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Impact of Science Fiction on Historical and Modern Literature - Essay Example

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The Impact of Science Fiction on Historical and Modern Literature The genre of science fiction arose out of modern man’s search for answers to the problems of life through the medium of science. In the period known as the Enlightenment, many exciting discoveries in the natural sciences informed people about the qualities of the earth, and the laws of nature, and this encouraged writers to imagine other worlds where things might be different than they are on this planet…
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Impact of Science Fiction on Historical and Modern Literature
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"Impact of Science Fiction on Historical and Modern Literature"

Download file to see previous pages Both genres continue to be popular at the start of the twenty first century, although mainstream and traditional literature is regarded by some as more worthwhile, simply because of its longer and more respected tradition. This paper analyses the impact of Science Fiction on historical and Modern Literature by looking at five writers in the Science Fiction/Fantasy genre. Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950) is one of the first and best known writers of science fiction. He was an accomplished writer of novels and stories, notably having invented the character of Tarzan and producing a series of works on this subject. His stories about Mars and Venus opened the eyes of the public to a whole new dimension of story telling, in which brave heroes like the character John Carter venture out into the far reaches of space to meet whatever they find there with curiosity and courage. Some critics see this line of storytelling as a reflection of the early history of America, in which white settlers sought out the distant frontiers and killed the Indians whom they met on the way.1 This may well be true, but it also true that the fictional exploration of space gave Rice Burroughs some insights into the mentality of the frontiersman and he wrote a number of Western themed novels later in life including Apache Devil in 1933 and The Deputy Sherriff of Commanche Country in 1940. In this case it seems, science fiction helped him to imagine historical situations and write engaging stories about confronting the unknown. Lord Dunsany (1878-1957), also known as Edward Plunkett, was a contemporary of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and was born in Ireland. The mythology of Irish fairies and ancient gods and heroes undoubtedly influenced his well-received work The Gods of Pegana (1905). The most striking contribution of Lord Dunsany is his ability to create a whole world of alternative divine beings, describing their history, their function and their fantastic origins in a parallel universe. It is written in a quasi-religious format, like an ancient holy text, and although it is clearly not intended to be followed as a religion, it sparked off a tradition in science fiction for the construction of alternative cosmologies. This freed up later writers to consider the dimension of belief in their work, and allowed many to construct moral codes that are different from the standard Judaeo –Christian models that prevail in Western Society. This work also may have influenced writers such as Tolkein and C.S. Lewis, who combined religious elements with their fantasy worlds, albeit within the Christian tradition. The writer Stephen King (B. 1947) is one of the most prolific and widely read modern authors of fiction. He grew up without his father, who left the family very early, and wrote many novels which have become classics in the horror and science fiction genre including Salem’s Lot (1975), The Shining (1977) Pet Sematary (1983). His fascination with horror means that he is often compared with Gothic horror writers like Edgar Allan Poe and Bram Stoker. His works lend themselves well to film adaptation and through this he has won an even wider audience. One of his main contributions to literary studies is his fearless exploration of the human ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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