Using the argument that science fiction, as a literary genre, is dependent on taking people into worlds they can only imagine, and showing them things that will never see in real life; many modern day literary critics have argued that modern day science and technologies are in fact killing science fiction as a genre. It is certainly true that when Lucian wrote True History in the 2nd Century, the thought of space travel was far beyond the imagination of most people.
Of course, nowadays, space travel is a very real thing. Similarly, Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein wouldn’t have been half as mystifying had it been written in the 21st century, rather than the 19th. And while it is true that audiences nowadays aren’t as easily mesmerised as those who were yet to experience space travel and the microchip; science fiction as a genre is still as popular as ever.
Science Fiction of the 21st Century
Following an increase in popularity of the horror genre, both in film and in literature, science fiction works of the 21st century have mainly been focused on horror, also. The most notable work of science fiction in terms of sales and recognition is Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer prize winning The Road. Focusing the on the journey of a man and his son, The Road is set in a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by zombie-like antagonists. This “zombie-based” narrative is a common feature in many science fiction novels of the 21st century, as is the “post-apocalyptic” landscape, with many contemporary authors countering the advancement of technology by showing a world in which technology and science has gone too far.
In addition to exploring strange new worlds and dealing with sinister robots or aliens, science fiction has also provided a firm platform for many humorous novels. English author Terry Pratchett, for example, has been writing and publishing his Discworld series now for almost 30 years with a great deal of success and adulation. Similarly, one of the most famous and highly regarded novels of any genre of the 20th century is Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, which also included four successful sequels.
Picture: lassedesignen – Fotolia
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- Characteristics and Themes of Stephen Baxter´s Literature
- The Best of Contemporary English and American Literature
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