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A Reader's History of Science Fiction

Jun 22, 2020

The hallmark of early science fiction was the pulp magazines, which continued the tradition of larger-than-life adventure stories. Despite the sometimes silly and over-the-top writing style, this was an important step in the development of the genre.

Book recommendation: The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan...


Jun 8, 2020

H. G. Wells was in many respects the first real science fiction author, where earlier writers wrote more or less in existing genres. This episode is an overview of his work and legacy.

Excerpt on Wells's Law.

Book recommendation: The Time Machine by H. G....


May 25, 2020

Jules Verne was perhaps the first author to systematically incorporate the latest science into his work, becoming one of the biggest minds behind the idea of science fiction. Yet his focus wasn't so much on sci-fi as it was on adventure fiction. In this episode I explore how he contributed to the development of...


May 11, 2020

Modern science spread out from early satirical novels first to the gothic horror of the nineteenth century. This is the genre where the first real sci-fi novel appears. Yet it was still cloaked in supernatural themes, not quite come into its own as a genre.

Book recommendation: Frankenstein by Mary...


Apr 27, 2020

Several books widely regarded as the first science fiction novels date back as far as the sixteenth century, but most of these weren't dramatic stories at all, but were satirical instead. In this episode, I explore how satire contributed to the genre of science fiction.

Book recommendation: Gulliver's Travels by...