Susmita Roye


Any term like ‘pioneering science fiction’ might be highly suspect since the very origins of this genre are fiercely disputed. Most of the readers and critics of science fiction would emphasise its recent conception and development, pointing out that such a mode of thought and fiction could only come into vogue in the post- Enlightenment era when scientific discourses have visibly as well as distinctly started shaping human knowledge. Others would argue that, in essence, its roots could be traced back to the beginnings of human creativity and literature. While some go back to unearth the science-fictional ‘fantastic’ quality in the Syrian Epic of Gilgamesh (c. 2000 BC ), others see the ‘utopian’ promise in Thomas More’s Utopia (1526); yet others appreciate the strange ‘otherness’ portrayed in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726). Most see H.G. Wells (1866–1946) and/or Jules Verne (1828–1905) as the Father(s) of Science Fiction. Adam Roberts, however, considers John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667) as first having science-fictional qualities, albeit in a theological garb.



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