If you were asked to name the pioneers of science-fiction, your list would likely include names like Verne, Wells, and Shelley. Indeed, Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN (1818) is widely regarded as the first seminal work for which the science-fiction label is fully apropos. The works of Wells and Verne, including 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA, THE TIME MACHINE, and THE WAR OF THE WORLDS would follow decades later. These were, of course, not the first works of science-fiction. Elements of SF can be found in Shakespeare’s THE TEMPEST (1610-11), the Japanese fairy tale THE TALE OF THE BAMBOO CUTTER (tenth century), the eighth-century folk story collection ONE THOUSAND AND ONE KNIGHTS (aka, ARABIAN NIGHTS), and many others. It’s a vast genre with a history far more robust than one might imagine.

Mary Wollenstonecraft Shelley, author of the immortal FRANKENSTEIN; OR, THE MODERN PROMETHEUS
Mary Wollenstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851) as portrayed by artist Richard Rothwell.

OOTW is showcasing the early authors of SF across our social media channels via a series of photo essays. We’re starting with Shelley and working forward, highlighting many of the authors responsible for shaping one of the most popular fiction genres of the past fifty years.

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