Dreaming the future, imagining the past, that’s what writers do. And apocalypse stories? They’ve been penned since early recorded history. Gilgamesh, Noah and his ark, the Dharmasastra. But what about science fiction, which has become a sort of parent category for modern-day apocalypse fiction?
According to a recent article on BBC’s iWonder:
Science fiction emerged nearly 300 years ago during a time of great advances in science. Since then authors have tried to make sense of their world by imagining what the future will look like.
Post-apocalyptic societies, alien invasions, robots and environmental catastrophes have all played out in this genre which is still popular today.
Dr. Caroline Edwards, “Writing the Future,” BBC.co.uk
The first example cited? Gulliver’s Travels, written in 1726 by Jonathan Swift, which includes a section feature a flying island populated by scientists.
The complete list features 20 sci-fi luminaries including three of my favorite: Ursula K. Le Guin, Octavia Butler, and Margaret Atwood. The Left Hand of Darkness. The Parable of the Sower. The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s not just a history lesson, it’s a kick-ass reading list.