Science Fiction on the basis of ‘scientific discoveries’.

Science Fiction as a literary form refers to as manydefinitions as there are movements or types of Science Fiction. Thedifficulty with identifying Science Fiction—and proceeding from29that to definition—is that Science Fiction is not just one thing. Ithas no recognisable action, like the murder mystery, orrecognisable relationship, like the Romance. Therefore, no singledefinition of Science Fiction is arrived at though someconsideration is given to the specific ingredients of Science Fictionthat distinguish Science Fiction from other types of fiction; andsome critical standards are set up whereby these characteristics canbe evaluated as useful contributions to literature. However, when itcomes to specifying what exactly Science Fiction means, it createslong discussed disagreements. In addition, because of the lack ofgeneral agreement on definition of Science Fiction, confusion iswidespread among publishers, editors, Science Fiction writers andcritics as well.We will begin with the Oxford English Dictionary (OED)that defines Science Fiction as “imaginative fiction based onpostulated scientific discoveries or spectacular environmentalchanges, frequently set in the future or on other planets andinvolving space or time travel.”21 In this definition, the basic termin deciding Science Fiction in that Science Fiction is ‘imaginativeliterature’ and what informs ‘imagination’ in Science Fiction is’postulated scientific discoveries’ or ‘spectacular environmentalchanges’ set in ‘future or other planets’. The OED definition pointsat the twofold directions for looking at Science Fiction. The firstdirection asserts that Science Fiction is a much broader category of’imaginative fiction’ than it is usually admitted and, it should beused to describe a wide range of fantasy literature. The secondassertion would not believe in this argument stressing distinction ofScience Fiction on the basis of ‘scientific discoveries’. In this30argument, Science Fiction has been considered fundamentallydifferent from the genres like fairy tales, horror stories in the sensethat they are all not concerned with the ‘scientific discoveries’.We would like to extend the twofold understanding ofScience Fiction that is implicit in the above mentioned definitionby looking at the western literary tradition that has shaped theScience Fiction genre we have proposed to study. Although theterm ‘Science Fiction’ was coined in 1929 by Hugo Gernsbackafter he founded his pulp magazine Amazing Stories in 1926, thegenre complex characteristics of Science Fiction could be locatedwithin the long tradition of western literature. Therefore, at thisstage, it is important to take a brief overview of the western literarytradition that supported shaping the genre characteristics of ScienceFiction. Over and above, the proposition in considering the literarytradition is that, as Mark Rose determines, “It is…useful to think ofa genre as a tradition, a developing complex of themes, attitudes,and formal strategies that, taken together, constitute a general set ofexpectations.” 22

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