proto-science fiction n.
literary works, written before the establishment of science fiction as a recognized genre, that prefigure the themes of science fiction, especially ones involving fantastic voyages or technological innovations
But Lucian’s narrator got to the moon by magical means; so did Cyrano de Bergerac’s, Defoe’s and Godwin’s; Kepler’s got there in a dream. These are proto-science-fiction narratives, if you like; but the history of space travel in science fiction does not begin until about the turn of the century, when such stories began to be written using means that might actually work.
Space in Century of Science Fiction 78
Briefly, the thesis is that modern science fiction continues a tradition of the artistic imagination which is very ancient…. I give fifteen important examples of ‘proto science fiction’.
Science Fiction & the Mainstream: Part 2: The Great Tradition of Proto Science Fiction in Foundation (vol. 5) Jan. 9
He traces back to the days before the usually-cited founding fathers Jules et Herb to cover such proto-SF writers as Plato, Lucian (but of course!), Kepler, Swift, Mary Wollstonecraft and all the rest of that gang.
Literary Masochist in Science Fiction Review Feb. 24/2
Science fiction itself owes a particular debt of gratitude to the nineteenth-century storytellers—not only to recognized earlier writers of the genre, such as H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, but to many of the other people then writing in Western literature, who wrote either proto-science fiction or fantasy verging on science fiction, simply as variations of the short-story forms in which they were accustomed to expressing themselves.
in R. Fuller Futurelove Introd. p. ix
While such formal characteristics may enable historians of science fiction to include, for example, Dante’s Divine Comedy (1311) as part of the great tradition of Proto Science Fiction, the contextual approach would correct this by pointing out that neither Dante nor his readers were aware of any science fiction tradition and that modern science fiction readers would not expect to find such a work as the Divine Comedy in the pages of their favorite magazines.
Critical Terms for Science Fiction & Fantasy 46
They might be thought of both as epitomes of Romantic proto-SF and as first examples of the new science fiction literature of the Age of Technology.
World beyond Hill 71
There is one Romantic document that is sometimes offered as a proto-SF story with a setting in the Future—Edgar Allan Poe’s sketch ‘Mellonta Tauta’ (1849).
World beyond Hill 76
Lucian of Samasota described voyages to the moon and sun, and provided inspiration to such other proto-SF writers as Rabelais, Cyrano de Bergerac, and Jonathan Swift, all of whom recounted similar fantastic voyages.
Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of 32
Poe was a hoaxer. His first and most successful hoax (and his first work of proto-SF) was an 1831 newspaper story in the New York Sun purporting to be the journal of a Welsh balloonist who is swept from his intended course to Paris and fortuitously accomplishes the first transatlantic flight.
Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of 39
1999 Forecasts 20 Dec. 72/3
Conan Doyle’s achievements minus the Great Detective would have been respectable: writing everything from serious historical novels to proto-science fiction, running for Parliament, serving in the Boer War, lobbying for such social reforms as divorce laws, investigating wrongful convictions, observing the front lines in the Great War, etc.
H.G. Wells…was, with Jules Verne, the person who gave us the scientific romance—the forerunner of that branch of literature we now know as science fiction. His short stories, and his proto-science fiction novels, have lasted and are still read today, while many of the mainstream novels he considered more important and significant are gone and, for the most part, forgotten, perhaps because the novels were very much of their time, and swallowed by the change in time, while some of the science fiction and fantasy novels and tales are, for all their late Victorian or Edwardian settings, quite timeless.
From the Days of Future Past in View from the Cheap Seats (2016) 329
Damon Knight, 'A Century of Science Fiction'
Research HistoryCory Panshin submitted a 1989 cite from Alexei and Cory Panshin's "The World Beyond the Hill".
Enoch Forrester submitted a 1998 cite from Thomas Disch's "The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of".
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1977 cite from Gordon R. Dickson in the anthology "Futurelove".
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1986 cite from Gary K. Wolfe's "Critical Terms for Science Fiction and Fantasy".
Jeff Prucher submitted a 2003 cite from Paul Di Filippo's book review column in Asimov's.
Jeff Prucher submitted a 2003 cite from Gary K. Wolfe's review column in Locus.
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1999 cite from a review in Publishers Weekly.
Enoch Forrester submitted a 1962 cite from Damon Knight in his anthology "A Century of Science Fiction".
We are looking for the forms "proto-science fiction" and "proto-SF".
Last modified 2022-05-07 03:37:13
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.