science fiction, literature, danish


Science fiction is a distinctly American genre. Although scholars have traced its origins back as far as the Latin writer Lucian of Samosata,1 it was Hugo Gernsback, a publisher of pulp magazines in the United States, who first gave the genre its name in the June 1929 issue of Wonder Stories. Gernsback had been serializing the scientific romances of such writers as Jules Verne and HG. Wells, emphasizing their treatment of technology and putting them forth as models for other budding writers to imitate. The magazines that Gernsback initiated became very popular, spawning more from other publishers. Groups of aficionados sprang up around them, provided with a forum by Gernsback's letters columns, where they happily exchanged opinions and found addresses with which to contact one another outside the magazine. In this way Gernsback also gave birth to science fiction fandom, which then went on to produce successful authors from its own ranks to write for all the science fiction magazines then pouring off the presses.2 Soon American science fiction was translated into other languages and published abroad, becoming a worldwide phenomenon and a significant subgenre in numerous other nations.