Comic science fiction

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Comic science fiction or comedy science fiction is a subgenre of soft science fiction or science fantasy that exploits the science-fiction (SF) genre's conventions for comedic effect. [1] Comic science fiction often mocks or satirizes standard SF conventions - such as alien invasion of Earth, interstellar travel, or futuristic technology. It can also satirize and criticize present-day society. [2]

Soft science fiction sub-genre of science fiction emphasizing adventure

Soft science fiction, or soft SF, is a category of science fiction with two different definitions.

  1. It explores the "soft" sciences, and especially the social sciences, rather than engineering or the "hard" sciences.
  2. It is not scientifically accurate or plausible; the opposite of hard science fiction.

Science fantasy is a mixed genre within the umbrella of speculative fiction which simultaneously draws upon and/or combines tropes and elements from both science fiction and fantasy. In a science fiction story, the world is scientifically possible, while a science fantasy world contains elements which violate the scientific laws of the real world. Nevertheless the world of science fantasy is logical and often is supplied with science-like explanations of these violations.

Comedy genre of dramatic works intended to be humorous

In a modern sense, comedy refers to any discourse or work generally intended to be humorous or amusing by inducing laughter, especially in theatre, television, film, stand-up comedy, or any other medium of entertainment. The origins of the term are found in Ancient Greece. In the Athenian democracy, the public opinion of voters was influenced by the political satire performed by the comic poets at the theaters. The theatrical genre of Greek comedy can be described as a dramatic performance which pits two groups or societies against each other in an amusing agon or conflict. Northrop Frye depicted these two opposing sides as a "Society of Youth" and a "Society of the Old." A revised view characterizes the essential agon of comedy as a struggle between a relatively powerless youth and the societal conventions that pose obstacles to his hopes. In this struggle, the youth is understood to be constrained by his lack of social authority, and is left with little choice but to take recourse in ruses which engender very dramatic irony which provokes laughter.

An early example was the Pete Manx series by Henry Kuttner and Arthur K. Barnes (sometimes writing together and sometimes separately, under the house pen-name of Kelvin Kent). Published in Thrilling Wonder Stories in the late 1930s and early 1940s, the series featured a time-traveling carnival barker who uses his con-man abilities to get out of trouble. Two later series cemented Kuttner's reputation as one of the most popular early writers of comic science fiction: the Gallegher series (about a drunken inventor and his narcissistic robot) and the Hogben series (about a family of mutant hillbillies). The former appeared in Astounding Science Fiction in 1943 and 1948 and was collected in hardcover as Robots Have No Tails (Gnome, 1952), and the latter appeared in Thrilling Wonder Stories in the late 1940s. In the 1950s comedy became more common in science fiction.[ citation needed ] Some of the authors contributing included: Alfred Bester, Harry Harrison, C.M. Kornbluth, Frederik Pohl, and Robert Sheckley. [3]

Henry Kuttner American author

Henry Kuttner was an American author of science fiction, fantasy and horror.

Arthur K. Barnes American writer

Arthur Kelvin Barnes was an American science fiction author. Barnes wrote mostly for pulp magazines in the 1930s and 1940s. Barnes was most noted for his vivid and believable portrayals of alien life. As such, he is compared to Stanley G. Weinbaum. Before Barnes, SF writers usually portrayed aliens as earth-like monsters, with little originality. He was a member of the Mañana Literary Society. Several stories by Barnes were collaborations with the author Henry Kuttner, including several of the Hollywood on the Moon, Pete Manx, and Gerry Carlyle series of stories.

Time travel in fiction concept and accompanying genre in science fiction

Time travel is a common theme in fiction and has been depicted in a variety of media, such as literature, television, film, and advertisements.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy [4] [5] [6] is a comic science-fiction series written by Douglas Adams. Originally a radio comedy broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1978, it later morphed into other formats, including stage shows, novels, comic books, a 1981 TV series, a 1984 computer game, and 2005 feature film. A prominent series in British popular culture, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has become an international multi-media phenomenon; the novels are the most widely distributed, having been translated into more than 30 languages by 2005. [7] [8]

<i>The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy</i> 1979-1992 series of five books by Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a comedy science fiction series created by Douglas Adams. Originally a radio comedy broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1978, it was later adapted to other formats, including stage shows, novels, comic books, a 1981 TV series, a 1984 video game, and 2005 feature film.

Douglas Adams British author and humorist

Douglas Noel Adams was an English author, scriptwriter, essayist, humorist, satirist and dramatist.

<i>The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy</i> (radio series) science fiction comedy radio series

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a science fiction comedy radio series written by Douglas Adams. It was originally broadcast in the United Kingdom by BBC Radio 4 in 1978, and afterwards the BBC World Service, National Public Radio in the US and CBC Radio in Canada. The series was the first radio comedy programme to be produced in stereo, and was innovative in its use of music and sound effects, winning a number of awards.

Terry Pratchett's 1981 novel Strata also exemplifies the comic science fiction genre. [9]

Terry Pratchett English fantasy author

Sir Terence David John Pratchett was an English author of fantasy novels, especially comical works. He is best known for his Discworld series of 41 novels.

Strata is a science fiction novel by Terry Pratchett. Published in 1981, it is one of Pratchett's first novels and one of the few purely science fiction novels he has written, along with The Dark Side of the Sun and The Nome Trilogy.

Red Dwarf primarily consists of a television sitcom that aired on BBC Two between 1988 and 1999, and on Dave since 2009, gaining a cult following. [10] As of 2018 eleven full series of the show plus one "special" miniseries have aired. The latest series, dubbed Red Dwarf XII , started airing in October 2017. [11]

<i>Red Dwarf</i> BBC science-fiction comedy drama television programme

Red Dwarf is a British science fiction comedy franchise which primarily consists of a television sitcom that aired on BBC Two between 1988 and 1999, and on Dave since 2009, gaining a cult following. To date, eleven full series of the show plus one "special" miniseries have aired. The most recent series, Red Dwarf XII, started airing in October 2017.

A sitcom, clipping for situational comedy, is a genre of comedy centered on a fixed set of characters who carry over from episode to episode. Sitcoms can be contrasted with sketch comedy, where a troupe may use new characters in each sketch, and stand-up comedy, where a comedian tells jokes and stories to an audience. Sitcoms originated in radio, but today are found mostly on television as one of its dominant narrative forms. This form can also include mockumentaries.

BBC Two second television channel operated by the BBC

BBC Two is the second flagship television channel of the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom, Isle of Man and Channel Islands. It covers a wide range of subject matter, but tends to broadcast more "highbrow" programmes than the more mainstream and popular BBC One. Like the BBC's other domestic TV and radio channels, it is funded by the television licence, and is therefore free of commercial advertising. It is a comparatively well-funded public-service network, regularly attaining a much higher audience share than most public-service networks worldwide.

See also

Related Research Articles

Comic fantasy literary genre

Comic fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy that is primarily humorous in intent and tone. Usually set in imaginary worlds, comic fantasy often includes puns on and parodies of other works of fantasy.

Feminist science fiction is a subgenre of science fiction focused on theories that include feminist themes including but not limited to gender inequality, sexuality, race, economics, and reproduction. Feminist SF is political because of its tendency to critique the dominant culture. Some of the most notable feminist science fiction works have illustrated these themes using utopias to explore a society in which gender differences or gender power imbalances do not exist, or dystopias to explore worlds in which gender inequalities are intensified, thus asserting a need for feminist work to continue.

Science fiction and fantasy serve as important vehicles for feminist thought, particularly as bridges between theory and practice. No other genres so actively invite representations of the ultimate goals of feminism: worlds free of sexism, worlds in which women's contributions are recognized and valued, worlds that explore the diversity of women's desire and sexuality, and worlds that move beyond gender.

Science fiction genre of fiction

Science fiction is a genre of speculative fiction, typically dealing with imaginative concepts such as advanced science and technology, space exploration, time travel, and extraterrestrial life. Science fiction often explores the potential consequences of scientific and other innovations, and has been called a "literature of ideas".

Slartibartfast fictional character

Slartibartfast is a character in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a comedy/science fiction series created by Douglas Adams. The character appears in the first and third novels, the first and third radio series, the 1981 television series and the 2005 feature film. The character was modelled after actor John Le Mesurier.

The BSFA Awards are literary awards presented annually since 1970 by the British Science Fiction Association (BSFA) to honour works in the genre of science fiction. Nominees and winners are chosen based on a vote of BSFA members. More recently, members of the Eastercon convention have also been eligible to vote.

Ron Goulart Novelist, short story writer, historian

Ron Goulart is an American popular culture historian and mystery, fantasy and science fiction author.

<i>The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy</i> (novel) 1979 book by Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is the first of five books in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy comedy science fiction "trilogy" by Douglas Adams. The novel is an adaptation of the first four parts of Adams' radio series of the same name. The novel was first published in London on 12 October 1979. It sold 250,000 copies in the first three months.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a science fiction comedy series created by Douglas Adams.

Profanity in science fiction (SF) shares all of the issues of profanity in fiction in general, but has several unique aspects of its own, including the use of alien profanities.

<i>Discworld</i> Fantasy book series

Discworld is a comic fantasy book series written by the English author Terry Pratchett (1948–2015), set on the Discworld, a flat planet balanced on the backs of four elephants which in turn stand on the back of a giant turtle. The books frequently parody or take inspiration from J. R. R. Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, H. P. Lovecraft, Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare, as well as mythology, folklore and fairy tales, often using them for satirical parallels with cultural, political and scientific issues.

The BSFA Awards are given every year by the British Science Fiction Association. The BSFA Award for Best Media was given for the best media science fiction or fantasy published in the previous calendar year. It was discontinued in 1992.

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<i>Strange Stories</i> US pulp fantasy magazine

Strange Stories was a pulp magazine which ran for thirteen issues from 1939 to 1941. It was edited by Mort Weisinger, who was not credited. Contributors included Robert Bloch, Eric Frank Russell, C. L. Moore, August Derleth, and Henry Kuttner. Strange Stories was a competitor to the established leader in weird fiction, Weird Tales. With the launch, also in 1939, of the well-received Unknown, Strange Stories was unable to compete. It ceased publication in 1941 when Weisinger left to edit Superman comic books.

History of US science fiction and fantasy magazines to 1950 Science fiction and fantasy magazine history

Science fiction and fantasy magazines began to be published in the United States in the 1920s. Stories with science fiction themes had been appearing for decades in pulp magazines such as Argosy, but there were no magazines that specialized in a single genre until 1915, when Street & Smith, one of the major pulp publishers, brought out Detective Story Magazine. The first magazine to focus solely on fantasy and horror was Weird Tales, which was launched in 1923, and established itself as the leading weird fiction magazine over the next two decades; writers such as H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith and Robert E. Howard became regular contributors. In 1926 Weird Tales was joined by Amazing Stories, published by Hugo Gernsback; Amazing printed only science fiction, and no fantasy. Gernsback included a letter column in Amazing Stories, and this led to the creation of organized science fiction fandom, as fans contacted each other using the addresses published with the letters. Gernsback wanted the fiction he printed to be scientifically accurate, and educational, as well as entertaining, but found it difficult to obtain stories that met his goals; he printed "The Moon Pool" by Abraham Merritt in 1927, despite it being completely unscientific. Gernsback lost control of Amazing Stories in 1929, but quickly started several new magazines. Wonder Stories, one of Gernsback's titles, was edited by David Lasser, who worked to improve the quality of the fiction he received. Another early competitor was Astounding Stories of Super-Science, which appeared in 1930, edited by Harry Bates, but Bates printed only the most basic adventure stories with minimal scientific content, and little of the material from his era is now remembered.

References

  1. "Comedy Science Fiction". Sfbook.com. Retrieved 2016-03-02.
  2. Compare: The Animal Fable in Science Fiction and Fantasy, Bruce Shaw, McFarland, 2010, page 19: "[...] the objective of making social comment, if not social change, is to be found in those earlier forms."
  3. The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy: Themes, Works, and Wonders, Volume 1, Gary Westfahl, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005, Page 145
  4. "Jo Kent saves cult hg2g game from scrapheap" . Retrieved 2014-06-24.
  5. "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". Douglasadams.com. Retrieved 2014-06-24.
  6. Gaiman, Neil (2003). Don't Panic: Douglas Adams and the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". Titan Books. pp. 144–145. ISBN   1-84023-742-2.
  7. Simpson, M. J. (2005). The Pocket Essential Hitchhiker's Guide (Second ed.). Pocket Essentials. p. 120. ISBN   1-904048-46-3.
  8. "The Ultimate Reference Guide to British Popular Culture". Oxford Royale. 23 November 2016.
  9. Moody, Nickianne (2016). Matthews, Nicole, ed. Judging a Book by Its Cover: Fans, Publishers, Designers, and the Marketing of Fiction. Routledge. ISBN   9781351924672 . Retrieved 2018-04-28. Pratchett was associated with irreverent and comic writing which is an established sub genre in science fiction - for example Strata (1982) a parody of Larry Niven's Ringworld[,] a classic science fiction series.
  10. "Worldwide Press Office - Red Dwarf on DVD". BBC. Retrieved 28 November 2009.
  11. "Red Dwarf XII" . Retrieved 21 August 2017.