science fiction literature can be adapted to old-world texts. And there were the stories that really aroused imaginative power. Writer Lucian of Samosata (A.D.125-after A.D.180) wrote “A True Story” (a fictional narrative work). He anticipated “modern” fictional themes like voyages to the moon and Venus, extraterrestrial life and wars between planets (interstellar wars) centuries before Jules Verne and H. G. Wells.
Antihanes of Berge wrote about his travels in the far north of Europe, where it was so cold, that “all conversations froze in a chilly air “.
The famous ancient historian Herodotus claimed that one can meet flying snakes and giant gold digging ants in India.
Surprising is the fact that many of the stories have been written in the form of real travel descriptions and historical texts.
Everyone knows the story of Ptolemy’s mysterious Atlantis and its tragic demise in the ocean’s depth. Greeks have been fascinated and attracted by the exotic and other worlds. Some writers travelled in their own curiosity huge distances to the North and the Far East to this purpose. Cultures found by them behind “civilized” Greek mores, inspired them to dream and think about much further and more exotic worlds. It seems that the Greeks wanted to take everything for real money, so writers lined their adventures in the form of travel notebook or gave pseudo-documentary evidence as a base to their discoveries, such as re-discovered texts or created dedications. Lucian was the first who dared to admit that everything he was writing was artifice. In spite of this, it is considered that his writing style has always convinced readers to hold this to be true.
His writing style allows the reader to think “what it would have been, if …”.
Medieval and new age writers created fantastic stories following the Greek tradition: Dante (“The Divine Comedy”), J.W. Goethe (“Faust”), Voltaire (“Micromégas”), Jonathan Swift (“Gulliver’s Travel”), G.A. Buerger (“Baron Munchhausen”) and others.
Video about the history of sci fi: