Scientific romance

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Scientific Romance is a term for British genre literature , the content largely of science fiction corresponds in time but whose precursor, which they the science fiction equivalent in German literature. Both terms are applied to works that appeared before the popularization of modern (US) science fiction in Great Britain and Germany before the end of World War II.

The term first appears in Dickens ' All the Year Round in 1866 , where it referred to Henri de Parville's novel Un habitant de la planète Mars . From 1884 Charles Howard Hinton published a series of scientific and philosophical essays under the title Scientific Romances . However, the term only became popular when critics called the early novels of HG Wells and Wells himself adopted the term in the title of The Scientific Romances of HG Wells (1933), an omnibus edition of his most famous novels.

Scientific romance was established as a literary term through the work of Brian Stableford , who used it to contrast the traditions and conventions of British literature with American science fiction, which also dominated in Great Britain after 1945. As for differences in narrative conventions, Stableford names a number of features, none of which is defining scientific romance in itself , but which are characteristic of the genre as a whole. This includes

  • that the story spans large time scales, for example in Olaf Stapledon's The Last and First People (1930) and in Der Sternenmacher (1937), this is where the frequently occurring subject of the “dying earth” belongs , on which the last people at the end of time lead a melancholy existence (example: William Hope Hodgson : The Night Land , 1912);
  • that the narrators often stay in the background of the plot and that the protagonists also react passively to the events rather than actively shaping them as an active hero role, related to the absence of the hero / conqueror typical of American Pulps , who is now analogous to the role of the western hero prepares to cross the “final frontier” in space and to subdue the universe;
  • that in contrast to the American Edisonade , the “inventor novel ”, the inventor / scientist as protagonist is more of the Mad Scientist type and his invention serves at best to blackmail world peace;
  • that especially among authors who write against the backdrop of the catastrophe of World War I, the tendency is rather pessimistic - Homo sapiens is seen as fundamentally incapable of undergoing an evolution towards the positive, and the narratives are significantly more often dystopian than in the more optimistic American one SF.

For Scientific Romance counting is also the subgenre of "Extraordinary Voyages". Voyages Extraordinaires was the title of the series under which the works of Jules Verne were published by Pierre-Jules Hetzel . This title is based on the French term voyages imaginaires , "imagined journeys". The essential feature of this sub-genre is - the name says it - that the protagonist undertakes an unusual journey, with an unusual and futuristic vehicle and / or to an unusual destination. Examples are:


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Might and Magnitude. In: All the Year Round , Vol. XV, March 24, 1866 edition, p. 255 .
  2. ^ Charles Howard Hinton: Scientific romances. Sawan Sunshine, London. First Series 1884, Second Series 1896.
  3. Jack Vance designed the topic in his Dying Earth cycle with this in mind.