Aliens, robots, outer space life and superpowers have been in human imagination and fantasies since long time ago. From Jules Verne to Stan Lee’s amazing Marvel Universe and George Lucas’ Star Wars, humans have been anticipating how the future would be. Different points of views have been point out like a dystopian future, others use this genre to manifest their political views, and recently genetics have been establish in the plot. As someone told me once, science fiction can be a total non fiction tomorrow. Time, as always have been, will tell.
Probably the first science fiction book in the whole history of literature, by Luciano de Samosata, someone who lived in the second century.
At this time, in Samosata (today Turkey), a city of the Roman Empire, this man wrote about an island whose rivers were made of wine and the trees were shaped like women. He later flew to the moon where the narrator and his traveling companions meet alien inhabitants facing a galactic war with the people of the sun for the conquest of the morning star.
Even at this time the space was in the imagination of several fellows. And so it goes.
The story is a satire of the time. It is like a mockery to the reader when, in the abrupt end, he affirms that the story is not true at all, which contrasts with the irony of the title.
It has two books. The first is a discussion with a traveller named Raphael where he critiques the actual politics of the time, including the monarchy in France. The second book Raphael leads the narrator to a place called Utopia located in the New World. The society here is very different from Paris even the religion. There are moon worshippers, sun worshippers and planet worshippers. The narrator even describes a utopian alphabet.
Although there are not aliens,robots or travels to outer space, the fact of an imaginary society in the new world (not well known at the time) really make it a pro science fiction literature.
Cavendish emphasize her feminist and political views in a story full of androgynous animals living in an imaginary place in the north pole. The author narrates the kidnap of a young lady near the sea by a group of men. While in shipwreck there’s a tornado that flow all of them to a fantastic place in the north pole. Everyone freeze to death except the young kidnapped lady. Enough said that the light of her beauty saved her from being frozen to death. Later the creatures appears and the story begins. In a conversation between the lady and the anthropogenic characters they describe how islife in their society and how they can live in harmony together, despite their obvious differences. Later, transformed as an empress, she travels back to her home in Earth to conquer and establish these ideologies for the purpose of improving her actual home.
Micromegas by Voltaire (1752)
The author of Candide has create an extraordinary World in the galactic ambient. Micromegas is not the most know masterpiece of Voltaire but for sure is a satirical sci fi reading.
Micromegas (meaning literally largesmall) lives in a planet that orbits the star Sirius. Banned from his home accused of herressy, this gigantic character travels through the universe ending in Saturn. In our solar system he befriends a saturninan “little fellow”. There they discuss the differences of their respective societies. He and his new friend decides to visit planet Earth. They found that creatures “here” (in our planet) are ridiculous microscopic and assumed have no intelligence at all. But with a small straw shape device they listen and discover that we (humans) have a language and a sense of intelligence. The fellows maintain a conversation through the little tube and when Our visitors are ready to say goodbye the cute little humans reveals to them that the universe was meant to be for them, and only them. When Micromegas and the saturninan learns this, they burst into a laugh, and just say goodbye in a peaceful way, letting them believe whatever they want.
Very interesting idea of the insignificance of humanity compared to the vast infinity of the universe where we belong. Specially in the 18th century. And for me that’s the beauty of this book.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818)
Victor Frankenstein who was the creator of ‘the creature” is a scientist who from the grieve of his mother death and a little ambition decides to develop a living creature.
The story as everybody knows goes very wrong. The scientist runs away in fear of his own creation resulting in the loneliness and anger of the creature.
The work had been immortalized in numerous theater productions, operas, many films like 1994 Mary Shelly’s Frankestein starring Robert De Niro and ultimately many series as early as 2015 with The Frankenstein Chronicles
The Gremlins by Roald Dahl (1943)
Despite very loosely inspired to make Steven Spielberg’s filmThe Gremlins in 1984, the story is nothing about nor related.
The author ofCharlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach and BGFtells the story of Gus, an aviator of the Royal air force in WWII, who’s plane have damaged in the middle of flight. While checking the engine he discovers that mischievous creatures called Gremlins were sabotaging the plane. The reason for the sabotage: the destruction of their home in the forest. Later the aviator convince the Gremlings to fight the Nazi, identify as a common enemy. Becoming friends Gus learns about the creatures, finifellas are the female gremlins and the babies are call widgets. Together they joined forces to fight while the gremlins learn about the aircraft mechanics and fix the airplane they destroyed, ultimately changing the WWII history in a children book.
At the time it was a story that many considered a lesson of working in team for the benefit of mankind. Obviously the circumstances at the time were a great influence and the fact that Dhal served in the british air force during the time making it sort of autobiographical.
Eventually Disney was going to make a film about the story but at the end sadly never happens.
In the year 2021 (2 1/2) years from the present) the world is confronting a serious case of infertility due to low sperm count in men. England is one of the few countries who has a government on a totalitarian way. Angola is the other country. Society is divided in a extreme way since the drop of population began in 1994. At the time named Omega and the last generation borned called “the omegas”. This are the young adults with spoiled privileges whose lives are violent and unstable. People on their 60s are seniors who are no longer wanted by society at the extreme to encourage them in mass suicide events called “quitus”.
Theo is the protagonist who was involved with the high politics once. Later found by a woman named Julian who is the leader of a group that repels the actual government. The reason for the encounter: Julian is pregnant. They want to protect the baby since this is going to change the whole political system in the whole world.
On 2006 a film was made by the same name based on Jame’s novel. With many differences including the baby’s gender, Julian’s character and the metaphorical ending. Despite the popularity of the book, this is one of the rare cases in which the film have more positive ratings than the novel. Clive Owen and Julianne Moore definitive hit the characters in the Alfonso Cuaron’s film.
Chrono-Impairment: a rare genetic disorder in which the patient is prone to suddenly travel through time. This fictional condition is said to be trigger by stressful situations and the patient subconscious.
This is the condition that Henry De Tamble, the protagonist, suffers. As a romantic sci fi novel, this story is about relationships. The story opens when Claire, Henry’s wife, meets Henry in a library. Claire is happy to see him but Henry doesn’t know who she is. Of course, he is in his Chrono-Impairment disorder dilemma. The story goes on detailing the problems that is loving someone with this disorder and have not being able to control it. Eventually, after many miscarriages, presuming the passing genes of the disorder, Claire is able to have a child. The baby is a girl named Alba, who was born with the disorder but is more able to control it. The character of Alba is the result of a possible sequel of this book.
Reviews are considerable high but many said that is boring. Others find the back and forth of time traveling confusing.
Niffenegger in some interviews says that this novel is inspired in many failed relationships, interpreting the cause of failure the absence of one of the parts in the relationship and the lack of communication.
In 2009 the novel was made into a filmwith the same title starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana, which like The Children of Men had better reviews than the book.
Is 2060 a group of people voluntarily organize a group to travel in a space ship to preserve humanity out of Earth in a colonist expedition. At this time humanity in Earth is struggling with severe environmental contamination and war. The group is awakened 158 years later in a planet that orbits the star HIP30815f . Since the humans want to reset their specie somewhere else in the best peaceful way possible, they name the panet Pax, an ancient Latin word meaning peace. There they discover a ecosystem rich in flora and fauna life, probably more than in planet Earth. Deciding to stay there they begin to learn that not everything is as good as it seems. Gravity is stronger in Pax than in Earth, leading to the destruction of some human equipment as well as injuries. Some humans began to get ill and some others, not resistant to their new habitat, began to die. Human colonists came prepare with an extra bank of sperms and ovas to prevent inbreeding, succeeding in several generations.
The story develops narrating the struggles of humans in their new home. Later discovering the intelligence of plants there and learning that even war is a common thing between them and worst…war can include the humans too.
During several generations humans develop a very strange relationship with this beings, eventually learning how to communicate with them. The story goes far beyond to a sequel named Interference.
Burk’s inspiration of the book is even more interesant when in an essayshe describes how she learned about the coexistence of plants in real life. It is a war for real! She tells about the different mechanisms many plants has to survive by attacking other plants and even ourselves and other animals.
The book, as interesting as it is, has many top reviews but many claim that there are scientific fictional explanation of the plants’ life in Pax that can be overwhelming and boring. Overall, is a very imaginative way of sci fi which instead of aliens and robots the actual menace are PLANTS.