The Evolution of Science Fiction Webinar Series:
Module Nine The Early Twentieth Century: Dystopias, Disasters, Fantastic Adventures, Films, & the Pulps (1900-ca. 1930)
The early decades of the twentieth century were a time of great transformation, artistically, scientifically, technologically, and socially. While Wells was creating both dystopian warnings and futurist utopias and arguing for a “new world order” during this period, numerous other writers and visionaries were expanding the scope of science fiction across diverse dimensions of entertainment, speculation, and social engagement. Early in the century, science fiction cinema emerged in the fantastical early films of Méliès and evolved in the next couple decades into the resplendent productions of Aelita: Queen of Mars, Woman in the Moon, and Metropolis. Science fiction comics and super-heroes, such as Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, came on the scene, and through the efforts of Hugo Gernsback the first science fiction pulp magazines (Amazing Stories and Wonder Stories) were published. Fandom and science fiction communities appeared and quickly grew, turning science fiction into a social movement. Displayed in all the brilliant colors of the rainbow, science fiction art blossomed. And an unprecedented plethora and cornucopia of new writers and wondrous stories appeared, including the immensely popular adventure tales of Burroughs; the cosmic far-future horrors of Hodgson; the prescient dystopias of Zamyatin, Hastings, and Huxley; the phantasmagorias of Merritt and Lindsay; and disasters galore, such as Shiel’s The Purple Cloud, Doyle’s The Poison Belt, and England’s Darkness and Dawn. In a review of these trends, writers, and stories, and more, in this webinar we will go on a psychedelic trip of human imagination and foresight.
If you would like to prepare for each webinar you may purchase Tom Lombardo's book, Science Fiction - The Evolutionary Mythology of the Future: Prometheus to the Martians on Amazon in hardcover or Kindle versions.
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