Introduction: Science and the Rise of Science Fiction

  • Russell Blackford
Part of the Science and Fiction book series (SCIFICT)


Science fiction is a cultural response to the revolutions in science and technology during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. These altered the existing methods of industry and production, understandings of the universe and ourselves, and concepts of time and history. All of this offered new opportunities for storytelling. Science fiction arose in the nineteenth century as a narrative mode or genre defined by its characteristic forms of rationality, novelty, and realism. Most typically, it depicts future developments in social organization, science, and/or technology, and its main themes include the uses of technoscience and the effects of technological change. Science fiction writers have employed the characteristic tropes of SF to engage with a wide variety of philosophical and moral questions.


  1. Aldiss, B. W. (1973). Billion year spree: The history of science fiction. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.Google Scholar
  2. Aldiss, B. W., & Wingrove, D. (1986). Trillion year spree: The history of science fiction. London: Gollancz.Google Scholar
  3. Asimov, I. (1981). Asimov on science fiction. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  4. Bernal, J. D. (1970). The world, the flesh, and the devil: An inquiry into the future of the three enemies of the rational soul. London: Jonathan Cape (Orig. pub. 1929).Google Scholar
  5. Brigg, P. (1977). Three styles of Arthur C. Clarke: The projector, the wit, and the mystic. In J. D. Olander & M. H. Greenberg (Eds.), Arthur C. Clarke (pp. 15–51). New York: Taplinger.Google Scholar
  6. Broderick, D. (1995). Reading by starlight: Postmodern science fiction. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Frye, N. (1957). Anatomy of criticism: Four essays. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Gaukroger, S. (2006). The emergence of a scientific culture: Science and the shaping of modernity, 1210–1685. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gunn, J. (2006). Inside science fiction (2nd ed.). Lanham, MD: Scarecrow.Google Scholar
  10. Hillegas, M. R. (1967). The future as nightmare: H.G. Wells and the anti-utopians. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Lear, J. (1965). Kepler’s dream. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  12. Nahin, P. J. (2014). Holy sci-fi!: Where science fiction and religion intersect. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  13. Nichols, R., Smith, N. D., & Miller, F. (2009). Philosophy through science fiction: A coursebook with readings. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Oxford English Dictionary. Third edition (online version). (November 3, 2015.)Google Scholar
  15. Schneider, S. (Ed.). (2009). Science fiction and philosophy: From time travel to superintelligence. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  16. Scholes, R. (1975). Structural fabulation: An essay on fiction of the future. Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Suvin, D. (1979). Metamorphoses of science fiction: On the poetics and history of a literary genre. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Russell Blackford
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Humanities and Social ScienceUniversity of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia

Personalised recommendations