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The Rise Of Science Fiction Essay

2068 words - 9 pages

“Science fiction is the major non-realistic mode of imaginative creation of the human epoch. It is the principal cultural way humans locate themselves imaginatively in time and space” (Franklin 2). Science fiction’s domain is based on the possible. It ranges from the present Earth the human mind knows to the limits of any possible universes the human imagination can project, whether its the past, present, future, or alternative time-space continuums (Franklin 1). Science fiction embraces the American ideology of technological utopianism like beliefs that technological advances will improve human and social cultural relations fiercely and imagines alternative worlds where current developments ...view middle of the document...

John W. Campbell was a true intellectual. “His hierarchy of Knowledge included physics, chemistry, astronomy--sciences in which laws are mathematically verifiable, biological science--disciplines which are in part descriptive or impure because they deal with living creatures, social sciences such as anthropology, economics, political science, and experimental psychology, and humanities such as theology, philosophy, and clinical psychology” (Science 1). His beliefs reflected in the fiction he chose to write (Science 2). He believed that the universe was not originally argumentative to mankind and that human action and decisions counted in the universe (Science 1). Campbell wanted smooth, serious, written fiction that explored the future of science and technology for intelligent adult readers (Silverberg 1), so he inaugurated and shaped the Golden Age of Science Fiction using his issue of Astounding as his basis. Astounding included not only things about aliens, but believed that space travel was possible (Science 1). Campbell also encouraged and taught some of science fiction’s strongest genre writers. “In 1944, Campbell published “Deadline” by Cleve Cartmill, dealing with the explosion of an atomic bomb. When it was investigated by the FBI, Campbell argued that all the factual information in the story was available in pre-war unclassified sources and that since Astounding had been been publishing atomic war stories all along, the Germans would get suspicious if he suddenly stopped”. A mastermind of the German rocket program continued to receive Astounding throughout the war because it was about the atomic bomb (Science 2). “Science fiction often imagines futures based on scientific and technological advances that are not extrapolations from the present--that are, instead, advances of speed and scale that appear to confirm one of Clarke’s laws: ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’” (Ghiglione 2).
Science fiction became popular because of the success of the Atomic Bomb. It was writing about atomic power and the possibility of nuclear destruction. The writings of science fiction began to change the way of the way people lived. President Harry S. Truman said in his inaugural speech:
“We must embark on a bold new program for making the benefits of our scientific advances and industrial progress available for the improvement and growth of underdeveloped areas. More than half the people of the world are living in the conditions approaching misery. Their food is inadequate. They are victims of disease. Their economic life is primitive and stagnant. Their poverty is a handicap and a threat both to them and to more prosperous areas. For the first time in history, humanity possesses the knowledge and skill to relieve suffering of these people. The United States is pre-eminent among nations in the development of industrial and scientific techniques. The material resources which we can afford to use for assistance of other...

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