Eric Mayer

Byzantine Blog

Get Email Updates
Cruel Music
Diana Rowland
Martin Edwards
Electric Grandmother
Jane Finnis
Keith Snyder
My Incredibly Unremarkable Life
Mysterious Musings
Mystery of a Shrinking Violet
The Rap Sheet
reenie's reach
Thoughts from Crow Cottage
This Writing Life
Woodstock's Blog
Email Me

Admin Password

Remember Me

1481747 Curiosities served
Share on Facebook

Ancient Science Fiction
Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Read/Post Comments (1)

When I was in high school I wrote a term paper about the history of science fiction. I'm sure I cribbed the basic outline from some source lost to my memory. I do recall it all started with Lucian of Samsota.

In his article Ancient Science Fiction at Shattercolors Literary Review, mystery writer (Arthur Ellis and Anthony Awards nominee) and Classics Professor Barry Baldwin does a much more thorough job. For instance, my research failed to unearth the following information on lunar inhabitants:

Moonites are all-male: lunar man is born of man. Lacking genitals and anuses, they have no lavatorial functions. Sexual intercourse is achieved through the knee’s hollow by dint of artificial organs - the first cyborg prosthetics - made of ivory or wood. Old Moonites don’t die, they simply dissolve into the aether, like Star Trek’s Apollo. They sweat milk, their nasal drip is honey, their eyes are removable. Such attributes put George Lucas’ creatures, also the gallimaufrey (apts, banths, siths, etc.) of Burroughs’ Mars, quite in the shade.

If I'd handed that in to my eleventh grade teacher, it would've caused a sensation.

Professor Baldwin gives Lucian a lot of company. His list of pre-Gernsbackian sciencefictionists is exhaustive, often hilarious, and will probably send you off googling for the origial texts.

He also muses about the origin and nature of science fiction:

Ancient imaginations were honed by different but convergent factors. Classical mythology provided a pervasive science fiction backdrop with its monsters (e.g. Medusa, recycled in Star Trek and Dr Who ), demons (mothers threatened their children with Empusa and Lamia), and such superheroes as Perseus who outwitted Medusa and saved the naked, spread-eagled (shades of Madonna) Andromeda from a sea-serpent, zooming around with winged sandals and a cloak of invisibility (before Wells, Klingons, and Romulans). It is dangerous to generalise about other people’s beliefs, and we don’t know how many ancients took their mythology seriously: both for believers and sceptics, it was always there.

Now I'm off to see what else I can find out about Callimachus And Chrysorrhoe.Something about the hero finding the heroine hanging naked by her hair from the battlement of a magic castle of an ogre-dragon. (Let's not start arguing about the difference between sf and fantasy...)

Read/Post Comments (1)

Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Back to Top

Powered by JournalScape © 2001-2010 All rights reserved.
All content rights reserved by the author.