Science fiction is a German term for genre literature , the content largely of science fiction corresponds in time but whose precursor. An equivalent in British literature is the term Scientific Romance , which was mainly coined by Brian M. Stableford . Both terms are applied to works published before modern (American) science fiction became popular in Germany and Great Britain before the end of World War II.
According to Claus Ritter , the term was coined by the critic Leo Berg in his article Der Zukunftsroman , published in 1899 , where he further subdivided the subject of his investigation into state novels and inventive novels.
The term science fiction was - as in book titles - even after 1945 still used frequently, but then increasingly in the following years by the now popular term science fiction replaced. Competing terms were: natural science novel , scientific fairy tale , scientific fantasy , utopian novel , utopian-technical novel and technical-scientific novel . Especially in the years after 1873, when the first German translations of Jules Verne's works appeared, Verne was synonymous with scientific fantasy , which is why people also talked about entertainment fonts in the style of Jules Verne, or Verniaden for short .
Going back further into the past, a distinction is made between science fiction or science fiction and science fiction forerunners, now often referred to as Proto-SF . The Proto-SF includes works that have characteristics of science fiction and / or deal with typical subjects (lunar journeys, dirigible airships, etc.), but which appeared at a time when science and technology and their development did not yet have a societal impact unfolded what is seen as an essential prerequisite for the genre to emerge. This effectiveness, which reached into the everyday life of every individual, was not given until the end of the 18th century at the earliest. Accordingly, in the Anglo-Saxon region, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus of 1818 is often regarded as the first representative of the genre, as Brian W. Aldiss sees it in Billion Year Spree (1973). In contrast to this, Darko Suvin in Victorian Science Fiction in the UK (1983) sets the year 1871 as the beginning of science fiction in the modern sense. That year Bulwer-Lytton's The Coming Race and George Chesney's The Battle of Dorking appeared . For the German science fiction 1810 can be set as the year of origin. That year, Julius von Voss ' Ini appeared - a novel from the first and twentieth centuries , the first German novel to fully exhibit the features of the genre. Henning Franke objects, however:
“And yet what separates is stronger than what connects:“ Ini ”plays among the princes and imperial children of a feudal society. The technical miracles fall to them like in a fairy tale. Therefore, these miracles work purely fictitious and make the book resemble a Münchhausiade. "
In contrast, the novels by Verne and Kurd Laßwitz are “products of bourgeois society and its further developed science and technology”. Accordingly, the beginning of the German future novel would then be set in the 1870s (Laßwitz's first future story Bis zum Nullpunkt des Seins appeared in 1871).
- Brian M. Stableford , David Langford , John Clute : Scientific Romance. In: John Clute, Peter Nicholls : The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction . 3rd edition (online edition), version dated February 21, 2019.
- Claus Ritter : Anno Utopia or So was the future. Das Neue Berlin, Berlin 1982, p. 189 f.
- Leo Berg: The future novel. In: (ders.): New essays. Schwartz, Oldenburg and Leipzig 1901.
- The name was used in particular by Kurd Laßwitz , who often approached the fairy tale form in his stories .
- Hans-Edwin Friedrich: Science Fiction in the German-Language Literature: A report on research until 1993. De Gruyter, 1995, ISBN 3-484-60307-0 , p. 190 f.
- Henning Franke: Pictures from the future and entertainment writings à la Verne. Science fiction that wasn't called that yet. The genre before 1945. In: Nessun Saprà: Lexicon of German Science Fiction & Fantasy 1870-1918. Utopica, 2005, ISBN 3-938083-01-8 , p. 46.
- Brian M. Stableford: Proto SF. In: John Clute, Peter Nicholls: The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction . 3rd edition (online edition), version dated October 24, 2018.
- Claus Ritter : Anno Utopia or So was the future. Das Neue Berlin, Berlin 1982, p. 62 ff.
- Henning Franke: Pictures from the future and entertainment writings à la Verne. Science fiction that wasn't called that yet. The genre before 1945. In: Nessun Saprà: Lexicon of German Science Fiction & Fantasy 1870-1918. Utopica, 2005, ISBN 3-938083-01-8 , p. 48.