Storm Warnings: Science Fiction Confronts the Future

By George E. Slusser; Colin Greenland et al. | Go to book overview

The Thing of Shapes to Come: Science Fiction as Anatomy of the Future

Howard V. Hendrix

When H. G. Wells entitled one of his myriad works The Shape of Things to Come, he played directly upon the science fiction reader's desire to know what the future looks like. Certainly this desire for an authoritative perspective on the future and what it holds is an ancient human need--astrology, fortune-telling, and scores of divination methods have been with us a very long time. Only relatively recently, however, has a significant genre of literature developed which takes as its special concern the shape of things to come, the anatomy of the future.

The most obvious difference between science fiction and other human activities anatomizing the future is that science fiction relates its futures in past or sometimes present tense, while other forms of future anatomy simply use the future tense. The astrologer and the trend-predictor say this will or this might happen; the science fiction narrator says this has happened--in my vision of the future.1 The diviner takes signs, granted by the external world, as the ultimate basis of his or her authority; the science fiction writer takes not the external world but rather, like the epic poet, his or her own personal vision of the future as the ultimate basis of his or her authority. In doing so, the science fiction writer engages in a form of visionary poetics, a long-standing tradition with its ancient roots in pre- Christian epic and religious writings; in John the Apostle's delineation of Apocalypse in the Book of Revelations, in medieval dream- vision (particularly Piers Plowman); in Dante Divina Commedia; and in Milton Paradise Lost (especially books 11 and 12).

Engaging in visionary poetics in the secular and materialistic world of the twentieth century is rather difficult business, however. John the Apostle could claim that his vision came directly from God.

-43-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Storm Warnings: Science Fiction Confronts the Future
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 284

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.