Science

A roving trip through the history of science fiction takes us back to that inquisitive era of the earlier 19th century, back by a few summations, to the initial phase of the genre itself.

By and large, the 1920s was an evolutionary age. It rose up out of the shadows of the First World War, whose revulsions and with them the pulverisation of a whole era hung over humanity like a dark cloud of smoke, throughout the decade. It came to an end with the crashing of the stock market, which also marked the commencement of the Great Depression. Be that as it may, between these two appalling markers was a time of edgy entertainment, the enthralling Twenties. The rigid burden of Prohibition in the States or the panic induced by the General Strike in Britain could do little to smother the desire for harmless fun that commanded the decade, as though short skirts and jazz, were the best way to muffle the recollections of the trenches. Nevertheless, those same recollections became evident in the movies and fiction of the era.

However, in the midst of this intemperance was an extraordinary interest in new innovations. Radio and silver screen both turned out to be hugely prominent during those times, and TV was about to be introduced to the world. Among the host of commercial magazines were a few dedicated to these innovations and it was out of these that Amazing Stories rose in 1926, the foremost sci-fi magazine.

The foundation of the first SF magazine concurred with the emergence of the premier and still the most renowned form of SF, space opera, The Skylark of Space. One of the things that typify the science fiction write-ups and books before the emergence of the SF pulps was that, while they were quite prevalent, they were different in their essence from the pulp magazines. Consequently, to present day readers, they can frequently appear to be unconventional, counter-intuitive or even undefined. In the meantime, they can seem to have their base rooted in distant future, which explains their distinctive novelty.

A Voyage to Arcturus is an ideal example of both the capriciousness and the uniqueness. A novel that motivated C.S. Lewis, it is the tale of Maskull, who is taken to the planet Tormance where his adventures appear as philosophical theories about death and the ways of the universe.

You’d presumably not get a book like this distributed nowadays, however, it was highly influential in the evolution of science fiction.