Whence Science-Fiction?

Ever asked yourself why science-fiction came about in the 19th century?  Recently I listened to a series of interviews that Bill Moyers conducted with science-fiction wizard Isaac Asimov.1  Asimov gave a description of the origins of science fiction that really grabbed me:

“The fact is that society is always changing, but the rate of change has been accelerating all through history for a variety of reasons. … It was only with the coming of the industrial revolution that the rate of change became fast enough to be visible in a single lifetime. So people became aware that not only were things changing, but they would continue to change after they died. And that was when science fiction came into being (as opposed to fantasy and adventure tales) because people knew that they would die before they could see the changes that would happen in the next century so it would be nice to imagine what they might be.”

Sounds pretty dead-on, if you ask me.  If you want to watch the whole interview, click the link below:

 


  1. Asimov Fun Fact: he is one of the only authors in history who has published books under all ten major headings of the Dewey Decimal system!