|Author||Lucian of Samosata|
|Country||Syria, Roman Empire|
|Genre||Satire, Fantasy, Science fiction|
|2nd Century AD|
A True Story (Ancient Greek : Ἀληθῆ διηγήματα, Alēthē diēgēmata; Latin : Vera Historia or Latin : Verae Historiae) is a long novella or short novel written in the second century AD by Lucian of Samosata, a Greek-speaking author of Assyrian descent. The novel is a satire of outlandish tales that had been reported in ancient sources, particularly those that presented fantastic or mythical events as if they were true. It is Lucian's best-known work.
It is the earliest known work of fiction to include travel to outer space, alien lifeforms, and interplanetary warfare. It has been described as "the first known text that could be called science fiction".However, the work does not fit into typical literary genres: its multilayered plot and its characters have been interpreted as belonging to science fiction, fantasy, satire or parody, and have been the subjects of scholarly debate.
The novel begins with an explanation that the story is not at all "true", and that everything in it is a complete and utter lie.The narrative begins with Lucian and his fellow travelers journeying out past the Pillars of Heracles. Blown off course by a storm, they come to an island with a river of wine filled with fish and bears, a marker indicating that Heracles and Dionysus have traveled to this point, and trees that look like women. Shortly after leaving the island, they are caught up by a whirlwind and taken to the Moon, where they find themselves embroiled in a full-scale war between the king of the Moon and the king of the Sun over colonization of the Morning Star. Both armies include bizarre hybrid lifeforms. The armies of the Sun win the war by clouding over the Moon and blocking out the Sun's light. Both parties then come to a peace agreement. Lucian then describes life on the Moon and how it is different from life on Earth.
After returning to Earth, the adventurers are swallowed by a 200-mile-long (320 km) whale, in whose belly they discover a variety of fish people, against whom they wage war and triumph. They kill the whale by starting a bonfire and escape by propping its mouth open. Next, they encounter a sea of milk, an island of cheese, and the Island of the Blessed. There, Lucian meets the heroes of the Trojan War, other mythical men and animals, as well as Homer and Pythagoras. They find sinners being punished, the worst of them being the ones who had written books with lies and fantasies, including Herodotus and Ctesias. After leaving the Island of the Blessed, they deliver a letter to Calypso given to them by Odysseus explaining that he wishes he had stayed with her so he could have lived eternally. They then discover a chasm in the ocean, but eventually sail around it, discover a far-off continent and decide to explore it. The book ends abruptly with Lucian stating that their future adventures will be described in the upcoming sequels, a promise which a disappointed scholiast described as "the biggest lie of all".
In one view, Lucian intended his story to be a form of literary criticism, a satire against contemporary and ancient sources which quote fantastic and mythical events as truth. He mentions the tales of Ctesias, Iambulus, and Homer and states that "what did surprise me was their supposition that nobody would notice they were lying." Many characters and events are exaggerated to ridiculous ends to mock the original tellings. As noted by classicist B.P. Reardon, "above all, it is a parody of literary 'liars' like Homer and Herodotus".Consequently, Lucian goes on to state that the story recounted in A True Story is about "things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." He justifies the title by arguing that his is the only truthful mythological story ever written, inasmuch as it is the only one that admits that it is all lies. He also promises a sequel but it is not known if such a sequel existed.
Modern science fiction critics do not necessarily view the satirical streak of the story as conflicting with modern notions of science fiction. The defining element of science can be found in Lucian's specific and effective approach to identifying false values and misidentifications in contemporary philosophy, which was very much the general term of science then.Additionally, they point out that A True Story was written in response to another work that also contained science fictional elements, that is Antonius Diogenes’ lost Of the Wonderful Things Beyond Thule , whose protagonist also reached the Moon. The estranging feeling of the story as a defining element of science fiction has also been noted:
...True Stories may properly be regarded as SF because Lucian often achieves that sense of "cognitive estrangement" which Darko Suvin has defined as the generic distinction of SF, that is, the depiction of an alternate world, radically unlike our own, but relatable to it in terms of significant knowledge.
According to Grewell, whose definition of science fiction focuses on the struggle between supposedly superior and inferior life forms, "part of the tale that qualifies it as science fiction, rather than as fantasy or imaginative fiction, involves Lucian and his seamen in a battle for territorial and colonization rights."
"The king of the inhabitants of the Sun, Phaethon," said Endymion king of the Moon, "has been at war with us for a long time now. Once upon a time I gathered together the poorest people in my kingdom and undertook to plant a colony on the Morning Star which was empty and uninhabited. Phaethon out of jealousy thwarted the colonization, meeting us halfway at the head of his dragoons. At that time we were beaten, for we were not a match for them in strength, and we retreated. Now, however, I desire to make war again and plant the colony."
The typical science fiction themes and topoi that appear in True Stories are:
A middle position seems to be taken up by the English critic Kingsley Amis, who acknowledged the science fiction and satirical character of True Stories at the same time:
I will merely remark that the sprightliness and sophistication of True History make it read like a joke at the expense of nearly all early-modern science fiction, that written between, say, 1910 and 1940.
Modern equivalents, combining science fiction and parody in equal measure, may be found in Voltaire's Micromégas and the works of Douglas Adams.
In addition to the above, the book is an early expression of the idea of crossing the Atlantic and exploring lands that might lie on its other side, some 1,400 years before Columbus.
Hard science fiction is a category of science fiction characterized by concern for scientific accuracy and logic. The term was first used in print in 1957 by P. Schuyler Miller in a review of John W. Campbell's Islands of Space in the November issue of Astounding Science Fiction. The complementary term soft science fiction, formed by analogy to hard science fiction, first appeared in the late 1970s. The term is formed by analogy to the popular distinction between the "hard" (natural) and "soft" (social) sciences. Science fiction critic Gary Westfahl argues that neither term is part of a rigorous taxonomy; instead they are approximate ways of characterizing stories that reviewers and commentators have found useful.
Science fiction is a genre of speculative fiction that typically deals with imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, space exploration, time travel, parallel universes, and extraterrestrial life. It has been called the "literature of ideas", and often explores the potential consequences of scientific, social, and technological innovations.
Sexual themes are frequently used in science fiction or related genres. Such elements may include depictions of realistic sexual interactions in a science fictional setting, a protagonist with an alternative sexuality, a sexual encounter between a human and a fictional extraterrestrial, or exploration of the varieties of sexual experience that deviate from the conventional.
Lucian of Samosata was a Syrian satirist and rhetorician who is best known for his characteristic tongue-in-cheek style, with which he frequently ridiculed superstition, religious practices, and belief in the paranormal. Although his native language was probably Syriac, all of his extant works are written entirely in Ancient Greek.
Ron Goulart is an American popular culture historian and mystery, fantasy and science fiction author.
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction is a U.S. fantasy and science fiction magazine first published in 1949 by Fantasy House, a subsidiary of Lawrence Spivak's Mercury Press. Editors Anthony Boucher and J. Francis McComas had approached Spivak in the mid-1940s about creating a fantasy companion to Spivak's existing mystery title, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. The first issue was titled The Magazine of Fantasy, but the decision was quickly made to include science fiction as well as fantasy, and the title was changed correspondingly with the second issue. F&SF was quite different in presentation from the existing science fiction magazines of the day, most of which were in pulp format: it had no interior illustrations, no letter column, and text in a single column format, which in the opinion of science fiction historian Mike Ashley "set F&SF apart, giving it the air and authority of a superior magazine".
Edwin Charles Tubb, also known as E. C. Tubb, was a British writer of science fiction, fantasy and western novels. The author of over 140 novels and 230 short stories and novellas, Tubb is best known for The Dumarest Saga, an epic science-fiction saga set in the far future. Michael Moorcock wrote, "His reputation for fast-moving and colourful SF writing is unmatched by anyone in Britain."
True Story may refer to:
An extraterrestrial or alien is any extraterrestrial lifeform; a lifeform that did not originate on Earth. The word extraterrestrial means "outside Earth". The first published use of extraterrestrial as a noun occurred in 1956, during the Golden Age of Science Fiction.
The literary genre of science fiction is diverse, and its exact definition remains a contested question among both scholars and devotees. This lack of consensus is reflected in debates about the genre's history, particularly over determining its exact origins. There are two broad camps of thought, one that identifies the genre's roots in early fantastical works such as the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh. A second approach argues that science fiction only became possible sometime between the 17th and early 19th centuries, following the scientific revolution and major discoveries in astronomy, physics, and mathematics.
The planetary systems of stars other than the Sun and the Solar System are a staple element in much science fiction. Sirius, a double star system with the binary designation Sirius AB, is the brightest stellar object in the night sky. Its component stars are Sirius A and Sirius B.
Space warfare has served as a central theme within the science-fiction genre. One can trace its roots back to classical times, and to the "future war" novels of the nineteenth century. An interplanetary, or more often an interstellar or intergalactic war, has become a staple plot device in space operas. Space warfare has a predominant role in military science fiction.
Chian wine was a product of the Greek island of Chios. It was among the most prized wines in classical antiquity and, according to Theopompus and Greek mythology, was the first red wine, then called "black wine".
Beyond Time and Space is an anthology of science fiction stories edited by American writer August Derleth. It was first published by Pellegrini & Cudahy in 1950. Several of the stories had originally appeared in the magazines The Century, The Atlantic Monthly, The Strand, Blue Book, Blackwood's Magazine, Weird Tales, Amazing Stories, Astounding Stories, Maclean's, The American Legion Magazine and Startling Stories. A heavily abridged paperback edition was issued by Berkley Books in 1958.
Science fiction and fantasy have been part of mainstream Russian literature since the 19th century. Russian fantasy developed from the centuries-old traditions of Slavic mythology and folklore. Russian science fiction emerged in the mid-19th century and rose to its golden age during the Soviet era, both in cinema and literature, with writers like the Strugatsky brothers, Kir Bulychov, and Mikhail Bulgakov, among others. Soviet filmmakers, such as Andrei Tarkovsky, also produced many science fiction and fantasy films. With the fall of the Iron Curtain, modern Russia experienced a renaissance of fantasy. Outside modern Russian borders, there are a significant number of Russophone writers and filmmakers from Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan, who have made a notable contribution to the genres.
Famous Fantastic Mysteries was an American science fiction and fantasy pulp magazine published from 1939 to 1953. The editor was Mary Gnaedinger. It was launched by the Munsey Company as a way to reprint the many science fiction and fantasy stories which had appeared over the preceding decades in Munsey magazines such as Argosy. From its first issue, dated September/October 1939, Famous Fantastic Mysteries was an immediate success. Less than a year later, a companion magazine, Fantastic Novels, was launched.
The anthropologist Leon E. Stover says of science fiction's relationship to anthropology: "Anthropological science fiction enjoys the philosophical luxury of providing answers to the question "What is man?" while anthropology the science is still learning how to frame it". The editors of a collection of anthropological SF stories observed:
Anthropology is the science of man. It tells the story from ape-man to spaceman, attempting to describe in detail all the epochs of this continuing history. Writers of fiction, and in particular science fiction, peer over the anthropologists' shoulders as the discoveries are made, then utilize the material in fictional works. Where the scientist must speculate reservedly from known fact and make a small leap into the unknown, the writer is free to soar high on the wings of fancy.
In the Roman Empire, the Lychnapsia was a festival of lamps on August 12, widely regarded by scholars as having been held in honor of Isis. It was thus one of several official Roman holidays and observances that publicly linked the cult of Isis with Imperial cult. It is thought to be a Roman adaptation of Egyptian religious ceremonies celebrating the birthday of Isis. By the 4th century, Isiac cult was thoroughly integrated into traditional Roman religious practice, but evidence that Isis was honored by the Lychnapsia is indirect, and lychnapsia is a general word in Greek for festive lamp-lighting. In the 5th century, lychnapsia could be synonymous with lychnikon as a Christian liturgical office.
The Marvels of Theopompus is a work inserted into his Philippica.
A Mile Beyond the Moon is a collection of science fiction stories by American writer C. M. Kornbluth, originally published as a Doubleday hardcover in 1958, shortly after Kornbluth's death. A Science Fiction Book Club edition appeared in 1959, with an abridged paperback edition following from Macfadden Books in 1962. Macfadden reissued the collection in 1966 and, as Manor Books, in 1972 and 1976. A German translation appeared in 1974, and an Italian translation in 1987. While no further editions of the collection were published, all the stories are contained in NESFA's 1997 His Share of Glory: The Complete Short Science Fiction of C. M. Kornbluth.