Fiction Authors”Science fiction is one of the more secluded parade grounds where privatefantasy and public event meet. They call it entertainment”. (Aldiss Billion 1)This quote is interpreted to mean that, in the genre of science fiction there isa fusion of fantasy and reality. It is this combination of two opposites thatproduces the novel categorized today as science fiction. There is one aspect ofscience fiction that separates it from any other genre. Science fiction can bewritten as fantasy one day, and read as scientific fact the next.
Jules Vernehas written about man setting foot on the moon. When read by its originalreaders the idea of space travel was not a reality. It is now common knowledgethat man has walked on the moon, and when this novel is read today no longer isspace travel considered to be imaginary. Skillful science fiction novelistsbrilliantly blend fantasy with reality, composing a very fine line between thetwo perceptions. When reading, one sometimes does not even realize when theauthor makes the transition from a plausible concept to a ludicrous one.
Science fiction is a relatively new term. Novels were first categorized thisway towards the close of the 1920’s.This word was first utilized in shortstories that appeared in the pulp magazines, of the era. The phrase “sciencefiction” was considered an enhancement of the term scientifiction. Howeverseveral British novels were categorized as scientific romances before the 1920’s.
(Aldiss Trillion 27) Before Frankenstein the only forms of science fiction were”the plays of Aristophanes or some Myrenaean fragment concerning the flight tothe sun on a goose’s back.” (Aldiss Billion 2) In these fantasies there is noblend of reality and fantasy, it is pure fantasy.There is no one story thatis accepted to be the first science fiction tale. Science fiction as perceivedtoday originated with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. (Aldiss Trillion 18)Mary Shelley was the wife of the famous British poet, Percy ByssheShelley and daughter of Mary Wollenstonecraft. She was born in 1797 and hermother died soon after birth. Mary Wollenstonecraft married her husband at theage of fifteen. She produced her most famous novel entitled Frankenstein at theage of nineteen. It was published in 1818. (Ash 178)The origin of the novel came to Shelley in a dream, in which she saysshe saw “the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the workingof some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy half vitalmotion” (Bleiler 6) The story starts with several letters written by CaptainWalton to his sister. Walton has been navigating the Arctic ocean when heobserves a sledge being pushed by a gigantic body. The day after the crew savesVictor Frankenstein from Geneva from a similar sledge. After Victor hasrecuperated, he recounts his tale to Walton. This account is the largestsection of the book. The novel also includes six chapters of the creatureexplaining his life. (Bleiler 5) Mary’s style of narration appears to be verypuzzling. However the first reader’s of Frankenstein were very familiar withthis style of narration. (Aldiss Billion 21)Shelley brilliantly includes how the monster feels. She analyzes themonster psychologically. “One of Frankenstein’s greatest merits is that itstale of exterior adventure and misfortune is always accompanied by apsychological depth.” (Aldiss Billion 25)Throughout the story the readers main interest revolves aroundFrankenstein’s creation. The creature is never given a name, it was referred toin the story as “creature,” “daemon,” or “monster.” For this reasonFrankenstein has been thought to be the monster, when he was the creator.
One everlasting fascination of the novel are its ambiguities,Frankenstein is never seen throwing the switch to give his creation life. Thelanguage of the novel makes it very easy to confuse the two main roles andbelieve that Frankenstein is the creature. Shelley also frequently describesVictor Frankenstein as if he were the monster. “We restored him to animationAs soon as he showed signs of life we wrapped him up in blankets. I oftenfeared that his suffering had deprived him of understanding He is generallymelancholy and despairing.” This is not Shelley describing the monster, butShelley describing Victor. (Aldiss Trillion 42)Mary structured much of the book around intelligence. VictorFrankenstein is not the only character in the novel searching for knowledge,throughout the book Walton and the monster are also looking for enlightenment.
(Bleiler 7) “The monster, product of guilty knowledge, threatens the world withevil progeny.” (Bleiler 7) Frankenstein is yet another work of science fictionwhich was not thought to be realistically possible by most people until recently.
This is an excerpt from criticism of science fiction authors, written just 15years ago “Even today, when our diet is the unlikely, Mary Shelly’s Frankensteinseems extremely far fetched, how much more so must it have appeared onpublication in 1818.” (Bleiler 3) Mary Shelly was one of the few that thoughtit might be possible to give life to an inanimate creature. “The event on whichthis fiction is founded has been supposed, by Dr. Darwin and some of thephysiological writers of Germany as not of impossible occurrence.”(Shelleyxxvii) Today with the advancements recently made with cloning, it almost seemspossible to create a life form from inanimate objects. Because scientists areable to clone a sheep, monkey, and theoretically a human, it makes it seem veryplausible that a work of fiction, such as Frankenstein might eventually becomereality. “The attention psychoanalysis has drawn to the few but powerfularchetypal figures in the psyche paved a way for the acceptance of diverse arts-surrealism, photography, cinema, and science fiction, where aliens, robots,spaceships, planets, and so on act as counters in a complex mental game. Acharacter landing on the moon can be a symbol of conquest, of fulfillment, or ofalienation, depending on context. Writers perhaps understand this more readilythan mainstream critics, who do not always distinguish between characters andpersonages. Wells had the new language off from the start.” (Aldiss Trillion117) Herbert George Wells was born in the suburbs of London in a place calledBromley. After failed attempts at being a tailor’s and chemist’s apprentice hewon a scholarship to the Normal School of Science. He studied there for aboutone year. Wells then tried to become a teacher, but failed. It was as a lastresort when he turned toward a writing profession in which he enjoyed overnightsuccess. (Ash 204) Wells originated many commonly used science fictional ideas.
He was the first writer to ever use evolution as a way to look back in time, aswell as forward. In his novel entitled The Grisly Folk Wells tells the story ofmankind struggling against the primitive Neanderthals. He also wrote a bookcalled A Story of the Stone Age. Wells was the first to look far into theworlds past as well as its future. (Aldiss Trillion 120)Wells had three main qualities that made him the literary success thathe was. He was an inquiring person and searched for knowledge in all of hisstories. Wells also had the natural ability to observe the world the way it is,with no prejudices or biased opinions. He also avoided writing lead charactersin any one of his novels. This did not permit the reader to identify with theperson and accept anything offered. (Aldiss Trillion 120) War of the Worlds wasfirst published in 1897. It is the story of Martian invaders that landed onearth. It is told by an Englishman who observes the invaders moving in onLondon, while the army is doing everything they can to hold them off. London isquickly evacuated before the invaders die, they were killed by common microbes.
Wells does not reveal the Martians appearance until over halfway intothe book. When they are seen, they are horrific looking. (Aldiss Trillion 121)”They were, I now saw, the most unearthly creatures it is possible to conceive.
They were huge round bodies-or rather, heads-about for feet in diameter, eachbody having in front of it a face. This face had no nostrils-indeed theMartians do not seem to have any sense of smell, but it had a pair of very largedark-coloured eyes, and just beneath this a kind of fleshy beak. In the back ofthis head or body-I scarcely know how to speak of it-was a single tight tympanicsurface, since known to be anatomically an ear, though it must have been almostuseless in our denser air. In a group round the mouth were sixteen slender,almost whip-like tentacles, arranged in two bunches of eight each.” (Wells 111)Wells used three standards to produce The War of the Worlds. He writes aboutthe present day. While the reader recognizes the time as his own, he is beingtrained to except the far fetched appearance of what follows. (Aldiss Trillion122) This is the method Wells uses to create the fine line between fantasy andreality that was discussed earlier in this report. Secondly, he incorporatesthe newer scientific discoveries into his work, such as the theory of evolution,and microorganisms. Lastly he creates a society like todays that welcomescriticism of itself and of mankind. (Aldiss Trillion 122) “Wells spoke of twokinds of thinking, directed and undirected thought. In The Work, Wealth andHappiness of Mankind (1931), Wells talks in chapter two of directed thought assomething which enters philosophy with Plato and which defines the scientificaspect of modern civilization. Undirected thought is a sort of muzzy version ofthinking, imaginative play, almost what we would call a hypnoid state.” (AldissTrillion 121) “Wells’s writing moves gradually from undirected to directedthought. From a fiction capable of ironic and ambivalent tolerances to afunctional fiction directed towards proof and prediction.” (Aldiss Trillion121) Science fiction is not classified as an entity. It is the similar writingaccomplishments of many men and women, which for handiness we categorize theseauthors under the label of science fiction. Many authors resent theclassification; many take pride in it. (Aldiss Trillion 20) Science fiction isconsidered to be one of the great literary successes of the later halftwentieth century. Like authors of any other genre, science fiction writersare considered to be artists.(Aldiss Trillion 13) It is clear that Wells andShelly should be considered more then just good writers of their time. Theyshould be considered brilliant artists that have created many masterpieces.
Cite this The Writing Styles of 2 Prominent British Science
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