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This civilisation landmark provides a general overview of the genre known as Science Fiction.

"That is Sneffels—a mountain about five thousand feet in height, one of the most remarkable in the whole island, and certainly doomed to be the most celebrated in the world, for through its crater we shall reach the centre of the earth."
Opening lines of A Journey to the Centre of the Earth, by Jules Verne.

Trailer of the 2011 film A Journey to the Center of the Earth.


Jules Verne

Jules Verne (1828-1905),
French novelist, poet, and playwright, author of the Voyages extraordinaires, a series of bestselling adventure novels including Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870), and Around the World in Eighty Days (1872). He has sometimes been called the "Father of Science Fiction", a title that has also been given to H. G. Wells and Hugo Gernsback.

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What is Science Fiction?

Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible (or at least nonsupernatural) content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities. Exploring the consequences of scientific innovations is one purpose of science fiction, making it a "literature of ideas”.

Star Trek iRobot iRobot

Images from sci-fi films Star Trek, iRobot (, and 2001, A Space Oddissey (

Science Fiction vs Fantasy

Science fiction is largely based on writing rationally about alternative possibilities. It is similar to, but differs from, fantasy in that, within the context of the story, its imaginary elements are largely possible within scientifically established or scientifically postulated laws of nature (though some elements in a story might still be pure imaginative speculation).

The Never Ending Story Lord of the Rings

Images from the fantasy films The Never Ending Story ( and Lord of the Rings (

Characteristics of Science Fiction

The settings for science fiction are often contrary to known reality, but most science fiction relies on a considerable degree of suspension of disbelief, which is facilitated in the reader's mind by potential scientific explanations or solutions to various fictional elements. Science fiction criteria include:



1. What authors are considered the fathers of scence fiction?

2. Where is Sneffels, the mountain in the opening paragraph of A Journey to the Centre of the Earth?

3. Write the names of five science fiction books.

4. Does The Hobbit belong to the science fiction genre?

5. What are the differences between science fiction and fantasy?

6. What kind of settings are typical of science fiction?

7. What are the typical characters of science fiction?

8. What kind of technology is used?

9. H. G. Wells introduced the atomic bomb in his book The World Set Free right after it was invented. TRUE or FALSE?

10. What does "dystopia" mean?

11. What are the differences between science fiction and hard science fiction?

12. Write the names of three hard science fiction novels and their authors. Check if necessary.

  • A time setting in the future, in alternative timelines, or in a historical past that contradicts known facts of history or the archaeological record.
  • A spatial setting or scenes in outer space (e.g., spaceship travel), on other worlds, or on subterranean earth.
  • Characters that include aliens, mutants, androids, or humanoid robots.
  • Technology that is futuristic (e.g., ray guns, teleportation machines, humanoid computers).
  • New and different political or social systems (e.g., a dystopia (= anti-utopia), or a post-apocalyptic situation where organized society has collapsed), although disagreement exists on whether this criterion identifies science fiction.

Star Wars C3P0 and R2D2

Star Wars C3P0 and R2D2

The Never Ending Story

Original cover (1914).

As a means of understanding the world through speculation and storytelling, science fiction has antecedents back to mythology. Precursors to science fiction as literature can be seen for instance in Jules Verne's A Journey to the Centre of the Earth in the 19th century. It is thanks to the dawn of new technologies such as electricity, advanced communication, and new forms of powered transportation that the literary genre gained a lot of inspiration.

While Science Fiction has provided criticism of developing and future technologies, it also produces innovation and new technology. Decades before the atom bomb was even a glimmer behind Einstein's bifocals, H.G. Wells had already written a novel about it, 1914's The World Set Free. Note that Wells didn't know at this time that a nuclear detonation was actually possible —he just knew a little bit about radioactive decay and thought that, if we ever figured out a way to blow it all up at once, it would probably make a really big bang.

20000 Leagues under the Sea

The 1951 film 20000 Leagues under the Sea, based on the homonymous hard science fiction novel by Jules Verne.

Science Fiction vs Hard Science Fiction

Hard science fiction, or "hard SF", is characterized by rigorous attention to accurate detail in quantitative sciences, especially physics, astrophysics, and chemistry, or on accurately depicting worlds that more advanced technology may make possible. Many accurate predictions of the future come from the hard science fiction subgenre, but numerous inaccurate predictions have emerged as well.

The 5 most famous science fiction writers are probably Isaac Asimov (the "Foundation 45" series), Frank Herbert (Dune), Arthur C. Clarke (2001: a Space Odyssey), H.G. Wells (The Time Machine), and Jules Verne (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea).

Arthur C. Clarke

Arthur. C. Clarke, a famous hard science fiction writer.

The War of the Worlds

The War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells

The end of Roy Batty, a Nexus-6 replicant in Blade Runner, may be one of the most memorable moments in science fiction cinema.


Watch the recent Netflix series Black Mirror. It is a paradigm of dystopia presented in a very interesting way.

Black Mirror, the series


Watch The Black Hole, an easy to understand short film from the Science Fiction series Dust.


1. Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and Hugo Gernsback.
2. In Iceland.
3. (too many possibilities)
4. No, it belongs to the fantasy genre.
5. Science fiction is based on science, whereas fantasy is related to the imagination.
6. The future, alternative timelines, scenes in outer space, other worlds, spaceship travel.
7. aliens, mutants, androids, or humanoid robots.
8. futuristic technology, ray guns, teleportation machines, humanoid computers, dystopia, post-apocalyptic situations.
9. False, the atomic bomb had not been invented when he published his book.
10. An imagined state or society in which there is great suffering or injustice, typically one that is totalitarian or post-apocalyptic.
11.Hard science fiction pays rigorous attenttion to accurate scientific detail.
12. (too many possibilities)


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